Engel & Völkers - Naples Bonita Estero

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Agents who do not focus on specialization will not survive

5/24/2019






Agents who do not focus on specialization will not survive.

In fact, agents who operate as generalists are the most vulnerable to being replaced – whether by technology, or more likely, another agent who has developed a specialty niche in the market for themselves.


Often agents let their businesses be guided solely on wherever and whenever the next opportunity comes from. As a result, many end up operating as real estate generalists, understanding a broad knowledge of the industry, its markets, clientele and property types. While this model worked in years past, it simply does not hold up in today’s market due to the changes in technology and home buying processes.

Tech-savvy buyers and sellers are conducting their own research and have information at their fingertips. With this change, in order to justify a commission, agents need to provide an added value to the home buying or selling experience.

This is where specialization becomes invaluable for agents. By becoming designated market experts within a specified client base and property type, agents can provide a depth of knowledge that makes them truly irreplaceable. While many say technology has the power to replace agents, this only applies to those who attempt to be everything to everyone. If an agent transforms from a generalist to a specialist, technology becomes a tool and not a replacement to the industry.

Defining specialization:

Specialization means to target, pursue and entrench into a niche market. For agents, this can come in the form of:

  • Becoming a neighbourhood guide
  • Owning a segment within a specific geographic market and becoming your clients’ go-to local resource
  • Becoming a property expert
  • Focusing on buying and selling specific property types such as ranches, cottages or ski homes.
  • Owning a specific network of people

Cater your business to a niche target audience and become their real estate expert, who understands their lifestyle, needs and preferences

Choosing the right specialization:

Consumers value a specialist who holds a strong skill level and expertise within a certain niche. According to our research, here are the top four factors that homebuyers and sellers say impact their agent selection, in order:

  1. Local expertise
  2. Years of experience
  3. Recommendations and referrals
  4. Brokerage reputation

Because local expertise is the top reason consumers choose an agent, a geographic specialty is the best place for most agents to start. Agents should choose an area with which they are knowledgeable and experienced. At the beginning of an agent’s career, it will be important to invest in hyper-local marketing within their selected market in order to build awareness for their personal brand as a local expert.

Promoting your specialization:

Agents should always seek new ways to grow their network. Make a point to attend relevant events, for example, a city planning meeting or local festival if your specialty is within that neighbourhood.

Similarly, build mutually beneficial connections within your specialty through partnering with other local businesses that service the same target audience.

Agents should also align themselves with a brokerage that supports and speaks to their chosen specialty. For example, if an agent’s specialty is professional athletes or CEOs, he/she should align with a luxury brokerage.

Becoming an influencer:

Engel & Völkers’ study of millennial HENRYs (High Earners Not Rich Yet) found the next generation of wealth is highly active on social media and increasingly looking to influencers when considering a buying decision. In fact, the most widely followed group of influencers, surprisingly, is not celebrities, but topic experts – personal trainers, makeup artists, nutritionists and yes, real estate agents. The goal for agents when choosing and owning a specialty is to leverage the brand and expertise they’ve cultivated as the basis to become a “topic expert” influencer.

Agents can demonstrate expertise within their chosen niche in an authentic and entertaining way, while also building credibility.

For example, an agent who specializes in equestrian properties might use Instagram to post photos of themselves at a polo match. Whatever the specialty, it’s important to be authentic. Social media is an effective way to show clients that you also “walk the walk.”

As technology becomes more sophisticated, an agent’s specialization becomes their unique value proposition and most important differentiator. Carving out and owning a niche specialty is one of the most powerful ways to create a distinct agent brand.




 

April Report Shows Market Resurgence Continues

5/23/2019


Naples, Fla. (May 24, 2019) - Closed sales during April in the Naples housing market increased 12.8 percent to 1,158 properties in April 2019 from 1,027 properties in April 2018. Broker analysts reviewing the April 2019 Market Report released by the Naples Area Board of REALTORS® (NABOR®), which tracks home listings and sales within Collier County (excluding Marco Island), reported that April was a solid month with strong sales activity in both the single-family and condominium markets.





"I believe we have reason to be optimistic going into the summer," said Bill Coffey, Broker Manager of Amerivest Realty Naples who added, "The report showed overall sales were up 17 percent in April over March, and March's sales were higher than February."
 
According to Kathy Zorn, broker/owner, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Pristine, who analyzed April's Market Report and showing activity provided by ShowingTime, a REALTOR® resource that tracks agent listing appointments with potential buyers, it took an average of 15 showings for a property to secure a contract in April.
 
"The uptick in showings during the last few months are a positive indicator of continued buyer interest in our area," said Zorn. And while April's overall median closed price decreased 5.6 percent to $340,000 in April 2019 from $360,000 in April 2018, April 2019's median closed price was higher than both January and February's median closed prices.
 
The Report also showed nearly 1,000 properties went from active to either terminated, expired, or withdrawn in the Southwest Florida MLS during April, which directly impacted April's ending inventory level as seen in an 11.1 percent decrease to 6,435 properties in April 2019 from 7,239 properties in April 2018. But Zorn also pointed out that April saw the number of new condominium listings increase by 9.2 percent; whereas there was a decrease of 3.2 percent for new listings in the single-family homes market.
 
"Despite old-fashioned beliefs that our area is predominately seasonal, the last few years of home sales activity after Easter are proof that this is just not the case anymore," said Mike Hughes, Vice President and General Manager for Downing-Frye Realty, Inc.
 
In agreement, Brenda Fioretti, Managing Broker at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty, added that "April and May have always been our strongest months for closings historically. But unlike last year, April's Report this year shows signs of a possible new trend: more closed sales for homes on the lower end of the price spectrum versus last year which had more closed sales in higher price points."
 
The Report supports Fioretti's theory as closed sales of single-family homes in April 2019 increased 4.4 percent, but closed sales of condominiums increased 20.1 percent in April 2019 compared to April 2018 market statistics. Further, the trend toward more sales of lower priced properties Fioretti mentioned is also visible in activity tracked over the last 12 months where there was a 4.3 percent increase or 2,727 closed sales of condominiums in the under $300,000 price category compared to a .8 percent decrease in this same price category for single-family homes (1,037 closed sales). The increase in condominium inventory Zorn mentioned is also a contributing factor to this new trend.
 
The NABOR® April 2019 Market Reports provide comparisons of single-family home and condominium sales (via the Southwest Florida MLS), price ranges, and geographic segmentation and includes an overall market summary. NABOR® sales statistics are presented in chart format, including these overall (single-family and condominium) findings: 





Geographically, closed sales skyrocketed in April for the Naples Beach area (34102, 34103, 34108), which had a 44.6 percent increase in closed sales for its single-family homes market and a 12.5 percent increase in closed sales for its condominium market. Also remarkable, the Central Naples area (34104, 34105, 34116) had a 22 percent increase in closed sales of condominiums while the East Naples area had a 36.4 percent increase in condominium sales and the South Naples area (34112, 34113) topped them all with an impressive 49 percent increase in closed sales of condominiums during April.
 
Hughes added that - from a buyer's perspective - "the late spring and summer months are a great time to buy because there has always been a good selection of homes in all price ranges."
 
One trend that continues to be applauded by broker analysts is the adoption by sellers to price their homes appropriately - based on actual comparisons of recently sold homes - in order to gauge their home's estimated value rather than pricing their homes based on unvalidated values.




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