Bad news often has a silver lining to it, and the current real estate crisis is no exception.
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Real estate broker Vicki Watzlawick is the owner of Exit Platinum Realty – Illinois Foreclosure Experts based in the Chicago suburb Lake In The Hills, Illinois.
She has shifted her focus in a way that has allowed her to do well even in tough times. We talked to Vicki to learn more about her business strategy.
Vicki, tell me about your real estate business. We're in the middle of a very tough market for real estate broker. How are you surviving?
We are not only surviving, but we are thriving in the worst real estate market in history
We are selling pre-foreclosures and helping families save their credit and homes from foreclosure.
We shifted our focus from traditional real estate brokerage services to this new model a while back, and it's paying off.
Who are your main competitors? How do you compete against them?
All of the major real estate franchises. We go up against ReMax, Century 21, Keller Williams and others.
However, with our new foreclosure/short sales plan, we really do not have a lot of competition. We have recession-proofed our business by adapting to the changing market, which so many agents are afraid to do. That's what sets us apart.
That's a smart move. How has your experience in running the business been different from what you expected?
Overwhelmingly difficult! I never dreamed that when running a real estate office that you had to wear so many hats. Managing, training, selling, coordinating, answering phones when secretary is sick, doing books when the bookkeeper is on maternity leave, picking up toilet paper because someone forgot to order it…and the list goes on!
So some advice to aspiring entrepreneurs…learning delegating early on is a much needed skill for any new start up.
Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
I wish I had learned to adapt to the changing market earlier on to avoid 1.5 years of struggle. We made the right move but we should have done it earlier.
What have you done that has been very effective in helping to grow the business?
The main thing we've done is that we adapted and changed our business model to fit the CURRENT market trends. We got involved, studied the trends and even co-authored a book entitled "Should I Short Sale My Home?" to help the public get informed.
What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a similar real estate company?
Study the market, know your area statistics, learn the new skills and get the new tools needed to stay alive in this field today. Get involved with the public as much as possible.
That is so true. It's hard to do well in real estate if you don't get out there and get to know folks. It sounds like you are making all the right moves. Thanks so much for participating in one of our entrepreneur interviews. For visitors to our site, if you live in the Chicago suburbs in the Algonquin area and are struggling with real estate challenges, you can reach Vicki at (847) 854-3800.