Q: How has the internet and technology affected a Realtor’s job?
A: People have the ability to go online and research the inventory. When the buyers come in, they’re much more informed and self-qualified. They have a good idea of what they want and how realistic it is to obtain. The Realtor’s focus is on education and qualification to help them make the best decision.
After finding the right home and negotiating an accepted offer, a lot of effort goes into overcoming the bumps that are required to close. In today’s world, there are simply more obstacles. It’s a Realtor’s job to get in there and mentor or sometimes negotiate to keep everything on track.
Technology also allows the agent to communicate more efficiently. They can promote themselves and they can promote their listings through sites like FirstWeber.com, national sites and agents’ own personal sites.
Q: What’s the market outlook over the next year and when do you believe it will bounce back?
A: There’s no debate that we’re off locally, only not to the degree we read about in the headlines. Our inventory’s dropping a bit, which is always a good trend.
I’m probably as optimistic as anybody about the federal Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, which offers up to $7,500 in tax credits to first-time home buyers. At the very least, it’s good news that there’s something out there to stimulate people’s interest. If we get interest from first-time buyers, then those that sell become second-time buyers.
I think this year we will probably end something similar to what it has been, maybe a slight improvement based on the tempo of what we see right now. My hope would be as we go into ’09, that momentum will carry and by the end of ’09 and into 2010, I think we’ll be looking good. There are some pretty good signs of momentum.