Realtor Still Selling, But Pace Slows

As the stock market plunges, Mystic Realtor Tom Switz walks across the lawn of a four-bedroom Taugwonk Road home and drops a “Sale Pending” placard into the top of the yellow “For Sale” sign.

”Psychologically, it's good for people to see that things are still selling,” he says.

A few minutes earlier, in his office, Switz has admitted that “the phones really stopped ringing” two weeks ago when the stock market began its plunge.

His firm's listings have dropped from an average of 45 to 25. The number of houses he's showing each week is about half that of last year and about 80 percent less than during the “feeding frenzy” of 2005.

“I've been doing this for so long I could see people were pushing the envelope too much. They kept adding 10 to 15 percent a year to their asking prices that was not there,” says Switz, who took over the firm from his father. “There had to be a correction. It couldn't keep going up forever because people can only make so much money.”

Still, Switz says he's had a “very solid year” selling homes and attributes some of that to having a loyal customer base. While the calls are down, he's still busy.

He spends the day on the phone, urging a seller to lower his price, asking another if he's willing to rent his home for the winter, and getting ready for closings. He will spend his weekend showing homes and holding an open house.

”Business is still being transacted. People still have to move for work, or their families are expanding. Today is a good time to be in the marketplace. You have sellers who are willing to negotiate and interest rates are low,” he says.

As Switz nears the end of his day, a former client calls and says his girlfriend wants to see two homes. Switz calls the brokers with the listings and sets up showings for the next afternoon.

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