My broker, Bill Raveis, has predicted that the real estate market may bottom out within the next 4-5 months. Do you agree? Here is the full text of a recent interview...
William Raveis Reflects on the Marketplace
An Interview with Bill Raveis
In the longest lasting recession on record, with waves of foreclosures increasing, housing sales plummeting, Wall Street exploding and real estate firms closing their doors, there is one major company that continues to expand... William Raveis Real Estate, Mortgage & Insurance, a firm led by 35-year real estate veteran William M. Raveis, Jr.
The privately-owned company, in operation since 1974, has launched eleven new offices within the last year and according to Chairman and CEO William Raveis, the company plans to broaden their reach into New York in 2009.
Why is the Raveis Company growing while major companies, owned by Wall Street and the national franchises, are cutting back, consolidating and/or closing their doors?
"We're growing for several reasons...partly because we're a family-run company with a passion to deliver the highest level of service not only to our customers but to our agents & employees as well," said Raveis, who sports cufflinks that say, ‘Go Team'.
"Another is that we're a well-managed company, in great shape financially. We remember the downturn in the 1980's and I made a promise to myself that I would never be caught again and to always be prepared for the worst. We all know that real estate is traditionally cyclical," he added. "What has happened today is that we hit a reset button - the market naturally adjusted itself back to 2003-04 prices, resetting all the excess that followed through 2007, where you saw home values rising sometimes as much as 10% a year. And if you calculate that price adjustment over time, it isn't that bad."
Whereas reports are touting all doom and gloom for the real estate industry, Raveis sees a bright spot in the marketplace. "Customers will benefit because those agents who are surviving in this market are more dedicated, more tech-savvy and much more customer-oriented. With challenges come opportunities. Interest rates are at record lows in the mortgage market and there will be many buyers out there that can get great deals. We will slowly start seeing the buyers come back into the market."
"In my experience, I've seen 35 years of ups and downs. Everyone talks about this recession as being the worst economy since the Great Depression. I can't agree with that. I will, however, say that it is the worst since the late 1980's and in 1990 we had the S&L crisis and thousands of banks folded. It is upsetting to see families losing their jobs and foreclosing on their homes. Most recessions in real estate last 2-3 years. This is going on our third year - the downturn really began in first quarter 2007. So the marketplace may bottom out in maybe 4-5 months. We'll know a lot more based on what happens in March, which will be a telling month in terms of whether it will rebound this summer."
"For us," he continued, "the down market is a time for opportunities. The next six months will be a period of growth... a flight to quality. So far, in 2009, we have purchased three mortgage companies, three offices in Cape Cod plus the largest summer rental office on the Cape and acquired the staff from a major relocation group in Massachusetts. We're expanding smartly by buying great, long-term companies headed by industry veterans."
The customer-centric raveis.com is a key element to the success of the company. It continues to grow in popularity with more than one Billion hits in 2008, and rising.
According to Raveis, the company is working to make raveis.com be the one source for all real estate-related information in the Northeast from Maine to Manhattan. By year's end, the website will have all MLS listings in New England and New York. "Our commitment to home buyers does not end with the purchase," he stated, "and our support of home sellers does not end with the sale. Where else can a homebuyer preview all open houses (even competitors') in the state, receive a monthly newsletter with real estate trends in their area, conduct their home search by cell phone, or by "seeing" it from a bird's eye view, receive new listings as they appear on the market, be approved for a mortgage, receive an insurance quote, coordinate everything from phone hookups to invisible fence installation, receive benefits on additional home services -from just one website?"
"Raveis.com is a one-stop website that offers extensive real estate services in one location so that the customer does not have to go from place to place," Raveis continued. "We will continue to invest in raveis.com in 2009 by relentlessly upgrading the site to provide the latest technological advancements to our customers to help them find their home quicker and easier."