Thursday, April 29, 2010

Realtor leans on education to succeed in rocky marketplace

Showcasing experienced entrepreneurs offers an added marketing communications or social media element to help promote their businesses. In addition, it provides a forum through which they can share solutions to unique business challenges that might be the answer to a similar challenge with which yet another entrepreneur is struggling. This openness of information flows with the following story offered by

Jon Sesterhenn, realtor
Koenig & Strey

I’m a residential realtor with Koenig & Strey specializing in helping people buy and sell their homes. I’ve been in this field going on seven years having started in 2003.

I am not a high volume realtor – one who courts you and passes you on to an assistant the minute you sign on with me. I personally and patiently listen to people’s needs and wants. For example, a recent client took nine months to find his perfect home. I showed him nearly 120 listings, but by working closely with him he found the home that he truly wanted.

Perfect clients for me are first time home buyers. It’s fun helping them find their first home. They listen to and accept the advice you give them. Compared to those of other experienced buyers who think they know more than you, first-time buyer transactions actually go much more smoothly. These clients are usually younger buyers who lean on your experience and expertise.

As everyone knows, over the last four years the real estate business has gone from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market. From the banking crisis to the recession to people losing their jobs and then their homes to foreclosures – things looked bleak. To make matters worse, many realtors didn’t know how to deal with these events and subsequently lost their own businesses. From all this emerged my challenge – understanding, confronting and achieving success in this troubled marketplace. Knowing the difference between a short sale and a foreclosure was confusing, how to deal with bank-owned properties had become very problematic, pricing homes became difficult, how to educate homeowners about their home values decreasing beyond their expectations was challenging. I needed to know clearly how to price a home today as opposed to when we were in a buyer’s market when you’d price a house high and let the market eventually adjust itself to reach the correct price. The problem in this decreasing market is that if you price a house wrongly you continue to chase the price as it continues to drop. Pricing the home correctly the first time is critical or you wind up making steep corrections to get to the current market price. Therein lay my challenges.

I boldly switched real estate agencies. I realized that my old firm was not adapting to the changing market situation. So, I looked for a broker that had the resources to educate its agents. I found that Koenig & Strey was a corporate-owned office and not a franchise-owned. As a result, they had the backing and the finances of the corporation and the resources to give every agent a proper education to deal with the changing market. Next, I needed to know the marketplace. Therefore, I took advantage of every course the office offered including a recent short sale and foreclosure certification course. The in-class and webinar course concluded with a certification exam. I learned how to deal with bank-owned properties, how to understand the complexities of the short-sale package, and how to submit it to the bank to help stressed homeowners stay out of foreclosure. Right now, I need to market myself as one who can meet the challenges of today’s economic times. I’m using social media to reach homeowners in local subdivisions through an email newsletter campaign to my contact list. But, meanwhile, I know that I am well equipped to handle any complex residential real estate issue that both buyers and sellers may find themselves facing.

1 comment:

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