Brokers’ resolutions to rise above the downturn

Dec.December 31, 2008 11:02 AM

This year brought a series of horror stories to the city’s real estate market, with dropping home prices, fewer buyers, increasing layoffs and no credit available for mortgages. But as 2008 comes to a close, brokers are resolving to create a better 2009.

Residential brokers around the city have made New Year’s resolutions to face the ongoing downturn by strategizing to reach out to buyers, network and head back to the classroom.

Elizabeth Stahl, a senior vice president at the Corcoran Group, said in 2009 she’s going to get back in touch with former clients.

“There’s a lot to be said about trading up in a down market,” Stahl said, “so I want to check in with people and say, ‘if you’re feeling a little squashed and want more space, this is a good time to go out and look.'”

Anna Milat-Meyer, a vice president at Halstead Property, said she’s hoping to increase her sales next year by getting more exclusives, reaching out to sellers and participating in networking groups. She is even working on starting her own networking group for women in real estate.

Some brokers are planning to diversify their skills to better serve buyers and sellers.

Jessica Buchman, a vice president at Corcoran, wants to become an “EcoBroker,” a certification received through the Colorado-based Built Green, a private company that promotes green home building across the country. Through a series of training programs, students learn how to help clients to market properties with green features and advise buyers about energy efficient and environmentally-friendly options in home design.

And Gabriel Bedoya, another vice president at Corcoran, plans to learn about the commercial market in 2009. While Corcoran is largely a residential firm, the brokerage does list commercial properties for sale and rent.

“Some of my customers who are looking into diversifying their investment portfolios have been looking at [commercial] real estate,” Bedoya said. “I can assist them better if I learn about it.”

Roberta Axelrod, director of residential sales and rentals at Time Equities, said new challenges come up during the down market, so she wants to reinstate lunchtime education seminars for her staff.

“I share a lot of knowledge on a situational basis, but I think it could be better taught across the board,” Axelrod said, adding that seminars cover everything from insurance to how a condo’s common charges are allocated.

Adrienne Albert, CEO of the Marketing Directors, said her resolution is to just accept that the market has changed, confront the new market’s challenges and invent solutions.

“I’ve certainly been through some devastating recessions and there’s always a benefit that comes out of it,” Albert said. “You learn a lot.”

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