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2011 Predictions From Industry Experts – Loretta Alonzo

by Chicago Agent

Loretta Alonzo: Broker/owner, CENTURY 21 Alonzo & Associates, President-Elect, IAR

Name three people/businesses that you are watching in 2011? I’m not so much a people or business watcher as I am an industry watcher. I like to keep an eye on what is happening throughout the country in the real estate industry. This helps me see the big picture and what may not be happening locally but could very well be coming to our local market. In 2011, in general, it will be interesting to see offices that consolidate through mergers/acquisitions and those that just close their doors. I know this will continue to happen in 2011.

I’ll be watching news from the National Association of Realtors related to its HouseLogic consumer website and the Home Ownership Matters campaign that underscores the value of homeownership including preservation of the mortgage industry deduction.

I also like to keep a pulse on current market conditions here in Illinois and watch for information and housing market reports as published by the Illinois Association of Realtors (IAR) and University of Illinois Regional Economics Applications Laboratory and specifically Dr. Geoffrey Hewings, who provides economic analysis to IAR.

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What plans do you have for your own business in 2011? I want my agents to be fully prepared to handle the short sale and REO market. Since this may continue to be a significant share of the market in 2011, it is important that a company create the ability for its sales staff to be experts with these types of transactions. There is so much information out there from both the national and state association to help you develop your knowledge in the short sales process from articles to legal Webinars. Take advantage of these free resources! It will take more and more of the office managers’ time to make sure the agents are properly handling these transactions.

Building new business opportunities are key for any agent in real estate today and that means including discovering ways to expand your new social media marketing skills as well. I will be working on ways to build my business within the community I serve.

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Where will the real estate opportunities be in 2011? Buyers will have fantastic opportunities to purchase with the lower home prices and low interest rates. If you’re looking to buy, this is one of the best times in decades. If buyers wait, interest rates may rise and just a 1 percent increase in mortgage rates gives a buyer approximately $10,000 less in the purchase price of a home. I’ve been in the real estate business since 1976 and have never seen a better opportunity for buyers.

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How may people, if any, do you plan to hire in 2011? I am fortunate that I don’t have much attrition in my company. I have agents that have been with my company since I started it in 1996. My plan is to hire an additional five more sales agents in 2011. I personally train my agents, so I like to get them immediately involved in selling real estate. I don’t believe in quantity, but I am a true believer in quality. We do have a change with our real estate license law that will have sales agents transitioning to brokers, so as a whole we don’t know what the fallout will be from those that have sales agent status now and will not want to transition to broker status.

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Is there anything going on in the industry right now that you’d like to change? Absolutely, which is one of reasons why I wanted to be in the leadership of IAR. One is the professionalism of the people in our industry. We started that with the change in the license law requiring additional education and the transition from sales agents to broker. We also have to try to get the distressed properties closed in a shorter time period. In a short sale situation, every lender has different guidelines and procedures to follow. If there was some way to make the procedures more uniform, it would help the transactions go more smoothly. We have various municipalities that are short revenues so they look to impose real estate transfer fees or inspection fees on transactions. IAR is monitoring what goes on in local city halls across the state as well as at the State Capitol in Springfield to stop tax increases and excessive fees and ordinances for homeowners.

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Loretta Alonzo is the broker/owner of CENTURY 21 Alonzo & Associates in Lagrange Park. AlOnzo was President of the West Towns Board of Realtors in 1988 and 1989 and has been awarded Realtor of the Year six times by her local Association. She is currently the President-Elect of the Illinois Association of Realtors. She can be reached at 708.482.6170.

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