Every week, we ask an Atlanta real estate professional for their thoughts on the top trends in Atlanta real estate.
This week, we talked with Emmett Carr, the CEO of Carr Real Estate Group, a division of Keller Williams Buckhead. A fine home marketing specialist and negotiation specialist, Emmett uses a personally crafted home selling system, the Platinum Listing System, to sell his homes for 8 to 18 percent above the market average, depending on the home. A University of Northern Colorado graduate, Emmett worked in the tech sector for 13 years before starting his real estate career, and worked with such distinguished companies as Microsoft, Dell and Apple.
Atlanta Agent (AA): We recently wrote about why inventory, even among new construction, remains low; based on your experiences, what do you think is keeping inventory so low.
Emmett Carr (EC): It’s a combination of factors, the primary one being the uncertainty with sellers on where the market is going. Everyone keeps hearing that inventory is at an all-time low, yet they’re also hearing from their friends and family that they didn’t get the preferred price for their property, so there’s uncertainty. And furthermore, the market will only ultimately bear what an appraisal will support.
The fact of the matter is, our role as agents has become more about translating the data, rather than being the only source of it; so, with the consumer receiving data from so many different sources, they don’t know what to believe until they sit down with an agent. I had a listing presentation recently, and the seller was on Zillow and Trulia. She firmly believed that she could sell the home for $175,000, but when we sat down and went over the last 30 days and 60 days of closings, it was not worth that amount. She was pretty disappointed, but the truth is, you can’t fake the data. You have to explain to your clients, “Here is what the data tells us, and you’re going to have to make an informed decision on whether or not this is the right time to sell.”
AA: The Internet grows more important with each passing year; how do you ensure that you have an effective online presence?
EC: The first thing that you have to do is define what you want to specialize in. Too many agents – and I was guilty of this for a time – try to be masters of everything, and they end up being good at nothing. So, you have to establish what your niche is going to be and then zero in on that with your branding. You should start blogging about it, talking about it and interacting with people online about it, along with having a good website that does not overwhelm the consumer. People like their information in small bits. They do not want to be overwhelmed with huge amounts of information.
For my business, my specialty ended up being what I was good at, which was working with sellers. So I make sure that I have the information that sellers need, so they can make quick, efficient decisions, especially as it pertains to move-up buyers and the luxury home segment.
AA: Finally, how do you approach your marketing?
EC: There’s no secret sauce in real estate; it’s all about being really good at the basics, and we’ve broken the basics down to a 151-step system that we take all of our listings through to make sure that we don’t miss a step and that nothing is done out of place. We also focus on selling more the emotion and lifestyle of the home, rather than its bedrooms or square footage; when you only sell the latter, you turn the listing into a commodity, and when it’s a commodity, it becomes more price-based – if its an emotional purchase, and they feel at home and fall in love with the property, they’re more likely to pay more for it.
It only took one transaction for me to come to those conclusions – my own personal purchase. I really felt like the agent I hired turned it into a transaction. While my wife was so into the emotion of the process and how the home would benefit our family, the agent was focused on the dollars, cents and numbers, and it became very cold. Being a marketing major, I realized that was where I could change things and not only bring the emotion back into real estate, but make it fun again, as well.