What began with fun weekend visits to open houses is now a fulfilling career for Mary Douglass. She has become a successful and knowledgeable real estate agent, assisting Fort Wayne area residents seeking an easy selling process or wanting to buy the home of their dreams.
"I like to say I tiptoed into Real Estate, as I referred to myself as an 'Open House Junkie,'" says Douglass. "On Sundays, for as long as I can remember, I would scour the Real Estate section of the Sunday paper, and choose which homes I was going to see later that day. It was my curiosity, along with my desire to learn the market, which kept me going out week after week." Douglass feels strongly about her work and about satisfying her clients. "My passion is people who recognize honesty and integrity, thus choosing to work with me for their real estate needs," says Douglass.
Buying or selling a home can be a complicated process. Douglass works closely with her clients, guiding them through each step and providing them with all of the information so that they can make informed decisions. "A key issue in my business is education," she says. "I never assume a client doesn’t need to know the details, even if it’s something I can take care of without their involvement," she says. "It is very important for buyers and sellers to know everything you are doing in their best interest, regardless of how insignificant it may seem. Therefore, I will stay in continual contact via telephone or email at every step of the transaction."
The current low interest rates have created a strong market for those seeking to buy a home. When choosing an agent, buyers are looking for one with an understanding of the field and experience with the current market. Douglass considers herself strong in both those areas.
"Buyers who work with me get not only a knowledgeable professional, but someone backed by a company [RE/MAX Results] with experience and the most innovative services in the business," says Douglass. "I know how to help buyers take advantage of some of the potential financial benefits available only to first-time homebuyers. As someone who’s gone to school lived and raised a family in this community, I take pride in helping people find their first home."
One way that Douglass helps buyers to find a home is to have a keen understanding of what they are looking for. "People have a very clear picture in their mind of the home they wish to purchase," says Douglass.
"One of the best ways I have been successful in making this picture a reality is by asking them to describe their desired home to me. I ask them. 'What do you see when you walk in the front door?,' or 'When you are at the kitchen sink, tell me where the table is,' or 'Describe your view from the couch as you are watching TV.' It's amazing how enlightening this exercise is for both of us."
When assisting clients with selling a home, she uses the tools available in the real estate business to help sellers achieve their goals. "As a listing agent for a seller, my number one priority is setting a fair market value for their home, based on a Comparative Market Analysis, or 'CMA,' says Douglass. "With this analysis, homeowners are able to determine a realistic asking price by comparing their home to others with similar features in the surrounding neighborhood."
After determining a listing price, Douglass then uses several marketing techniques to advertise the home. In addition to newspaper advertising, signs, web sites, and open houses, she employs the Multiple Listing Services (MLS). "It is Internet-based, and therefore current and accessible 24/7," says Douglass. Additional marketing tools include Reverse Prospecting, which involves alerting agents that she has a home listed matching their criteria for one of their clients, and mailing "Just Listed" postcards encouraging the seller's neighbors to tell anyone they may know who's interested in living in their neighborhood that a home has become available.
Douglass offers many products and services without cost or obligation as her way to reach out to new clients and to provide them with information. Douglass says, "So many times, people want information, and are afraid to ask for fear you'll keep bugging them. Doing what I say I'm going to do serves as a reflection of my integrity. Respect and trust have to be earned, and I'm confident that being true to my word has been the basis for my success."
Above everything else, Douglass focuses on the needs of her clients. "The most important part of my job is to represent my client's best interest," says Douglass. "I do this by keeping abreast of the latest market trends along with attending continuing education classes any and every opportunity I have."
8101 Coldwater Rd.
Fort Wayne, IN 46825