Serious seller: Real estate is serious, just ask Dave Kimbrough
Selling real estate isn’t a sideline job, a retirement gig or just some part-time thing.
To Dave Kimbrough, it’s serious business.
The 42-year-old returned to the Grand Valley in the late 1990s — he lived here when he was a kid until the 1980s oil shale bust — to find a booming real estate market.
Giving up a job as a successful pharmaceuticals salesman, Kimbrough naturally wanted to stay in sales.
“I got into the business 10 years ago and I quickly realized it’s a profession made up of people who don’t really do it all that seriously,” Kimbrough said. “So for me, I was 32 years old starting a new career. I had to treat it like a new profession. So, from Day One, we treated it like a business. It’s taken off.”
Over that time, Kimbrough has become well known in the local real estate business as one of the most successful, including managing to do business — and, more importantly, stay in business — during the recent recession and housing bust.
To help him do that, the University of Alabama graduate hand-picked his team, which includes several family members.
His sister, Jan Kimbrough-Miller, headlines his buyers’ group; his father, Glen Kimbrough, is a part-time worker who puts together his yard signs and fliers; and his wife, Nancy, handles the bookkeeping and takes care of their 8-year-old twins, Jake and Emma.
The rest of the team includes Rowena Boroughs and Danny Kuta, who work with Kimbrough-Miller as buyer’s agents.
The glue that keep them all together, of course, is staff assistant Toni Ratliff.
“I do all the behind-the-scene stuff for them so that they are able to be out there selling more properties and doing what they need to do for their buyers and sellers,” Ratliff said. “We have systems in place that allow us to keep the lines of communication open, the accessibility to (the team) open. The team rolls with the punches. They don’t let anything get them down. They don’t let a down market get them down. They always listen to what the market is telling them.”
Kimbrough said while it may seem to be an easy task to find co-workers who understand his approach to selling real estate, it really isn’t.
Many don’t quite understand that real estate is a real profession, he said.
“The hardest part of our team has been our growth just because we have to find like-minded individuals who see the way we do things is how to do it,” Kimbrough said. “Virtually everything we do is different than a traditional real estate agent. It’s not like day and night, but it’s enough of a difference if you’ve been indoctrinated in the business, you’re not going to be very open to it.”
Kimbrough says his team does that, in part, by asking a specific and lengthy set of questions of buyers about what it is they are looking for. Doing so allows them to differentiate the serious buyers from the lookie-loos.
It also allows the team to be far more successful in finding the right home for those buyers, making them more likely to refer the team to other serious buyers.
But Kimbrough doesn’t stop there.
He advertises on radio, television and newspapers, and even does a weekly call-in radio show on KNZZ 1100-AM radio. And he keeps it up in good economies and bad.
Home sales in 2008, 2009 and 2010 weren’t good, to be sure, Kimbrough said. But his people were still selling.
“When the times were easy, we slammed it because we treat it like a business,” he said. “But the money and the effort that we put into the business when times were good, when we could have just laid back and taken it easy, those things paid off. That momentum we had going into the (housing) fall kept us going through the fall.”
Now, Kimbrough expects that the housing market has finally bottomed out, and prices are starting to rise, however slowly.
He said the average selling price last year only increased by about 2 percent. While that may not sound so good, particularly to those people wanting to sell, it was significant.
What Kimbrough’s awaiting now is for those prices to rise, which will spur people who weren’t forced to sell because of the bad economy into the market.
“So right now we really have a housing shortage, one, because there’s no new construction that’s being built or any land that’s being developed, and, two, the people who are sitting out there, they don’t have to sell,” he said. “Until prices come up, I think a lot of people won’t sell. Demand’s pretty good, it’s not off the charts, but I think we’ll start seeing prices increase this year, maybe 5, 6 percent.”
As a result, Kimbrough is expecting a good year.
“You know, 2010 was a tough a year, 2011 was a much better year, and 2012 was almost a record year,” he said. “And 2013 will be a record, I just know it. Mark my words and come back and talk to me in January.”