Every week, we ask a real estate professional for their thoughts on the top trends in real estate.
This week, we talked with Jeff Lyon, an associate broker with Century 21 in Alpharetta. A veteran agent with 15 years of experience, Jeff works in varying price points, from below $100,000 to more than $1 million. A licensed broker, Jeff has mentored and coached agents for years, and works with clients throughout the Metro Atlanta area.
Atlanta Agent (AA): How has the 2016 market been for your business, thus far?
Jeff Lyon (JL): We have picked up where we left off in 2015 – which was a strong year, but we have already started off in 2016 ahead of where we were a year ago.
Days on market is low, and it is definitely a seller’s market. When a good home is listed with the right price and move-in ready condition, it can sell fairly quickly. Sale times are a bit longer when you go up into higher price points – the buyer pool shrinks, and when clients do look at homes, nothing is cookie cutter – but from $200,000 to $500,000, homes are selling very fast.
AA: What are some of the challenges you encounter in your business?
JL: As I said before, we are currently in a seller’s market, so things are going fast. The last couple years, the number of transactions has been steadily rising, yet at the end of last year, the inventory of homes was at its lowest level in several years. That’s why homes are going so quickly.
Inventory is low for many reasons. Many people are still on the housing sidelines, and are a bit weary with the market. The recent economic uptick does not necessarily correspond with what is happening in your local area – the true unemployment rate is higher than what is being shown, and incomes for most people are not rising. So, many people are still on the sidelines and not ready to move, sell or make any big changes.
When I go on an initial search with a buyer, we’ll look at the existing inventory, whether that’s 10 homes or 20 homes. After exhausting the existing inventory, we are waiting for the new ones to hit the market, and when they do, we need to see those as soon as they are available. So it becomes a matter of seeing one or two homes at a time on the day that they hit the market. Otherwise, many times they are gone if you wait a few days.
AA: Finally, how can agents use technology in a productive way?
JL: I do not think you need 100 forms of technology – whether it be an app or a computer program – to stay productive. I would recommend agents explore and read about the different apps available, but they really need only two or three to help them in their business. Much of what we do is still the old fashioned technique of setting a schedule and sticking to it. Technology should not be something we rely on, but rather, a tool that helps us do what we should already be doing.
For me, some of those tools include:
•A good CRM is invaluable to not only have your database in one place, but to also update that database so you know who you should be contacting. And again, that is where you get away from the technology and pick up the phone or write a note to the individual.
•If there is an app and website that Realtors should explore, it is RPR. I am still looking into it for my business, but I recently saw a demo and found it pretty handy.
•Agents need a schedule, and they can set it online; at home, for instance, my wife and I have our schedule synced with those of our kids, so every knows what the other is doing.
•Finally, one of the best things to use right now is video, especially video texting and video messaging.