Steve Weiss is broker/owner of Coast & County Brokers in San Luis Obispo, California.
Are you optimistic about 2015?
I’m not only optimistic for what’s in store for us in 2015, I’m truly excited for the new year to begin based on the energy, collaborative efforts and the passion my agents have for the real estate business throughout this past year and previous years.
All indicators are pointing towards continued economic recovery, which translates into more jobs and homes purchased. My only reservations are with other countries and their challenges. I have hope that they will not threaten any momentum we’ve developed, especially in job creation.
The housing market?
Early in 2014, the market got way ahead of itself, but it seems to have stabilized both in price and sales. I remain extremely optimistic that 2015 will be a strong year for the real estate community as long as inventory continues to increase and Realtors work diligently with sellers to help price properties at market values, not above value, to secure a listing.
This coming year will mark my 30th year in the real estate industry, primarily residential resale. I feel extremely fortunate that throughout my career, I’ve seen much success, but it comes with plenty of hard work. Although I, like many of my colleagues, may have hit the wall on many occasions, I have kept a good attitude knowing this, too, shall pass. I have no doubt that 2015 will be another year to celebrate success for me, my agents and, of highest importance, our clients.
What are you worried about?
As long as the health of my family, friends, colleagues and, of course, my own health is good, I have very little to worry about. OK, let me be a bit more honest: I worry about everything — and I mean everything. But if I can remember that 90 percent of all the things we worry about never happen, 2015 will be a fantastic year.
How much do you fret about global events?
Global events are out of my hands, and I try to never allow them to disrupt my business or personal goals. The only exceptions were 9/11 and Sandy Hook. Both absolutely paralyzed me.
Will mortgage rates go up or down next year?
Rates have held low for six long years as the economy attempts to rebound. Rates will almost surely start rising next year as the Federal Reserve continues to try to keep the economy in balance.
Will home prices appreciate next year?
Based on supply and demand, I believe we’ll see a 5 to 8 percent increase in values.
Will agents be more productive next year?
It depends. There are numerous tools available for real estate agents today to utilize and, if used correctly in addition with common sense and a bit of education, there is no reason not to be successful.
Will the portals play a bigger role in real estate next year?
I have thrown up the white flag and will no longer resist the portals selling me leads from my own listings. The days of optimizing agent-owned websites are gone, as far as I’m concerned. Zillow, Trulia, realtor.com and Redfin have spent millions of dollars to capture inquires. It’s now up to me to understand their value and how to handle the business generated from these portals. Unfortunately, these portals continue to saturate every market with agents who have not a clue of how to handle a lead they’ve paid for. Time is of the essence — period.
What will be the biggest source of real estate leads next year?
As mentioned above, the big four portals.
Are you making plans to expand, contract or maintain your business this year?
I always make plans to expand my business. This coming year brings with it a few personal challenges, but with the right attitude, nothing will keep my brokerage or me from having another banner year.
What is the biggest challenge for the industry in the coming year?
Inventory has and will continue to play a huge role for our industry, in addition to interest rates.