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 Sally Walden, a Realtor with Habitation Realty in the Heights. An expert with first-time homebuyers and a noted marketing wiz, Walden entered real estate after a five-year stretch in property management, and last year she sold more than $4.5 million.
Houston Agent (HA): Our story about online marketing and syndication always gets attention from our readers; do you find the syndication sites (Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com) to be helpful for your business, or have other strategies been more of use to you?
Sally Walden (SW): I’m not a huge fan of Zillow and Trulia; I’ve actually put a lot of money into Zillow advertising, but the leads generally aren’t qualified; the other problem I have with the online websites is that a lot of their information is inaccurate.
I love the HAR website. HAR is the most technologically advanced of all the Realtor associations in the country. And believe it or not, I’ve gotten a ton of business off Facebook. I have my personal and business page, and I post a lot of profesional things on my personal page and make myself seem more accessible and more real, and I think people really appreciate that. So I get emails all the time from people wanting to sell their houses, buy houses or lease out their places.
HA: If a new agent approaches you wanting advice on how to succeed in real estate, what main tips would you give them?
SW: I actually mentor new agents that come in to my office, and I do educational classes. The things I tell people are: one, let people know what you do – not in an overbearing way, but let everyone know what you do, and ask them to refer you to people; two, never forget that if you don’t know something, one of us in the office will – ask for help; third, attend as many continuing education classes as you can; and four, put aside money for advertising.
HA: What is your opinion of where the market is heading, and how it will turn out in 2013?
SW: I don’t have a crystal ball, but it’s an exciting time. I’ve been mainly representing sellers, and I think that what we’re waiting for is appraisals to catch up with the market. I think that when that happens, we’re going to see much more increased sales prices and people walking away from the table with a lot more money. Right now the problem is, people are willing to pay a premium for a property (it’s the lowest inventory since 1999), and the appraisals aren’t meeting it. So I think that once those two things get in sync, the market is going to pick up even more so than it is now.
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