Melanie Smith doesn’t need to ponder on the secret to success in the real estate market. The Westport and Fairfield real estate agent is confident she has the answer.
“Pricing is absolutely the key to success,” Smith says inside her Prudential Connecticut Realty office in Southport. She has been selling property for 33 years and is one of the most successful agents in the area.
Knowing the secrets to success is, however, only half the battle. Like every agent, Smith is dealing with the realities of a stressed economy. More are selling than buying, and fear and uncertainty take their toll. For Smith, that means it’s just as important to help buyers feel confident in their decisions.
Adaptation has also worked its way into Smith’s skill set. She’s handling more rental properties than ever. Some sellers who have already moved to a new home but are having difficulty finding a buyer are renting out their former home if it won't sell.
“The rental market really is thriving,” says Smith. “People feel they don’t have to make a decision that they might regret later.”
Smith has noticed that the region's demographics are changing. As taxes climb, retired residents are leaving and younger couples are moving in. “This really could change the culture of our towns,” says Smith.
Still, Smith is maneuvering the market with finesse. Bringing the right buyer to a property takes a bit more work today than it did a few years ago, but she keeps moving forward. One of her most recent listings had four offers — on the first day.
Smith is always hopeful and today it is that the economy will bounce back soon. “If people can get their trust back in the economy and political leaders, we should see some increase in sales,” she says.