There’s an optimism in the air. It’s quite evident in attendance at the different SILVAR district meetings. It’s also evident in the attitudes and points of view of the various speakers at each of SILVAR’s districts.

Left to right: Chris Trapani (Sereno Group), John Thompson (Intero Real Estate), Bill Lewis (Alain Pinel Realtors) and Fred Hibbert (Coldwell Banker)

The first 2011 Los Altos/Mountain View District tour meeting took place last Friday with a good attendance and a broker/manager panel, which included Chris Trapani (Sereno Group), John Thompson (Intero Real Estate), Bill Lewis (Alain Pinel Realtors) and Fred Hibbert (Coldwell Banker). 2011 District Chair Denise Welsh, who served as moderator, asked the brokers to share their greatest challenges, advice to agents for positioning buyers (and sellers) in 2011, and valuable traits they look for in an agent.

For Fred Hibbert, the greatest challenge is managing expectations of buyers and sellers.

Bill Lewis said it’s staying on top of the market. “Success is preparation and opportunity. You need to know the market,” he stressed.

John Thompson said knowledge and skills in the industry are important. An agent needs to be objective and focus on what he/she should improve.

Chris Trapani said it’s important for him as a manager to see growth in his office. His goal is to have his agents succeed. He especially wants to coach agents who have not yet experienced levels of success and guide them to a place of stability.

What is the panel’s advice to agents for 2011? Hibbert advised agents to study the information, be knowledgeable about the market, and know the stats.

“Stats are important and talking points are important,” confirmed Lewis. Armed with this knowledge, Lewis said agents can discuss real estate and show their knowledge to everyone, even while waiting in line in the supermarket.

“Have patience,” Lewis added. “You have to understand your clients and help your clients understand the market and manage their expectations.”

Thompson said there’s no excuse for agents to be operating without stats. Agents have access to the data and need to be able to explain the short and long-term impact on value in the different neighborhoods.

As for valuable traits the managers look for in an agent, Trapani said he looks at the agent’s track record, and most of all, he looks for a “culture fit” in his company.

Thompson looks for intangibles, especially personality. “If a person knows what they want to get out of this business, I can help them with a business plan. They have to know what they want,” Thompson stressed.

Lewis looks for a high level of honesty, integrity and fair dealing in an agent. It’s his foundation to building a culture in the office. The agent would need to get along with others in the office.

Hibbert wants the agent to have a game plan and goals.

A red flag to these managers is when the agent immediately wants to know what the deal is, and does not express much interest in the company’s philosophy.

The brokers are very optimistic about 2011. Enjoy the ride, be prepared, focus on what you want, but you have to work. Get out there, get the inventory, get the listings, they said.

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