Top Team Interview The Jills

Jill Hertzberg and Jill Eber, Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate/NRT, Miami Beach, FL

The Jills ranked No. 21 in the 2008 LORE Top Teams by Sales Volume.

Opportunities exist in every market and top teams like The Jills know it. But, there are challenges as well. In this on-going series, LORE will interview top teams and individuals about the challenges they face and what they see as the future of the industry.

LORE: What challenges do you face today?
The Jills: Our biggest challenge is getting buyers to attempt to make an offer now. Many are waiting on the sidelines thinking prices will continue to retreat. We’re struggling to get those buyers to the table to make the offers. It’s not impossible, but it has been a challenge. We must show them that the first properties to go are the cherries and those don’t last long.

We’re also having trouble getting sellers to adjust their thinking. It’s a different world right now, and we’re trying to get them to realize their home isn’t worth what it was before.
In the last couple of weeks, our market has picked up. We’re getting buyers from all over, particularly South America and Russia.

In the 20 years we’ve been in the business, we’ve never seen opportunities like those that exist now.

LORE: What are you doing to overcome those challenges?
The Jills: Honesty is the best policy. For sellers, we sit with them and prepare extensive marketing plans that show them exactly what’s happening relative to their property. We show them what’s been selling and help them reach numbers that buyers will respond to. But, it all depends on the motivation of the seller.

With buyers, particularly luxury buyers, we provide excellent comparative sales that have closed so we can show them what’s been happening in the luxury market. We think we’re going into a tremendous inflationary period. Buyers do understand that real estate will go up and now is the time to get the best properties at low prices.

We’re starting to do an enormous amount of marketing and it’s more informative. We’re also telling buyers that there are once in a lifetime opportunities.

With regards to the marketplace and the whole economy, everyone is so well informed today. But, they read the news everyday, and it’s hard to stay positive. We continue to show them how special our market is today.

LORE: How have you revamped the business to meet the current needs of clients and customers?
The Jills: We’re much more aggressive in pricing properties and reducing listing prices. We’re also more in tune with the market statistics so we can show sellers and buyers where the good deals are and how to attract buyers to make offers.

We spend more time sitting with sellers, showing them comps and helping them make necessary adjustments in price and condition. We listen to what each buyer wants and take the time to show them everything we can.

LORE: What do you see as the successful sales associate of the future?
The Jills: You have to be extremely knowledgeable at this time. From 1999 to 2005 you didn’t have to know a lot, people were just buying. Your expertise in specific properties or areas wasn’t an essential part of the business. Now, knowledge is key. You must learn about your market and learn it intimately. And, when you do get a buyer who’s ready to buy, you must perform.