Broker, John Greene Realtor
Do you think there will be more brokerage mergers and acquisitions next year? Brokerage mergers and acquisitions will continue, and other companies will continue to consolidate offices. Technology has dramatically impacted our business. Realtors can work from home, their cars, Starbucks, almost anywhere. Neighborhood presence is online now, not in bricks and mortar.
What are the most important things agents can focus on to stay strong in the marketplace next year? Agents need to focus on high-tech in 2012. Our clients and future clients want fast information and immediate attention on their terms. Information on the “home” is available from many sources. Information and attention to the process will separate the successful agent from the pack. Information and speed will be king in 2012.
Do you expect home values to increase, decrease or stay the same next year? Home and condo values are expected to drop 6 to 7 percent next year. Moody’s projects existing home sales to reach 6.5 million and housing starts could hit one million. However, the foreclosure shadow inventory has more than two million homes currently in process. Prices will remain in favor of the buyers.
How do you think changes in mortgage rates next year will affect buyers and agents next year? Any change in mortgage rates in 2012 is unlikely to be a negative impact on housing sales. Pricing and value will favor the buyers. Interest rates will still be low, and qualifications for loans will be more of an issue in the near future. The financial industry needs checks and balances; however, the Federal Reserve needs to be careful and not run the lenders out of business.
Will there be more or less people choosing to join the real estate industry next year? Do you think a significant amount of agents will switch from full-time to part-time due to the market? I doubt that there will be a race to become a real estate agent. The state has increased the requirements from agent to broker, and the required continuing education and fees are going up. The average sale is lower and, in some regards, more difficult. Some agents will try to work part-time while supporting another job, however, I think many part-time agents will drop out due to expense and lack of activity.
What indicators are you watching to keep up with the market and its changes as we move into next year? An indicator will always be early buyer activity. We’ve had two years of folks holding back. February and March will be interesting. Usually, those growing families who spent the holidays in that small home, condo or apartment get the itch to move right after the holidays. Foreclosures will be another indicator of market pricing condition. A third indicator will be investor activity.
What are your goals as a Realtor for 2012? My wife, Maureen, and I are a team. Our goals are to improve personal volume and sold-sides from 2011, become more tech-savvy, and give even better personal service to our clients. The best agents will continue to survive and grow. This isn’t your mama’s real estate industry anymore!