Cindi Andrews reports:
The odds seemed stacked against Sandra Peters: A relatively new Realtor, she was drumming up business in a community where she knew no one, in a market where sales were lackluster at best.
Yet in each of the past three years, Peters has rung up the highest sales volume among the state’s 24,000 Realtors, according to the Ohio Association of Realtors.
In the past year alone, the Comey & Shepherd agent sold 100 homes worth almost $33 million, mostly high-end properties in the Mason/Deerfield Township area where she lives.
- Photos: A look at Peters’ top sales
Peters credits a three-decade career in sales and marketing in the packaging industry for giving her the business skills to succeed in residential real estate.
After relocating six times for her own career, Peters landed in Mason in 2002, when her husband Bill Chin was transferred there with Con-Way Freight. Peters did some volunteer work at first, then decided to enter real estate in 2005, joining Sibcy Cline. All that moving gave her an interest in real estate and firm expectations of how real estate agents can best serve their clients.
Now that Peters’ business has become so successful, Chin has quit his transportation career and assists his wife with preparing homes for listing.
Peters spoke with The Enquirer about how she rose to the top so quickly in a field where most who enter leave within a year.
How did you get started as a newcomer to the area?
I didn’t have any leads to get business. My very first sale was extremely strategic. I put a letter in a couple’s mailbox because they had been trying to sell their house on and off for a while. They asked how new I was, and I said “brand new.” The husband said, “I like your enthusiasm.” I sold it in a week. It was a million-dollar home. I go in and make sure the home is market-ready – changing the furniture, removing wallpaper, updating light fixtures.
How have you done so well given that you’ve been in real estate a relatively short time?
I work very hard. I also took the skillset I had from the business world, representing sellers and buyers of products. I did multimillion-dollar contracts. And I’m very knowledgeable about my areas. You need to know your product. You need to know the infrastructure, like when roads are going in. The earnings tax – I didn’t know Mason had an earnings tax when I moved here. When people look at you as an expert, you have to be an expert in your area. It’s all been word of mouth.
Why did you move from Sibcy Cline to Comey & Shepherd last year?
Comey’s business model really does support the higher-end market. At Comey, calls on your listings come directly to you (instead of to an agent on phone duty). Comey worked to take their model that they had and helped me implement it. And that gave them a (larger) presence in Mason. It was a win for both of us.
Most of your listings are more than $500,000. Why have you focused on the higher end?
I don’t live in a million-dollar home. It’s not who I am. But I understand (high-end buyers and sellers). They want an agent who’s a business person. They want someone who has a business background. It’s their largest investment.
What kind of hours do you work; how do you balance that with your home life?
I work seven days a week. I think with my husband joining me it’s a better balance. If he hadn’t, it probably would have hurt our marriage. And I truly love what I do. I have to pinch myself. I feel very blessed.
The housing market has experienced very difficult times. What do you foresee going forward?
I have experienced sales in the $300,000 to $500,000 range improving both in price and less days on market. Listings $600,000 to $900,000 still have fewer buyers, so they spend longer on the market. … Sales at $1 million have some uptick but require sellers to be very aggressive on price. There’s very little activity on listings $1.5 million and above. I feel we will continue to see a strong market in the area, and new construction is heating up in the Mason/Deerfield area. There is a pent-up demand, and low interest rates will help sales.