Every week, we ask a Houston real estate professional for their thoughts on the top three stories from the week before.
This week, we talked with Carlos Ibarra, a Realtor with Keller Williams The Metropolitan in Houston, a 20-year veteran who received Five Star Professional’s prestigious Five Star Real Estate Agent award in 2011 and 2012.
Houston Agent (HA): Our most popular story the last couple weeks has been our coverage of the priciest ZIP codes in Houston; in your respective market, what areas have you found to be generating the most interest among homebuyers?
Carlos Ibarra (CI): It is easy to talk about the Memorial area or River Oaks for the priciest ZIP code transaction areas, but another ZIP code that has maintained great demand even in the past couple of years previous to hitting the “bottom” of the real estate market is 77005.
I sold a house in this ZIP code that was on the market for three days; the listing agent had received four offers in that brief time. West University is a great area that recently made it into national polls of best places to live in Houston for proximity to attractions and amenities.
The prices on a 50 foot by 100 foot lot is right at around $400,000, and that’s just for the dirt! 77005 will continue to see appreciating values for the foreseeable future, and this year, 2013 has started out with an explosion in homebuyer confidence.
HA: Our featured content on top producers generated much interest from our readers; say an agent is starting out, and he or she wants to become a top producer; what would your two biggest tips be for them to reach that status?
CI: While many agents in the real estate industry are content to make a decent living in real estate, there are those who excel to phenomenal heights in down markets and reach awe-inspiring levels during the boom times. This not-so-typical breed are known as the top producers.
If I were to advise a newcomer to the real estate industry, first I would tell him or her what a great time it is to start in the profession. By that I mean that we are starting from the bottom of a bad cycle in our industry’s history, and therefore they are not clouded by assuming that real estate is easy – say, if they would have started in the middle of a phenomenal cycle. People who start at those times sometimes get “spoiled” by what seem never-ending leads and plenty of business, and as such forego the supremely important duties of building the proper business.
For the new agent I would say:
- Get professional coaching with no excuses and no delays.
- Become proficient and confident with the phone and how to effectively use it to prospect for new business; “effectively” being the operative word.
- Get a strong and solid Internet presence that will facilitate lead generation through the various lead generating platforms available today.
If you are not talking to new leads or sources of business on a daily basis, forget about being a top producer if you just started in this business.
Extreme discipline is needed for the task of becoming a top producer. People who are passionate about their business seek out success every hour of the day. Having said that, I would also advise a new agent to seek balance with family so that they enjoy the rewards of success with those they love.
HA: Our coverage of online marketing remains popular with our readers; is there one form of online marketing that you have found to be the most effective for your business? And do you use different kinds of marketing for different purposes?
CI: The great thing about online marketing these days is that as soon as you enter a new listing onto your respective multiple listing services, hundreds of sites will syndicate your listing, as it benefits their business too.
There are a few that I use, but primarily what I get the most benefit from are the services that provide an IDX search and take a consumer to a landing page where I can gather a prospect’s information and call them or email them to offer them further service.
Online marketing that gathers contact information is critical to executing transactions with those you do not. To complement that, proper phone skills in asking the six critical questions to qualify a prospect is key to managing your time as well.
These days there are all-inclusive Internet platforms that integrate marketing listings and conduct lead generation, so that an agent doesn’t have to have multiple subscriptions, passwords and extra expense.