This morning I joined a caravan of agents on a tour of broker open houses in Wicker Park. At a three-story townhome at 1530 N Elk Grove Ave, I met @properties agent Tracy Boyce, who took a few minutes off from hosting visitors and baking cookies to answer our five quick questions about the market.
How has the job of the Realtor changed in the past year?
Sometimes I tell people that I was “semi-retired” last year, because I wasn’t really unemployed, being an independent contractor. But this year has been quite busy, in everything from the rental market to selling stuff. Right now, if we can’t sell it, we rent it. It really is just about making it work for your client: being flexible, rolling with the changes in the market, and keeping your sellers educated about when prices are going down or what’s selling and why.
What are buyers asking?
“How long has it been on the market?” “Has it had any price changes?” and “How motivated are you?”
How do you convince sellers to adjust their expectations?
Surprisingly enough, I find that sellers are very realistic. There’s enough information out there that they understand full well what the market’s like. Education is the most important – giving them feedback on the showings, telling them what buyers and other agents are saying, and putting data and facts in front of them to say, “This is what’s going on.”
How do you keep up with the market and communicate with buyers and sellers?
I don’t do much with things like Facebook, but I do have clients who just pick up the phone. I’m a pretty laid back person, so they know they can call and ask me, “Do you think we should sell now?”
Outside of price reductions, do any interesting marketing strategies generate interest in a property right now?
The ploy that doesn’t work for sure is saying, “We’re extremely motivated! Bring us any offer!” and then standing firm on a price. When you have an offer, work with it. The only bad offer in this market is no offer at all. Sometimes buyers just want to feel like they threw out a lowball number, just because they were pinched for so long in the sellers market.