I know that the northwest suburbs of Chicago are a great place to live, work and play, but do your clients? One of the challenges that real estate agents can have is to showcase the great area that we serve. Sure, the area looks great, but agents need to be champions of their patch and actively market the area they work in.
In addition to this, we need to show that the dream of homeownership, the American Dream, if you like, is a possibility for everyone, and as Realtors we can help make that happen.
Here are some questions I face all the time:
Is the housing market bad? – This all depends on perspective. My team and I think that the market offers a great opportunity for buyers, and with a good, relatively stable local economy, the market for sellers can be pretty good too. As with all real estate, the market is local.
How is the market trending? – Well, no one can predict the future, but I believe that the market here in Northwest Chicagoland is looking to improve in the future, the economic recovery has begun and the real estate market has started to turn around. Areas like Schaumburg, Bartlett and Hoffman Estates still see areas of good growth. As I recently wrote, in the Midwest, existing home sales increased by a whopping 7 percent in the fourth quarter, which was 14.1 percent above the previous year. This shows that the market in the Midwest is holding up well. Housing affordability, thanks to good pricing and low interest rates, mean the market is ready to get moving!
What strategies do you use as an agent to help me? – I have a few:
1. For buyers and sellers, I like to keep things realistic. I am always open and honest with them and I hope that they can feel comfortable enough with me to be the same. A relationship built on trust is vital to the success of a business, as well as a real estate transaction.
2. For buyers, the hard work comes before you jump in the car and start looking at listings. Rather, the beginning of the process is the most important, when you find out exactly what a buyer is looking for: what type of home, what kind of neighborhood and what location they are considering. Then you can start shortlisting what features of a property are a necessity i.e. school district, number of bedrooms, bathrooms etc.
3. For sellers, I believe that effective pricing of the home will lead to a quick sale along with marketing the property to potential buyers. The majority of agents just list homes on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and then, rather than using additional resources, such as print marketing and the latest in online technology to really promote the sale of the listing. These include writing articles about it, PDF flyers, marketing brochures, virtual tours and more!
What is the coolest thing at the moment for real estate agents working in the northwest suburbs? – Of course, as with other industries, the explosion of the tablet computer. The likes of the iPad has really been a great marketing tool for agents. They allow you to have access to not just your email on the road but the entire MLS, along with videos, brochures, the web and more! It is quite the revolution for agents who can continue the home search process on the road and look up information about a listing in situ, rather than waiting to get back to the office.
Joe Stacy is a Realtor based in Chicago’s Northwest suburbs. He can be reached at: