What's going on in my business...
Even though the market is still recovering at the moment, I have managed to stay busy working with buyers and sellers. Although my "pay per hour worked" has gone down quite a bit, (working more for less money) I can't complain. Considering that only 50% of the brokers in our MLS region sold even one listing last year, I am proud to have sold well over 1 million dollars in 2007. While it's nice to achieve a figure like that, I am well aware that production is a minor piece of the puzzle. Many brokers hire tons of assistants, pay for massive lead campaigns, then sell homes via quantity of leads rather than with quality of service. More importantly, I maintained my 100% customer satisfaction goal in 2007. I was able to do this by giving exclusive, personal attention to my clients. I like to think of myself as an investment advisor, rather than someone a client calls every 5 years or so. I love to discuss real estate strategy, often for my client's homes in other parts of the country.
Last year was really a huge year for me. I added several new features to help market my listings that are truly revolutionary, and have earned a huge response from buyers. As of now, I am the only broker in the area providing a virtual tour complete with a video walk through that makes you feel like you are in the home, a Google Earth flyover that feels like an aerial tour of the community, and 3D floor plans for certain listings. I also take my photographs very seriously, and have recently began experimenting with HDR photography which is meant to capture tones and levels a typical camera cannot.
2007 also brought one other major addition to my business. By chance, I began managing a few long term rentals for clients who wanted to wait for a better time to sell, and without much effort my rental business took off. I am currently managing quite a few rental properties, and have grown to really enjoy this aspect of the industry. Despite hearing horror stories from my colleagues about rentals, my policies, marketing, and virtual showings, supply me with a steady stream of excellent tenants, with excellent credit and references. The procedures that I learned from Caroline while managing vacation rentals, have served me well in my new ventures. If you know of anyone who may benefit from an excellent property manager, please keep me in mind.
Perhaps equally important, is the fact that I have carved out a niche in the Wilmignton area real estate market. Considering that so many of my clients are from out of town, I have taken technology and convenience to the next level. Many people are amazed to hear that I have listed, and sold homes having never met the homeowner. Even in this slow market, I have also managed to sell homes using just my revolutionary virtual showing. Whether it's presenting my listings in a way that makes buyers/renters have to see more, or giving buyers an aerial tour of nearby schools, parks, and beaches, my clients enjoy knowing that their investment is being well managed from every angle. My clients are typically looking for a broker who can keep them up to date on what's going on in a clear, convenient manor. Many of my clients love the fact that I have compiled many of my services into short easy to follow videos, that have made the traditional listing presentation obsolete. I will soon be moving to a paperless office in which all important documents will be hosted online where my clients will be able to login and view / print them at any time. My understanding of repairs, construction, rentals, sales, and just as importantly technology, is invaluable in this type of market. In this information age in which drastic changes are being forged in every industry, I found in 2007 that one of the most valuable things I can do for my clients is research. My flexibility to change is the number one way I have stayed ahead of my colleagues. The world has changed more in the last 10 years than in the 100 before that. Therefore, I constantly research what techniques are selling homes today. Considering that the internet is still very young, breakthroughs can occur over night. My clients don't have time to read hundreds of newsletters and blogs a month about trends and changes in the industry, and that is where I step in. Furthermore, I receive hundreds of solicitations a month for tools and methods of selling homes, and I consider each one so as to make sure I am doing everything I can for my clients.
John F. Kennedy once said: "Change is the law of life, and those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future."
My name is Ralph "The House" Hunter, with Victory Real Estate. I have been selling real estate in the Wilmington area for 5 years now. I have experienced many different markets, and enjoy watching things play out. I have lived in Wilmington my entire life, and really love being directly invloved in it's growth, and development. I plan to build my firm into a powerful local brand focused on real estate advice and service, rather than sales.
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