Pam Alexander is CEO and managing director of North American Operations for RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada Inc. and Integra Enterprises Corp.
She will speak during a global real estate panel at the Inman News Real Estate Connect conference in New York City, which runs Jan. 7-9, 2009.
Alexander responded to a set of questions posed by Inman News:
What do you see happening in the real estate market in 2009?
2009 will be another challenged year for real estate. The opportunity is to get buyers to take advantage of the selection and low interest rates, and helping them see a home purchase as a much more stable investment than the stock market.
What advice do you have to help real estate agents and brokers get through this market?
Work, work, work. Do not waste time listening to the news and being dragged down by negatives. As long as there are sales happening nationwide it is all a matter of how many transactions you choose to participate in. Ask yourself every day, "What amount of revenue-producing activity did I do today?"
Why did you choose a career in real estate?
Real estate is a family business for me. We have three generations of successful Realtors in my family.
What’s been your biggest challenge in running the business?
We are fortunate to have an outstanding brand with a very deep toolbox. If there is a challenge it seems to be in clearly demonstrating to the consumer that there is a difference between agents — the part-timer is very different than the full-time dedicated real estate professional. The industry as a whole has not been able to convince the consumer of this. It is usually only after the consumer has had a good or bad experience that they realize the difference is massive.
Can you share any future plans, goals?
Nothing completely new, just a continued focus on lead generation, which is free to our agents, as well as enhanced training and education.
What lesson did you learn in the last year?
Canada went through a deep recession in the eastern part that lasted for seven years. Every time there was a glimmer of hope it was quickly squashed by a new crisis of some sort. Last year I did not hold out any false hope even though we saw the market pick up a little during the summer. We all know what happened in the fall. Regardless, tough times end eventually. Stop waiting, accept your situation and make the best of it.
Elizabeth Kubler Ross, the famous doctor, described the five stages a person goes through when given a terminal prognosis: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Once you get to the acceptance stage in this real estate market, nothing fazes you.
What is the biggest problem in the real estate market today, and how would you fix it?
I will be glad once we work through the foreclosures. The banks messed up the market on the way up and are also messing with it on the way down. We will not get back to a normal market until we get them out of our arena with all of their foreclosures. Fortunately they are using Realtors in the process, which brings some order to this situation.
What do you most enjoy about working in the real estate industry?
In 30 years I have never had the same day twice. I love the variety, the challenges and the business. We are so lucky to be involved in what is usually the very happy occasion of "buying a home." Even when it is not so happy — in cases of foreclosure, death and divorce, for example — we can help with the process by making the tough sale flow smoothly and aiming to get the best price possible for our sellers.
Tell us something we don’t already know about you …
My life is work and family. I have been married for 31 years and have four wonderful, grown children.
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