With the local property market heating up as buyers try to stay ahead of rising prices, one real estate agent is using a high tech way to reach clients.
Monica Knowles, sales agent with Bahamas Realty, is kick-starting her chances combining social media outreach with her own website designed not only to be chockablock with information but mobile device friendly, easy and fast to access on the go.
“It’s all about time,” said the bi-lingual 30-something agent committed to tech-driven introduction to sales. “Online – it’s where 90% of real estate searches start and it’s where everyone shops. My goal was to make it as quick as possible for clients to see high quality listings and gain even easier access to the Bahamian property marketplace on their smart phone or tablet. So it doesn’t matter if the buyer is in Beijing or Berry Islands, they are able to narrow their search with a few quick swipes.”
Knowles started by working with a designer to create her own website, www.MonicaKnowlesrealty.com-- that, in itself, a relatively new trend in real estate sales.
Once frowned upon as self-promoting instead of team-oriented, individual agent websites are becoming increasingly popular. Large agencies with international affiliations that only a year or two ago resisted the agent selling herself or himself now recognize the potential of individual agent sites. What sets Knowles’ apart is the information it packs into a site that opens as fast as an app on a smart phone or tablet.
She launched the site this week, ironically, as she along with many real estate professionals were in Las Vegas for a major industry conference. But it was trends in the local market that drove her to ready the site as quickly as possible.
“There are a lot more serious buyers out there,” said the agent who started out as a receptionist in a boutique real estate office on Paradise Island, caught the property bug, earned her license and went from hoping the phone would ring to pulling in nearly $4 million in sales in the past year.
“We used to see the tire kickers – those who would look as if browsing was a sport. Now people are getting down to business. They know the banks take a long time so they are getting pre-approved before they start looking. They come in knowing what they can afford.”
The move away from the dilly-dallying to the move-in-now mentality, says Knowles, is due partly to a better understanding of the value of owning instead of renting and people being more serious about where their money goes following a recession that was a wake-up call. Properly-priced property is moving faster, closings taking place in record time and owners being asked to vacate in 30 to 60 days – rare in yesterday’s world, she says.
And it’s into that faster-paced real estate world Knowles hopes availability of instant access to new listings, facts and comparable prices will serve its purpose, even becoming the way of the future in the first instance of viewing.
Bahamas Realty Chairman Larry Roberts agrees.
“Bahamas Realty is celebrating 65 years,” said Roberts, who serves on the prestigious Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® International Advisory Board. “but I venture to say that there have been more dramatic and lasting changes in the past decade than in all the decades before.
Agents like Monica who find ways to satisfy the information demands of buyers who want more choices instantly will rise above the competition and we’re proud to have her as part of the dynamic Bahamas Realty team.”
Knowles said landing at Bahamas Realty was no accident. In the early 1990s, the firm was the first business in The Bahamas to have its own website. In 2006, Bahamas Realty’s website was voted the number one website serving a leading international luxury market real estate association, an award presented to a very surprised Roberts during a conference in Chicago.
Monica Knowles, sales agent at Bahamas Realty, launches the monicaknowlesrealty.com website with hundreds of listings as close as a smart phone or tablet in time for a market that has picked up as buyers try to stay ahead of rising prices. Individual websites are becoming increasingly popular in the industry that resisted them only a short while ago but the trick is making them faster, easier and more inviting.
Written By Diane Phillips & Associates