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Viewpoints: Phil Baraona, Sales Associate, Coldwell Banker, Cumming

by Atlanta Agent

phil-baraona-coldwell-banker-cumming-lake-lanier-atlanta

Phil Baraona is a sales associate with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

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 Phil Baraona, a sales associate with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in the firm’s 400 North/Lake Lanier office. A graduate of Ohio University, Phil has been a resident of Georgia for more than 35 years, and his brings his background in marketing, advertising and business sales to his successful real estate business.

Atlanta Agent (AA): We follow ABR’s stats on home sales pretty closely, and it seems that the last couple months have been a bit sluggish; does that hold up in your particular market, though?

Phil Baraona (PB): I was very, very busy in the spring and summer, and we did have a slowdown come mid-July. I felt like we had so much activity in the spring that all the people who were thinking of purchasing homes jumped in at that time. My personal feeling was that it created a lull, then, in July and August. The other issue was, we typically see a slowdown when school begins. Once you get within two weeks of the school year, buyers will back off for a little while.

Now, though, we’ve started to get busy again. We’re beyond the Fourth of July and Labor Day holidays, so all that stuff is gone and I think we’ll have a good market for the rest of the year.

AA: A recent story on curb appeal generated quite a bit of interest from our readers; have you found curb appeal to be an important factor in your listings?

PB: Absolutely. The thing about this current market is, buyers are picky about the homes that they purchase – it’s got to be the absolute correct home, particularly in the curb appeal, which makes sense; buyers want to be proud about the home they’re purchasing, and they want family and friends to approve of the house when they visit. It confirms that they made the right choice.

I recently had a beautiful luxury home listed for sale, but the interior was by far the best aspect of the house. It was a wonderfully decorated, 14,000-square-foot space, but the buyer feedback that I was getting was that the house did not, as one agent put it, have the “bling from the street.” She said the home, though nice, looked “plain” from the street.

It’s very important in the luxury home market for the home to have a stunning curb appeal, but really, you could say that about any home.

AA: Finally, what are the steps you take to make sure your listings are getting adequate exposure?

PB: The very first thing that comes to mind is photography. My background is more in marketing, and I want to make sure that the photography is going to be the best it can be; buyers are going online and looking at homes, and I want my listings to stand out from the crowd, so we really take our time color-correcting the photos, staging the properties correctly and making sure that they look their best.

The next thing would be the language that we’d use in the listing, which is difficult, because as agents, we tend to use the same words. We say the home is “beautiful,” that the bathrooms are “luxurious,” which some people laugh about. So if it’s possible, you want to say things about the home that will help it stand out.

Also, we try to look into different websites that will give the listings exposure. Here at Coldwell Banker, for instance, we have a program called “Showcase Listings,” which allows us to be branded on websites like Zillow, Trulia and realtor.com, so all the leads will go straight to us. I’ve also advertised on sites like Craigslist. I used to use it awhile ago, and though I stopped, I’ve come back to it because we are seeing buyers use the site.

Finally, I also advertise in local publications like The Real Estate Book and Lakeside Newspaper, because in our area, the lake is a real big selling point, and that newspaper targets lake residents.

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