A panel of top agents at this month’s Palo Alto District tour meeting shared their insights on the market, strategies they employ in their business, and gave advice to new agents. Moderated by Keller Williams managing broker Bob Stelzer, the panel included Carol Carnevale (Alain Pinel Realtors), Nicole Aron (Alain Pinel Realtors), Michael Dreyfus (Dreyfus Properties, Inc.), Derk Brill (Alain Pinel Realtors) and Scott McCormick (Keller Williams).
The agents discussed off-MLS listings, a hot issue these days because of the very low inventory in the region. Carnevale said these listings have always existed, accommodate certain clients with special circumstances, and usually involve properties at very high price points. Brill said off-market listings are tempting for agents, but they must let the seller know that they can be sacrificing value if they choose to go off-market with their listing.
Asked how agents can distinguish themselves in the field of real estate, Dreyfus replied agents should honor the rules and keep control of the transaction. McCormick said make sure all housekeeping issues of the contract are dealt with, because it can be exasperating when clients don’t sign on the right places, questions are left blank or have incomplete answers, clients say docs are attached and they are not, etc. Carnevale said it is “astounding” how many incomplete and inaccurate disclosure packages she has received. Agents need to review the disclosure packages.
Aron advised agents to make sure the playing field is level for everyone; always be available to everyone and ready to answer questions about the market. Her advice to the buyer’s agents: know your client, paint a picture of your client so you put a face to the contract; get to know the listing agent, stay in contact and make the job easy for them. She added that clear communication with the lender helps because closing escrow on time is extremely important to the seller.
“Quit the games. Communicate you have an offer and be transparent,” said Dreyfus. He said he is always transparent with his clients and other agents. “I’ll tell you where you are and tell it like it is.”
Brill said agents need to abide by standards of professionalism and “treat others as you would like to be treated.”
Addressing the shortage of inventory, especially in the Palo Alto area, Brill assured members that the market will level off. It is good to talk to sellers and let them know that now is a good time to sell.
“You can’t predict the future, but you can communicate what the market is doing now,” said Brill.
Dreyfus said, “This market is about lack of sellers, not ( lack of) demand.”
Brill encouraged agents to hold open houses and go on tour. “When you see everything on tour, you get comfortable with the trends. Hone your skills, interact with your clients and other agents,” said Brill.
Dreyfus suggested focusing on and committing to an area, getting involved, binge a defender of a neighborhood. “Show the community you care about it. People will eventually notice,” he said.
“Keep constant in whatever method you choose. Most of all, embrace the new change. Talk to new agents. Don’t forget you were all once new and you can learn from them too,” said Aron.
“Older agents easily grumble, but it’s important to validate change all around all the time, understand and incorporate that change,” said Carnevale. Once hesitant about texting, Carnevale described herself a “serial texter.”
Carnevale added, “Be an advocate of real estate with every contact you make. Keep track of people and follow up. Have a system that will allow you to connect and follow through.”