Kirk Kessel, Top 1% of Realtors in the Nation
How many people do you know who, while still in high school, got permission for an off campus lunch hour so he could inspect the work his three landscaping crews were doing while he was in British Lit.? Or, who earned his pilot’s license before he could drive a car and planned to fast track into being an airline pilot at FIT, on the profits he made selling his own business? Or, who found college a little too boring compared to the intriguing world of real estate development, which he began to master before he was twenty-two? Now, in spite of the deep slide in the market from 2007 – 2011, Kirk Kessel seems to find a way to continue to stay on top of the industry, as he and his partner specialize in beachside and luxury real estate, remaining a top producer in Brevard County. I spoke with Kirk about 3 commonly asked questions…
How different is your market from last year at this time?
I feel there is more energy, activity and optimism. Last year there were less sales and the time on market time was much longer. Buyers were more aggressive last year and which made some sellers wait to list. Right now, properties priced at $1.3 million and under are moving in less than 30-45 days. Pricing is important, there are price points that move and price points that don’t. An overpriced listing will sit and although the property may get shown it will be used to convince a buyer to purchase a home priced correctly.
You’ve been focused on the luxury segment in this market for about 20 years do you see any similarities to past markets? What trends are you seeing?
This market reminds me of 2002 when the market was still down but starting to heat up. For example, in 2002 I was selling homes on Lansing Island and Riverside Drive Real Estate For Salebetween 1 – 1.5 million dollars. That was a good price for those properties – but I can feel things starting to turn around. I can’t say who or where but my partner and I have developers asking for our direction on large projects that will break ground in the near future….that is another sign that the market is starting to move.
Another trend I’m seeing is buyers are not seeking as large of home as they did in 2005 or 2006. Preferring quality over quantity, they are searching in the 4,000 to 6,000 square foot range as opposed to 8,000 – 9,000 in the past.
How are you adapting your business to the market conditions and opportunities?
I am more of a people person rather than a high tech person so I continue to operate on referrals, continuing relationships with past clients (many of whom are friends) and sometimes open house meetings. My clients know they will get personal, top notch service from me.
When listing properties, my partner and I employ a professional photographer who will create a HD video for presentation we integrate into hundreds of websites. It’s VERY expensive but that’s where we prefer spending our marketing dollars. I have spent copious amounts of money on print advertising in the past, it pleases sellers, but it’s just not effective today. My partner is the “high tech” guy and takes care of the Internet advertising, adwords, blogs, websites, SEO and other behind the scenes computer stuff to effectively promote our listings locally and internationally. We have a steady stream of qualified buyers coming in from our marketing, so I know what’s being integrated is effective.