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Horlacher_JanetIn the following interview, Janet Horlacher, principal of Janet McAfee Real Estate, a member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, in St. Louis, Mo., discusses the housing market, marketing, millennials and more.

Region Served: St. Louis, Mo.
Years in Real Estate: 22
Number of Offices: 1
Number of Agents: 85

What factor has the largest influence on the real estate industry today?
Demographics and debt. In 2015, millennials surpassed baby boomers as our country’s largest living generation. It’s also the generation with the largest student debt. Having postponed homeownership by what many think is 10 years, it’s taking a toll on our homeownership rates and the natural progression of home-buying, from the first-time purchase to the trade-up home to one’s forever home. As millennials approach their mid-30s, we’re watching to see if they enter the housing market. We should be finding ways to incentivize them.

What’s the most unique way you’ve marketed a new listing?
Our approach is systematic and earnest; we shy away from gimmicks. Yes, we’ve done our fair share of events, charitable tie-ins and splashy giveaways, but in the end, it comes down to delivering a meaningful message (visual and aspirational) through a mix of broad reach and targeted mediums and leveraging our incredible agent network.

How do you see your market evolving throughout the next year?
I’ve never experienced this market duality we’re seeing today. The low- and mid-range priced homes have virtually no inventory (-2 months), which is generating intense competition and higher prices. The first-time homebuyer is getting squeezed out in multiple offer situations and remains paying rising rent prices. Conversely, our luxury homes have ample inventory (8+ months) and have experienced downward pricing pressure, causing empty nesters to stay in their homes longer. It’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out in the next few years.

What’s your best tip for dealing with picky buyers?
Promise 80 percent and deliver 90 percent. This entails asking your buyers to make a list of all the features they want in their dream home before explaining that no home has 100 percent of these features, but you will work with them to find a home with 80 percent of what they desire. You will exceed their expectations when your exhaustive search delivers 90 percent of everything they want.

What do you like most about the region in which you work?
Our Midwestern mindset is open and forthright. It’s infinitely easier to solve a problem when you understand each other’s position and are able to communicate in an honest, no-nonsense fashion.

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