Gordon Miles started the new year with a new job.
And Miles, recently named president of residential brokerage Prudential Americana Group, Realtors, already has big plans for his position. Miles is busy helping the company put finishing touches on technological advances, move into a 47,000-square-foot building in Seven Hills and work with lenders to find new buyer markets.
It won’t be the first time Miles has helped the brokerage grow. The 25-year real estate veteran will also keep the chief operating officer title he earned when he joined the company in 2007 to improve marketing, slash paperwork and guide the launch of continuing-education school Americana Academy.
Miles talked recently about what he sees in the year ahead for his company and the local real estate market.
Question: What kinds of operational tweaks are you planning for 2014? Any changes in commission structures or anything like that?
Answer: We have some big announcements coming up in the next few months. But the biggest thing that makes our model different is keeping our agents educated about the changing market. We’re in a whole different marketplace again, with Las Vegas going back more to traditional sales rather than foreclosures or short sales. We help our agents get on the right path. Someone who was a 100 percent REO (bank-owned sales) agent might have forgotten how to do traditional sales. We transition them into better opportunities to make more money. That’s what we’ve been really good at with our agents. Their average sale price is 20 percent higher than the (Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors’) average, and their per-person production is higher.
Question: If you could change one thing about how the brokerage operates, what would it be?
Answer: That’s an ongoing task with us. We strive constantly to be more green — the less paper the better. And everything is changing so quickly, especially with the mobile aspect. Everybody used to sit at home and search for homes on the Internet. Now, everyone is out looking with their iPhones and mobile devices. In the next few weeks, we’re rolling out a new website that has not only mobile-phone capabilities, but tablet capabilities as well. It adapts to whatever you’re looking with.
We have to respond to what clients need. With our texting and barcode-reading systems, people can text the number in front of the house and see all of the details right there. We’re only brokerage who offers that companywide, on every listing. We also have apps in app stores.
Question: What kind of year will it be for your agents saleswise?
Answer: We’re looking at a slight increase. But we include growth in agent numbers with that. We’ve had great success reaching out to small or medium-sized brokerages and having them join us. As the market gets tighter, it’s not financially as advantageous to be on your own as it is to join our model. We’re a brokerage within a brokerage. Everyone can set up teams inside our business, and it makes things more cost-effective for them.
Question: What’s the biggest potential threat to local housing sales in 2014?
Answer: A lot of the things we look at involve the stability of the government — what they’re doing, and the policies they put into place. The shutdown (in October) had an effect on everyone. Whenever you have that wishy-washy, unstable leadership, that comes across in the economy.
Jobs are an issue. If the state is recovering, we’re adding jobs and moving forward. That would have a positive effect.
The tax credit for short sales is a factor. We’re waiting to see what happens with that. Will taking away the advantages of a short sale have an effect on additional foreclosures? That could affect business as well.
Question: Millennials have been sitting out the housing recovery, either living at home or renting. Will that change in 2014?
Answer: The economy is improving, we’re still at historic lows with interest rates and we’re still low on housing prices. It’s an awesome opportunity for them to jump into the marketplace and still have an opportunity for appreciation. I think you will see that.
Also, with our lending partners, we’re focusing on people who were foreclosed on in the last three to four years, or who had a short sale in the last two years. We’re looking for them to get back in because they can. It’ll be another area of potential buyers, because we have such a huge pool of renters here.
We’re very positive on the Las Vegas market. There’s a lot of opportunity for growth here. It’s been a hard go for the last several years for all of us, but I think there’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel. We’re really proud of the way our Realtors and a lot of other Realtors have handled getting through this, and the opportunities they have ahead.
Contact reporter Jennifer Robison at firstname.lastname@example.org or @J_Robison1 on Twitter.