It is always interesting to shift gears from figuring out a way to get my listings on page 1 of Google for certain hyper local keywords frequented by consumers in 2012 to a question straight from 1995. Specifically, I was contacted by someone whose house recently expired unsold and we discussed their options. As they picked my brain about how I sell my listings, the question was posed "do you have an office?"
Now, this is not a dumb question. It is actually an understandable question. Having worked from home for some time and then opening up our brick and mortar office, I did see a difference in perception from colleagues and consumers alike. Office space can make a difference. That said, if your home is unique and appeals to a more uncommon, specific niche buyer, the real question for me is "what are you going to do that my last broker couldn't?" or "how will you market the home differently to make it stand out?" Those are the crucial questions, because when you've been with a fancy big name office with national advertising and gourmet coffee in the lobby and still failed to sell, you start to realize that walk ins (i.e., folks window shopping who literally "walk in" to the office intending to speak with an agent) aren't your bread and butter.
I'll repeat it here: When Ann and I started the firm in 2005, we had a desk in my parents' old bedroom. This was the same room where my crib was in 1967. It had a desk, a fax machine, a desktop computer, and a broker who planned world domination through an Internet presence that made the public percieve us to be larger and more more established than we were. That was the plan, and it worked well enough for us to open up on North State Road in 2007. We now have a small branch office in Upper Manhattan on Amsterdam Avenue as well.
So yes, we have an office. It is at 522 North State Road in Brarcliff Manor in a brick professional building with a mansard-style roof and lots of parking. Italian food is walking distance in both directions (I wouldn't have it any other way). And from this office we manage 25 licensed agents and sell homes all over Westchester, the Hudson Valley, and even the boroughs of New York City. From this office I sell condos in White Plains, homes with acreage in Dutchess County, REOs in Staten Island, co ops in the Bronx and Queens, stately colonials in Pelham and Armonk, ranches in Nyack, and tons of other property.
And none of that closes because of our office or because we were "in the neighborhood." We get the job done because of how we ply our trade. We live in the question of how to market our listings better, how to help our buyers get better deals, and how to increase our stature online. And while we do get the occasional walk in, we don't depend on them to pay the bills. The plan to leverage consumer friendly technology from day 1 has been followed religiously, streamlined, and improved month after month, year after year. This is why we have grown, and this is why 2012 will be a breakthrough year for our client family.