Portland Broker of the Week – Steve Kaer –
As technology creates new ways to do business, some industries still require a personal touch. Yes, tradition still counts for something in this newfangled digital age, especially in real estate. Because when it comes to buying or selling a house, relationships matter.
Studies show that people often buy an experience as much as they do a product. The same is true when it comes to finding a home. Even in this blossoming age of technological innovation, it isn’t easy to find the house of your dreams without human help. This is something Steve Kaer – of the Kaer Property Group – keeps at the front of his mind.
Building a Relationship
“When it gets right down to it,” he says, “building rapport is crucial to any relationship. We aren’t just transactional. We build relationships throughout every step of the process.”
Although building a connection is important, Kaer doesn’t discount new ways of generating leads and communicating with clients. “We do some work on Zillow,” he explains. “I have people on my team that are really good at that, so we do get our share of leads from some of the internet sources.”
Digital communication and internet use is what the millennial generation is all about. As this new group buys homes, it’s easy to assume that the old-fashioned way of doing business has gone the way of the pager. Not so, says Kaer. While some things have changed, he feels good old face-to-face contact is still necessary.
“The biggest difference with this generation is in the initial contact,” he says. “There’s a lot of texting and emailing. That being said, people still have to meet you and look at the house. So beyond the initial contact, building rapport is important no matter the age. And that’s what we do best.”
This is where Kaer pivots back to his bread-and-butter. He was building a business far before the internet and cellular phones. Experience has prepared him to both utilize, but not necessarily need, all the fancy digital tools available today.
“I’ve been in the business since 1979 and I’ve worked with hundreds and hundreds of people,” he says. “Virtually all of those people are in contact with us and that’s how we do most of our business.”
Building a business by referrals places a big reliance on word-of-mouth. Dealing with a purchase as large as a home requires great care. Ensuring satisfaction throughout every step of the process isn’t easy, but this is where Kaer puts his focus.
“A lot of agents are just in it for the dollar and then move on, but not us,” he says matter-of-factly. “The client comes first. We bend over backwards to take care of them, from the moment we initially speak to the day the moving van leaves. It’s the follow-through and follow-up that really separates us from other agents.”
Knowing the Market
Oregon was the number one relocation state in 2014. Being able to advise perspective homebuyers on the intricacies of the market takes someone who has more knowledge than a mere transplant.
“I was born and raised in Portland,” Kaer says proudly. “I grew up in southwest Portland and went to Lewis and Clark College.”
As a native Portlander, Kaer has seen Portland go through some big changes over the years. Although he is bullish on its growth, the massive influx of new residents doesn’t come without a few headaches. Can Portland’s small-town vibe survive the onslaught?
“Traffic is getting pretty bad out there,” he says immediately. He isn’t wrong. Although anyone living in Portland doesn’t need a study to tell them so, Rip City came in 10th place for worst in the nation traffic this year.
Kaer issues an even more dire warning as he continues. “Unless people living in – and moving to – Portland take advantage of the mass transit, it’s going to be just like Seattle.”
Thank goodness Portland hasn’t reached Seattle proportions… yet. At least the real estate market hasn’t. Kaer still believes there are plenty of affordable areas in the city ripe for the picking.
“I think the west side right now is completely undervalued,” he explains. “I would say close-in west side, anywhere on Barbur Boulevard.”
According to Kaer, Portland’s neighbors to the north won’t be immune from the growth, either. “When you look at where Portland is growing, I think we are seeing it in Clark County. It’s a huge portion of the market up there.”
With History in Mind
Knowing the market so well has meant weathering some particularly nasty storms. While the Great Recession took a terrible toll on real estate practices across the country, Kaer’s 36 years in the business helped prepare him for it.
“The 80’s were really tough,” he proclaims. “They made this last recession look like a cake walk. Interest rates were 18 percent! So I have a pretty good historical perspective on this.”
A historical perspective is what keeps the Kaer Property Group at the top of their game. They specialize in becoming intimately aware of a client’s needs and then engaging in constant follow-up to ensure satisfaction, even after the transaction has been completed.
If you’re looking for a real estate team that puts the relationship before the reward, give the Kaer Group Property Group a look. They can be reached by phone at 503.699.3980 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
William Bessette – PortlandMetroLive.com Contributor
BIO: William Bessette is a social media strategist, blogger and journalist. With over ten years of experience covering a wide range of topics, from entertainment and politics to technology and real estate, he specializes in writing in a variety of tones and styles.