Home prices in Orange County support a large field of agents to assist with buying and selling homes. For Jody Chapman, a 20-year industry veteran now with Surterre Properties, her goal is to ensure a great client experience.
Q: Why did you choose real estate as your profession?
A: It was actually my intention to get licensed in the late ‘80’s. As it so happened, I ended up starting a family and didn’t get my licenses until 2002. I already had a four-year degree from USC, so just had to take the state exam. I have always wanted to be in real estate. I truly love the architecture and aesthetics of it. As well as the more common elements such as learning about different neighborhoods, demographics and working with people. It’s a very tactile business that involves interpersonal skills, negotiations, perseverance and diligence in work ethics. I like it because it truly encompasses different lines of work. I’m a little bit counselor, little bit accountant, little bit bartender, little bit designer all rolled into one. And I love it. It energizes me.
Q: Do you feel you are an expert in one specific housing area?
A: The majority of my business is done in Corona del Mar, Harbor View Hills and I’ve gone as far as Long Beach and San Diego. But I am most effective in Corona del Mar and Newport Beach. I have lived in Corona del Mar for over 21 years making it so easy to sell in this area because I truly love where I live. Corona del Mar is a great investment besides having a great lifestyle. Case in point: At an open house recently a fellow came in I had met in 2004, had tried to purchase the home, but was outbid in multiple offers and instead bought a $1.7 million one in a nice area in Los Angeles. He told me he had invested an additional $200,000 into it and now just sold it for $1.9 million and change. He barely broke even. We talked about the Corona del Mar house he didn’t buy back in 2004 that is now worth $3.3 million based on a comp sheet, where it had sold privately four months ago.
Q: So a home in Corona del Mar can be a great asset?
A: It’s more than just an asset. For many homebuyers, that is their concern. But many homebuyers consider lifestyle an important component in their life. Buying a home in Corona del Mar and in other beach towns offers a wonderful lifestyle with an added bonus of an automatic savings account to go along with it. The market is cyclical, depending on what time segment you are focused on and the value of a home can increase or decrease in most areas. But for coastal Orange County, it is an inclining graph that just continues to climb throughout the years.
Q: How do you demonstrate traits that set you apart from other agents?
A: My personal attention to all my clients. It is one of the reasons I don’t place much stock in the talk about real estate agents being replaced by technology. It just won’t happen because real estate is such a very personal experience. And the more experience you find in someone who will best serve your efforts in buying or selling a home, the better. Utilizing and implementing all the best technology is paramount. For me, I wear my clients’ wants and needs like my armor. My husband laughs because I’m always on the phone. He says all the qualities I exemplify and all that I do for my clients makes me an asset to them. And makes me pretty difficult to live with at times! I always pick up the phone, no matter time of day. If they call me in the middle of the night, something must be weighing heavily on them and I want to be there to help.
Q: Give us examples of the sort of strategies you use to sell property.
A: Like anything it depends on what is happening on the market and with the property. Most importantly I always listen to my clients’ goals before implementing any strategies. Some say the price is most important; others have concerns such as a job transfer, which makes timing so important for the sale. I also gain a macro impression of the home and neighborhood to see where their property fits in the surrounding environment in real time. In other words, if the home price is presented accurately, it sells. I’ve found most sellers are very savvy people and we rarely end up disagreeing about pricing. Other strategies include spending money where it benefits the seller such as photography. I use architectural property photographer Ken Drake, who comes to the property with a truckload of equipment and his results are spectacular. We also use drone photography. These pictures go online as specific website for properties, a tool used by many agents. But the key is to combine all these strategies and mix them with perseverance to see results.
Q: What do you mean by perseverance?
A: That I am available for them. I give incredible continuity through every step of the way. It means I am there through the preparation of the listing, the showing, the transaction and the closing of the property and everything in-between. For a certain amount of time, I am woven into the fabric of their lives in a very task oriented way. I’m happy to say that after the transaction concludes, I’m able to call them both clients and friends. A lot of referrals come my way because I am consistent and steady in the industry. A referral is the highest compliment I can receive. It’s a wonderful acknowledgement that what I do matters and is a benefit to others. It doesn’t get any better than that!
1400 Newport Center Drive, Suite 100
Newport Beach, Ca 92660
By Gina Dostler