Archives September, 2007


Time To Make An Appointment

We are continually amazed to hear people remark that buyers appear to have all but stopped purchasing real estate in Southwest Florida. They see many homes for sale, some for long periods of time, only to conclude that serious buyers are absent the market.

Observing the vigorous attendance at our weekly open houses ought to be enough to dispel that belief. But monthly activity at the Call Center at Michael Saunders & Company is what really crushes the notion that serious buyers are nowhere to be found. Through August of 2007, the Call Center scheduled 24,727 appointments to show homes, nearly eight percent higher than the same period last year and virtually even with the number of appointments set through August of 2005. This amounts to nearly 2,100 showings per week—hardly indicative of a dearth of buyers.

Though the market is filled with exceptional opportunities, buyers still have the burden of sifting through the many possibilities. This takes no small amount of time and effort, which obviously slows the process of deciding on a home and finalizing its purchase. Needless to say, buyers give two thumbs-down to the idea of visiting any home—no matter how special—that isn’t priced competitively. Remember, you must first “sell” your home to the real estate community before they will label it a “must-see” for their clients. For this reason, it is vitally important to obtain the best possible advice when establishing a fair price for your home. What it might have sold for last year—or even three months ago—may not be valid in today’s rapidly evolving market. A truly competitive price stems from a careful analysis of comparable homes sold very recently in the same—or similar—neighborhoods. Overpriced listings will wind up as lonely as the Maytag repairman.

Far from being lonely, competitively-priced properties are still selling briskly here at Michael Saunders & Company. We continue to close, on average, daily sales amounting to $4.8 million and expect to finish 2007 with $2 billion in sales. If selling your home in today’s market has you concerned, please contact us for advice on setting a competitive price and how to best prepare your home for the most effective showings.



Strategic Promotions and Two New Divisions

Drayton and I are pleased to announce several leadership and divisional changes that bring fruition to several months of in-depth organizational planning to further enhance core services for our 500-plus associates and for the public at large.

Ann Stickel has been named to the newly-created position of Vice President of Affiliated Services. Currently the divisional head of MS&C Mortgage, Ann will move up to oversee the new “Division of Affiliated Services,” which is structured to unify into one operation the related services of MS&C Mortgage, MS&C Title and the company’s Division of Relocation Services. She has worked in the financial industry for 18 years, been a mortgage broker for 12, and with MS&C Mortgage—an affiliate of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage—for the past 2-1/2 years.

Also moving up to an expanded role in the company, Beth Ann McFadyen has accepted the title and responsibilities of Relocation Director, that division’s highest ranking position. Beth Ann steps into her new position after a successful six-year tenure as the unit’s assistant relocation director where she was instrumental in the development of systems, procedures and reporting methods that have consistently earned her department noteworthy acclaim in national and international relocation circles.

In addition to being a licensed real estate associate, Beth Ann is a member of Worldwide ERC® (Employee Relocation Council) and holds the internationally recognized CRP (Certified Relocation Professional) accreditation. She has been actively involved in Leading Real Estate Companies of The World ™, where she holds two designations—World Referral Specialist (WRS) and Relo Certified (RCC)—and has been a featured speaker at its national and region conferences for the past five years.

I am also pleased to announce the related formation of another new initiative within the company. With the intent to further solidify the company’s commanding market share and strengthen its leadership position within the highest priced strata of the region’s luxury real estate market, we have created a Division of Luxury Marketing to be headed by another seasoned and highly-respected veteran of the company, Ann Runyon.

Ann brings unrivaled skills, boundless energy and enthusiasm, and an incredible legacy of success to her expanded role in the company. As Executive Director of the new division, she will be charged with consolidating the company’s luxury marketing expertise with its leadership in selling important properties, priced from $2 million and up. She will also use her extensive experience to guide associates and customers toward a deeper appreciation of the company’s extensive luxury marketing resources, its far-reaching worldwide affiliations, proven Web superiority and how each of these assets can be put to full and effective use to promote the company’s luxury listings before qualified buyers, both nationally and internationally.

My long-term confidence in the market is so positive that I wanted to make these important changes and promotions right now in order to fortify our position well in advance of a normalized market. I am fortunate to have deep reservoirs of talent existing at all levels of the company which enabled me to assemble exactly the team I wanted to drive these exciting new initiatives.


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