I just spent the last weekend at the National Realtors Convention in New Orleans, and in between stuffing my face with shrimp po’boys and ogling homes in the Garden District, I actually learned a few things.
The first is: real estate hasn’t changed. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling luxury homes or if your selling to first-time buyers, price is still the most important factor. What matters is how you convey that message.
I spent a lot of time learning how to price luxury listings (we have a sizeable group of $1M+ listings in St. Augustine), as well as learning to sell the lifestyle that goes with a luxury listing, and how to determine if the price on a luxury listing isn’t working and how to move it correctly.
What has changed are the tools that are used to sell real estate. QR codes, ‘droid aps, bit.ly URLs…do you know what these things are? Well, they’re coming to real estate and we’re going to start using them to help St. Augustine Team Realty’s customers buy and sell properties. The good thing is we are already using so many of the tech advances that people were talking about at the conference.
New Orleans itself is a great town. I had some inside help finding great places to eat from my Aunt Connie (who lived here pre-Katrina), but even in the cases where I had to go off-piste the food I found was amazing. She told me, “don’t worry about where you eat because it’s all good.” You can see some of the place I ate at my profile on Yelp.
And if you’re in real estate the homes in New Orleans are unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Everyone knows about the French Quarter, but the Garden District(s), Uptown and Riverbend are so chock full of beautiful homes and style it would take a month to see everything. I’m serious. You simply can’t comprehend it. And then there are the dozens of beutiful churches…
I went down to the Upper and Lower 9th Wards, the areas hit hardest by Katrina, to see the real estate there. The Lower 9th, while filled with a lot of overgrown vacant lots and still plenty of boarded up homes, was a neighborhood like any other. It’s vibrant, plenty of people are living and working there, and the houses they are living in are just as well cared for and unique as anything else in NOLA. In the Upper 9th on the west side of the canal there is a lot of new construction as part of two Development Districts and the Musicians Neighborhood, all in the New Orleans style. Strangely, there is also a new construction project that looks abandoned. You can see photos of the neighborhoods on our Facebook page.
Finally, there were some strange things I saw in New Orleans: a toothless cowboy trying to shill people into a strip club on Bourbon Street, “fast food” style daquiri shops where you could stop by for a quick gallon or more, and the 20-year old dandy in a pinstriped suit complete with fedora and handlebar moustache in a Magazine Street burrito shop. But the strangest thing was at the NAR convention itself: a meet-and-greet with David Hassellhoff. Sure, you could meet David Hassellhoff, but would you meet David Hassellhoff?