In this episode, Propy’s CRO, Joe Budelli is joined by Mike Valerio, Director of Operations New Western Acquisitions for a fast-paced conversation about micro markets. Learn why your marketing dollars go further in a micro market, and how agents can better differentiate themselves.
Mike Valerio is the Director of Operations at New Western Acquisitions. In simple terms, New Western is a marketplace for distressed homeowners who need help selling their property, and a place for investor buyers to locate more inventory to analyze and purchase. The company is located in 17 states now, and Mike’s focus is on expansion and scalability.
Mike started in the real estate industry around the end of 2006, and looking back, believes that was a great opportunity to learn about the real estate industry, especially the unique challenges that came with the downturn during that time. He has completed well over 1,600 transactions, valued at over 5.2 billion, in his real estate career spanning the past 10 years.
Mike is originally from Florida, and moved to Dallas-Ft Worth to work with New Western Acquisitions, and then returned to Florida several years later to expand the product and services in the Florida market. He’s currently looking to move back to Texas with his family, as he becomes more focused on strategy and development with New Western.
How the Delta variant has affected life in Florida
Joe shares that whenever Florida is in the news, all they hear on the West Coast is that the state has become the hotspot for the Delta variant.
According to Mike, the governor of Florida is adamant about letting people decide what they want to do about wearing masks and getting vaccinated against COVID. Because of the governor’s position, there are no mask mandates for public schools or business. The real estate market hasn’t seen any negative impact because of this. Even in situations where clients request a contactless type of transaction, because agents have been operating mostly virtually for the past 18 months, Mike explains that it’s business as usual right now. Florida has a historically low level of inventory currently, with less than two months inventory.
Buying distressed properties using a virtual tour
Mike explains that at New Western Acquisitions they use Matterport extensively. Approximately 80% of their transactions close with the use of a Matterport virtual tour. Because this product is so good, and it allows a consumer to zoom in to get more detail on a potential problem area, consumers have a lot of confidence in it.
The Advantages of Micro Markets
“The broad definition in the real estate industry is to be hyper-focused on a subdivision or neighborhood within your metro area,”
Mike explains, “but I look at it a little differently, and include smaller geographical market areas, such as Beaumont or Tyler, Texas.”
There are many advantages being focused on a smaller market, and realtors can capitalize on it. Mike believes that there are two main pillars that realtors can use to position themselves within a micro market.
Local knowledge expertise. Realtors in a micro market are going to know the ins-and-outs of that market extremely well, knowing the best schools, local laws, and permitting, for example.
Being well networked. Working within a micro market allows a realtor to develop solid relationships with contractors, subcontractors, and service providers of all kinds. If a client has an issue that needs to be addressed, or they’re simply looking for the best lawn care provider or house painter, a realtor specializing in a micro market is going to know the right people to call.
Another advantage to working a micro market, especially for newer agents, is being able to spend less marketing money to capture an audience. Being more entrenched in a specific area makes it easier to network with people and get your name out there.
Gaining market share in a large metropolitan area can be daunting when you look at the large number of agents in a big city. For example, the Miami Association of Realtors has over 70,000 members, and while they may not all be full-time realtors, that creates a lot of competition in the area.
Advice to agents
Mike’s advice to realtors is to “go all in.” He sees too many agents who treat having their real estate license as a side gig, and they don’t focus enough on the profession.
“If you’re going to become a professional in this industry, make it your profession,”
says Mike, “because the consumers you work with deserve that, and you deserve it yourself. You’re not going to gain the success that you want if you don’t.”
Networking with realtors in Florida
For realtors who want to start cultivating relationships with realtors and brokers in Florida, Mike suggests that they turn to online resources. As an example, he said that if you’re on Zillow and click for more information about a house, you’ll instantly be connected with three agents in that area. While they may not be the best agents in a given area, it will give you a place to start networking.
There are also numerous real estate groups on Facebook, Clubhouse, Instagram, etc., so join ones that are serving a community or metropolitan area you’re interested in, and start conversations with members of the group.
You can also access information about out-of-state realtors through the National Association of Realtors.
Joe points out that for any agent interested in crypto and blockchain, that Propy has a network of crypto enthusiasts and crypto-certified agents who are happy to help you and walk you through your first crypto transaction.