The Herald Bulletin

March 27, 2011

Looking for a normal year in real estate

By Lisa Allen
For The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. —  Jada Sparks of Carpenter Realty wants to get off the roller-coaster ride of 2010.

“I was not disappointed with 2010. There were a lot of highs and a lot of lows for everyone in the industry. Overall I was really happy with the number of houses I sold.”

She’s also glad there aren’t any federal housing credits this year. “I don’t think there were as many transactions created as people thought. It just changed the timing. It created a roller coaster. We’re looking for a normal year.”

Between “incredibly low” interest rates and prices, there are a lot of compelling reasons to buy a house, she said.

“Yes, the qualifying credit scores have gone up slightly and the criteria is slightly more strict, but that is appropriate,” she said.

Steady sales is her goal. On her voice mail message, she clearly outlines her hours: 8:30 to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

“I’ve been in the business for 11 years. After the third year, I decided to take control. I recognized that I had the right to have time off. People are very respectful of that.

“My daughter has gymnastics Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, so I’ll work then. They fill up fast, but I won’t add any more evenings. I have reasonable hours. There is no way to get away from working nights.”

Such restraint is a far cry from the time she had two full-time assistants and three buyers agents and sold 140 houses in a single year. Now she has one assistant, but still sells 70 houses a year.

“My business right now, I call it a sweet spot. I can do less personal promotion with the same results.”

As for 2011, “we’re just not giving up. I’m cautiously optimistic. One misconception that people think is it’s worse than it is. You can get a home sold. I encourage people that if they want to move, call a Realtor and find out the facts rather than make assumptions.

“It’s a wonderful time to move up. You might not get what you think you’ll get for the house you’re selling, but you’ll make that up when you’re buying.

“Consumer confidence is the key. That can make the positive shift,” Sparks said.