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John_ColvinIn the following interview, John Colvin, broker/owner of CENTURY 21 FM Realty in Fargo, N.D., discusses the advantages of Century 21 Real Estate, the local market, and more.

Region Served: Greater Fargo, N.D.
Years in Real Estate: 19
Number of Offices: 1
Number of Agents: 21
Best Tip for Getting the Right Listing Price: Emphasize the fact that list price is not a negotiation, but a realistic number based on local comps and current market conditions.
Best time management tip: Schedule everything.
Can’t-Live-Without Tech Tool: My tablet. It does everything from communicating, staying in-touch with my sales associates, and scheduling and running meetings to ordering supplies and approving ads.
Best Recruiting Technique: There’s no amount of technology that replaces a face-to-face meeting and the formation of personal relationships.

How much do you lean on technology to facilitate your agents’ work?
Technology is a tool that makes some processes easier; however, it should never replace the personal interaction with our clients. Being face-to-face with our clients enables us to physically see when they become concerned or have questions we need to address. Technology should be used to support and enhance our marketing and services, but it should never replace our presence with our clients.

What’s the most exciting thing happening with your company today?
In May, we converted from an independent company that’s been in this market for 16 years to a franchise affiliate of Century 21 Real Estate LLC, and then acquired another local franchise on June 1. We’re also in a unique spot because our market hasn’t suffered at all going back to before the housing bubble burst. In fact, it’s been growing every year since I’ve been here.

What are the prime drivers that bring buyers to your firm?
The connection our sales professionals have in the communities in which they live and work, coupled with the CENTURY 21® Platform and the support and services we deliver to market. Plus, we’ve got a new hospital opening up—a regional Trauma 1 center—which will bring all levels of housing clients to the area. This includes medical professionals, the rest of the hospital’s staff, support businesses and the educational facilities that feed it. We also have a fairly large Microsoft facility in the area that has doubled its corporate campus over the past three years.

Do most of your clients come to Fargo and stay?
We continuously draw people from many of the surrounding regions to our excellent colleges, most of which have health and medical training curriculum. I find that people generally come here for school, fall in love with the region, get educated and then stay here to work in the medical industry. Vacation homes in our lake country make up another 20 percent of our market. Having lived all over the place, the bottom line is that the people in this community are the nicest I’ve ever met.

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