By Steve Kilar, The Baltimore Sun
4:43 PM EST, February 15, 2013
As president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage's Greater Baltimore operations, Dean Cottrill has gotten to know the real estate markets of a great number of communities — from the heart of Baltimore to Ocean City.
"I'm all over the place and I love it," said Cottrill, who started his real estate career more than two decades ago, after a stint as an accountant. He worked as a sales agent for just over seven years before moving into management.
In 2007, Cottrill joined Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage as a regional vice president. Then, two years later, he was appointed president of the region that covers Central Maryland and the Delmarva Peninsula.
Cottrill recently gave The Baltimore Sun his recommendations for buying and selling in the Baltimore region, including what to look for in a real estate agent.
What appeals to you about managing more than two dozen sales and rental offices in Maryland and Delaware?
I'm fortunate to be able to say I love my job. When I began my real estate career, I wasn't sure where it would take me. Early on, I became the agent in the office people came to when they had questions or needed help. I enjoyed being the 'go to' person, if you will, which inspired me to pursue management. It is very rewarding to help sales professionals achieve their goals or help guide them to a level of success they never thought they could achieve. That inspires me. I'm very fortunate to work with the best sales professionals in our industry, and it's so gratifying to be able to make a difference in their lives. These factors motivate me to be the best I can be each and every day.
What's your 2013 forecast for the Baltimore-area home market? Are any communities going to be particularly hot?
I feel very optimistic about the Baltimore home market in 2013 due to the continued increase in activity we experienced in 2012. In 2012, we saw a 19 percent increase in units sold over 2011 and this trend has continued into 2013. We are also forecasting an increase in average sales price in the Greater Baltimore market. Consumer confidence is so important, as it ties directly to an increase in real estate activity. As buyers feel better about the economy, the more willing they are to make large purchases like a home.
As far as communities go, there are certain pockets in Baltimore City that are doing very well. We are seeing a lot of first-time buyers in that area, and first-time buyers are a growing percentage of the buyers currently looking to purchase a home. We are also seeing increased sales in the Ocean City/Bethany Beach market. As a secondary home market, it was one of the first areas impacted by the downturn, and one of the first to recover.
What's your advice for homeowners thinking of putting their home on the market?
According to the National Association of Realtors, roughly 90 percent of buyers are online, looking for their next home; therefore, buyers today are very well informed. My advice is to hire a real estate professional who understands this ever-changing market and is able to promote your home to as many potential buyers as possible. Your agent should be an adviser throughout the home-selling process and provide guidance and support to minimize potential issues while maximizing your return.
Here are some suggested questions to ask when interviewing real estate professionals: What is your Internet strategy to market my home and how many websites will my home be listed on? How many potential buyers come to see your listings online each day? What is your average days on market for your listings as well as your list price to sales price ratio? What percentage of your listings do you sell in less than 60 days? (Statistically, a seller will net more if their home sells in less than 60 days.)
And for potential buyers who are uncertain whether to sign a lease for another year or take the plunge and buy a home?
This is the time to buy a home. Right now, the current home values and interest rates are sitting near all-time lows, so I wouldn't wait.
What's on your wish list for your next home?
I really enjoy cooking, so I'd like to have a nice kitchen with an oversized counter to give me a little room to work. I'd also like to have a nice-sized family room, with a fireplace that can hold a big television. I'll need room to watch the Ravens win a couple more Super Bowls.
Title: President, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Greater Baltimore
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pa.
Current residence: Annapolis
Education: Indiana University of Pennsylvania, B.S. in accounting
Family: A daughter, Olivia, 16, and a son, Barrett, 12
Achievements: Past president, Anne Arundel Board of Realtors; Realtor of the Year for 2006, Anne Arundel Association of Realtors
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