2008 FAR District Vice Presidents
The Florida Association of Realtors® district vice presidents look forward to a year of challenges, positive change and increased communication.
Jeff T. Taylor
Broker-Associate, Century 21 Jackie Taylor & Associates,
Property taxes, insurance availability and cost, and real estate affordability are at the forefront of the challenges we face.
I would encourage Realtors to go back to the basics and educate their buyers and sellers about the changing market. I would also urge them to take advantage of the many educational opportunities provided by their local real estate Associations.
Take time to review our Code of Ethics and put its principles to work. Adhere to the Golden Rule, and you’ll always be successful.
Sandra Smith Miller
Sales Associate-Manager, EXIT Realty New Smyrna Beach,
For our region, finding a way to reduce real estate taxes and insurance premiums to a reasonable amount is the paramount challenge. We also need to persuade citizens to get more involved in their communities and participate in the decisions about where their cities are going.
We’re actively working with the chambers of commerce and attending city commission and planning and zoning meetings in our region. We’ve become very proactive and have derailed ordinances that we feel would be harmful to private property rights.
Most sellers just don’t understand that the market is not where it was two years ago. The key to sales success is finding the unique aspects of a seller’s property.
Maria S. Wells
Broker-Owner, Lifestyle Realty Group, Stuart
In addition to taxes and insurance, our challenge is keeping Realtors thinking positively about their markets.
Providing insightful information, resources and encouragement to Realtors and working together will help us sustain our businesses and prosper. We all need to embrace change.
Stay on top of your game. Attend classes and seminars, read about what’s going on in the market and be prepared with the facts when speaking to a consumer.
General Manager, First Service Realty GMAC Real Estate, Miami
The challenges facing our market are also the opportunities. Property management has moved to the forefront of our real estate market. Owners, banks, investors and brokers have shifted gears and are dealing with properties that need tenants and maintenance.
Empowerment is the name of the game. More than anything else, a sales associate’s mind-set impacts the business. The first step in the self-coaching process is to adjust the mind-set to a “can-do” attitude, and then move on to a “will-do” attitude. Our Associations provide incredible education programs on the local, state and national levels.
Business is about one-on-one personal relationships. To develop relationships, you can wait for someone to tap you on the shoulder, or you can tap someone else on the shoulder and introduce yourself. Now is the time to take a proactive approach to meeting people.
Spencer E. Haynes
Broker-Manager, John R. Wood Inc. Realtors, Naples
Adjusting to the exponential growth of technology in the real estate industry is a tough challenge for some sales associates and brokers. Affordability will always be an issue in Florida, but the current market has made reasonable housing more available than in the recent past.
Now is a great time to be a real estate professional. When sales are easy and listings fly off the books, members of the public sometimes don’t realize the asset they have in their real estate professional. In a challenging market, the worth of a great sales associate becomes very apparent.
No matter how high tech our world becomes, you should never lose the personal touch. Once you get those customers through your Web site, blog, text message, etc., make sure that you bond with them. In today’s real estate world, top producers have become masters of developing that blend of tech and touch.
Alan N. Riley
Broker-Owner, RE/MAX Affiliates, Seminole
In our market area, the increase in the median pricing over the past few years has made it very difficult for many potential buyers to afford a home. Realtors must continue to demand full funding of the Sadowski Trust Fund [for affordable housing], support property tax relief measures and keep up the pressure for more reasonable insurance rates.
The tools for empowerment are readily available to our members. Through innovations provided by Real Estate Industry Solutions, sales associates can access an increasing array of products and services.
While technology has changed the way we do business, the things we need to do are the same as they were years ago. In a challenging market, sales associates need to learn (or remember) the techniques that have served the real estate industry since the beginning—quality service and effective marketing plans. The need for continual prospecting to a referral database has never been greater.
Broker-President, Realty World - Willet & Associates Inc.,
The industry base in our district is low, so we’re dependent upon people commuting to major metropolitan areas to work. I hope we can encourage moderate commercial growth in our area.
To empower our sales associates, we must show them how to work in a slower market. I have been in the real estate industry for more than 30 years and have seen this many times. Our listing agents need to learn how to develop solid marketing plans and excellent customer relations. Our selling agents must learn to guide their buyers to the best deals and counsel the buyers to work with reliable lending institutions.
Too many sales associates are afraid to ask if someone is interested in buying or selling real estate. Sales associates must get out of the office. Face recognition is a big thing in building trust.
Robert C. Turner
Broker, Robby Turner Realty,
Our biggest challenges are mostly perceptions of the market. In this region, there are a lot of fence sitters waiting to see what happens with property taxes and insurance. Those factors work against people making a purchase.
When I was president of the Tallahassee Association, we united behind a common purpose to build a Habitat for Humanity house. I would like to instill that same spirit of common purpose throughout our district, which benefits from our great year-round natural environment.
Go back to the basics. Focusing on the needs of the consumer has always been the key to success in real estate. It’s time once again to get enthusiastic about delivering that personal service.
Broker-Owner, Realty One,
Panama City Beach
In our district, the key issues are housing affordability and customer financing. The banks and other lenders have become a lot stricter about qualifications than in the past.
Staying positive about the market and about our profession is the key to empowerment. Real estate is a self-motivating profession. Even if it’s hard to get up in the morning, we all have to go to work, stick together and turn the negativity around.
Be positive and keep stirring the pot—something will happen. It helps to have repeat customers and referrals. In fact, focusing on those segments may be the best way to stay in business during a slower sales period.
Jerry Matthew Ruthven
Leasing Specialist, The Ruthvens, Lakeland
One of our district’s biggest challenges on the commercial side is the availability of water. Water restrictions have been tightened, and it’s hard to get permits to construct new buildings. In both residential and commercial sectors, property tax increases and insurance availability are major issues.
In a slower market, now is the best time to improve your skill set. Earning a professional designation can pay big dividends in a slower market by enhancing your skills and networking ability.
We must educate buyers that we have a good housing supply and great interest rates, which improves their buying power. Sales associates should point out that now’s the time to buy—not two years ago or two years in the future.
Sales Associate/Trainer, Coldwell Banker, Plantation
The major challenges facing our district are taxes and insurance, as well as a two-year backlog of inventory.
Keeping Realtors informed on issues their communities face is also a challenge. Our Board has held a series of town hall meetings in various communities to provide input to local officials.
Education is the key. Take a course toward a designation. Learn to specialize in seniors, boomers or other market niches. Stay informed and involved with the Realtor community regarding legislative and local issues.
Broker-Associate, RE/MAX 200 Realty, Winter Park
Our residential market is flooded with inventory, and historically, the commercial market is six to 12 months behind the residential trends. Realtors need to become knowledgeable on taxes, homeowners’ insurance issues, school rankings, and anything that affects homeownership.
Become engaged. Hone your sales skills and become an expert. Take advantage of the marketing, education and electronic transaction tools available through the Florida Association of Realtors.
Think outside the box. Benjamin Franklin once said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Today there are many skilled trainers who can help us get to the next level in our profession. A good sampling of these trainers will offer programs at next year’s FAR convention in Orlando, Sept. 24-28, 2008, at the Buena Vista Palace Resort. And a quicker answer can be found by searching the Internet for real estate trainers.
Thomas H. Sponaugle
Broker-Associate, Laura B. Kopple Inc., Venice
One major issue we face is a drive to put limits on land-use changes that are designed to curb growth. Another concern among buyers and sellers is uncertainty regarding property taxes.
Communication and education are essential. Locally, we had a very successful real estate exposition and trade show, and I would like to encourage those types of Realtor events.
As we reinvent ourselves, the most important thing is to keep a positive attitude. Agents need to step back and see what they can do personally to improve their skills. And they need to go out and preview properties to know exactly what’s happening in the local market.