Robert MacCallum, along with his wife Colleen, are the broker/owners of Exit Right Realty located in Vero Beach, FL. Robert appeared on the iHeart Radio/Podcast Treasure Coast Connector talk show to share insights on how to navigate the current real estate market. He spoke about why he started his real estate business, what the market is doing and how he is building a team of realtors to help as many people as possible get into their dream home.
Robert and Colleen got into real estate because they enjoy coaching and helping people start and build their careers. He has truly enjoyed seeing the progression his agents have made and the goals they have achieved.
About six months ago, the real estate market was very different. It seemed no sooner than a house hit the market, it was sold. Sometimes homes were sold before they even officially hit the market. There were multiple buyers submitting bids, often tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars over the asking price.
While it is still a seller’s market, Rob noted that we are seeing a leveling off taking place. Months ago, when the market was hot, there was an influx of cash buyers in the market. Buyers were also taking advantage of “free money” in the form of very low interest rates. This enabled many people to enter the home buying market that could qualify for a starter home because of the low rates.
There are fewer cash buyers now, for a variety of reasons, and we are now getting back to traditional buyers coming in with a down payment and successfully bidding and winning those bids.
One of the things that is protecting the Florida real estate market is the fact that so many people want to move here, and that trend will likely never stop. Florida is a beautiful state, the weather is incredible, there are lots of outdoor activities to enjoy year-round, we do not have state income tax, etc. Rob also acknowledged that states like New York and California, among others, were locked down for a long time due to the coronavirus and are potentially facing new restrictions. This has caused many people to want to move to Florida for the freedom from those restrictions.
While Florida dealt with initial lockdowns, we have remained open, and have been able to achieve a good balance between being safe yet remaining open for business. Many people find that balance very attractive and want to move here.
The conversation turned to rising interest rates, and many home buyers are hesitant on entering the market. Some feel that perhaps waiting would be a good idea. Rob feels that is a mistake for many home buyers. Back in the 80’s the interest rates for mortgages were approximately 20% at their highest. When you take that into consideration, the rate increase that we’ve seen is not bad at all.
Rob said that it is a good idea to secure your loan now and buy the home you want. If rates go down in the future, you can always refinance. Housing prices, over time, are going to continue to increase. We’ve seen a dramatic increase over the past couple of years and it will level off. However, Rob said that we will still see increases, year-over-year in the 3-5% range over the next 4-5 years. Rob’s advice is to not let the rising interest rates scare you off if you want to buy a home.
Many people feel as if they have been priced out of the market between the interest rates rising along with inflation and home values. Rob acknowledged that has been an issue for many, but he wants to encourage people to still investigate the possibility of homeownership before throwing in the towel.
Rob, and his team of realtors, like to think outside the box and help their clients who may be struggling to secure a mortgage. Sometimes people will try to arrange financing on their own before contacting a realtor to start the home search and give up when they are turned down.
Rob still wants to speak with those people because he has a network of companies that offer a variety of financing options that the homebuyers may not be aware of. He takes on a consultative approach to help people rather than turn them away. Rob and his team genuinely want to help put people in homes and help them fulfil their dream of home ownership.
Toward the end of the show, the focus was turned on the team of realtors that Robert and Colleen have built and are continuing to build. They are at 35 brokers and want to keep growing, but there is a lot more involved to building a team than simply adding realtors to the company roster.
Rob credits his ability to coach people and assess personalities. He then matches realtors to mentors that are aligned in terms of their temperament and communication style. Rob also has extensive training programs to offer realtors that join his brokerage. However, he is also very frank and open with newly licensed realtors on what they can expect as they begin their careers.
It is important for the realtors to be dedicated and put in the work, but they are never left on their own. If they run into situations or have questions at any point during the buying/selling process, they can get answers. Rob prides himself on having an open-door policy. He is not actively selling real estate enabling him to makes himself available to the realtors that work for him.
The corporate culture he has created enables his realtors to go from new to seasoned much quicker as compared to other firms. It is also a very positive place to work. Not only does this type of work environment help realtors be successful and close more deals, it makes them very adept at servicing their clients. The clients enjoy a high level of customer service based on the knowledge and abilities of the realtor.
Overall Rob’s assessment of what is happening in the real estate market on the Treasure Coast is very positive. It is still a seller’s market and will be that way for a while longer. Even though interest rates are going up, it is not predicted to go up that dramatically and it is still a good time to buy a home. If you are looking to buy or sell a home, Rob and his team will work very hard to help you make that possible.
If you are looking to start your real estate career or are an experienced realtor looking for a supportive agency, check out the Exit Right Realty website for all the details. To listen to the broadcast, click here for the podcast or you can watch it via Livestream here.