In the following interview, Terry Jones, broker/owner of HomeSmart Real Estate Associates in Seattle, Wash., discusses the advantages of the HomeSmart brand, the local market, technology and more.
Region Served: Bellevue, Seattle and Tacoma
Years in Real Estate: 28
Number of Offices: 3
Number of Agents: 135
Favorite Part of Your Job: Teaching and role playing with brokers and agents to help them secure the sale or get the listing
Who has most influenced your success?
My HomeSmart success is really easy. HomeSmart Corporate made opening my offices painless, and we have a great group of agents who have contributed to our fast growth and success. Many others have influenced my life to be a better person—a better mother and grandmother—to stay consistent in achieving constant growth in all areas of my life. I have a pastor who influences my faith and a health group that motivates me to eat healthy and work out. But truly, I would say that my faith and my children have influenced me the most. My kids always make me feel good about myself, and that makes me feel like I can do anything.
You recently opened a new office. Can you talk about the experience and why now is the right time to expand your company footprint?
When I decided Tacoma was the next location for me, I thought about how brokers and agents must feel in this fast-selling, multiple-offer market. We have five to 10 offers on million-dollar homes and multiple offers on $400,000 homes. I thought to myself, ‘We’re a flat-fee model no matter if your check is $15,000 or $5,000.’ These brokers need HomeSmart. They need more of their hard-earned income. It’s not getting cheaper to live in Tacoma, and that was my deciding factor on the Tacoma location. It’s a much-needed broker model for the area.
How do you see your market evolving throughout the next year?
I see us growing quickly, just like California did. If our market changes to a down market, we grow, and if we get the word out about what we have to offer, we grow. We have HomeSmart brokers and agents in Bellingham and Olympia, and will soon have a presence in Vancouver, all over east of Bellevue and further. We will grow quickly now that the word is out. HomeSmart is a great company that offers a lot of support, a full marketing design center and low fees.
What demographic segments are driving your business these days?
We have it all in Seattle, but I would have to say we’re seeing more millennials in the city. We also have a ton of transfers from other states who are coming to the area for jobs. Then we have Gen Y buyers who are purchasing their first home or moving up to a bigger home. We haven’t seen a lot of movement with move-up buyers as there’s a lot of fear that they’ll have nothing to buy if they sell their home. Most boomers can buy without selling, so we’re seeing a lot of cash and large down payments.
How do you use technology to better serve your clients?
I have a love-hate relationship with technology, on which I run my whole office. In fact, I can run all three locations from my laptop. Not only can I look at a house from my cellphone, iPad or laptop, but I can also send clients information or answer any concerns within seconds. I can write an offer in the car within minutes, in addition to quickly opening title, escrow and updating all other team members. Clients want information now, and I’m all about providing the best customer service. We pride ourselves in answering all customer concerns and issues within the same day. If that’s not possible, we at least acknowledge their requests immediately.
For more information, please visit www.homesmart.com.
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