Martin A. Uthe, Broker at @properties Christie’s International Real Estate, epitomizes this philosophy for his approach to real estate and his unrelenting passion for helping people. For him, selling real estate is not just about selling real estate; it’s a journey of turning dreams into reality.
What sets Martin apart is his keen ability to listen. By understanding the wants and needs of his clients, he transforms their aspirations into tangible results. This innate quality is what drew him into the real estate business and keeps him dedicated to it. It’s the joy of cultivating relationships, guiding clients through the intricacies of the market, and witnessing their satisfaction that fuels his enthusiasm for his work.
Just like relationships are the cornerstone of success, Martin excels at cultivating them. From the initial meeting to the closing, he takes pride in nurturing connections that go beyond the transaction. His commitment to a high-level
Concierge Service is an example of his understanding of the stress and challenges that come with buying or selling a property. For sellers, his Concierge Service is a lifeline, alleviating the pressures during what can be a difficult and stressful period. On the buyer’s side, he is a constant presence, offering support from the first meeting through the closing and well into the future.
In a world where buying or selling homes can feel kind of cold and business-like, Martin adds a personal touch, showing that it’s not just about the houses but the people involved. He’s not just a broker; he’s like a magic-maker in the world of real estate.
Journey of Service and Flexibility
Martin attended Northwestern University, majoring in Theatre, where he honed his skills in collaboration and leadership through roles as a director and stage manager. Additionally, he expanded his knowledge of the restaurant industry at the Culinary School of Kendall College in Evanston.
In his role as a restaurant manager for several years, Martin found joy in customer service, especially building relationships with regulars. Knowing them on a personal level, understanding their preferences, and creating memorable dining experiences were aspects he valued.
Despite the rewarding nature of the work, the demanding hours became a challenge. Seeking a career that allowed him to utilize his customer service expertise while offering more flexible hours, he turned to real estate. A conversation with a close friend led Martin to consider real estate as a path to achieving his career goals. Despite the unpredictability of the business, it provided him with the autonomy to set his own schedule, a stark contrast to the late-night hours spent in the restaurant industry. His transition from Theatre and culinary arts to real estate reflects his commitment to service and a desire for a more flexible and rewarding career path.
Building Dreams in Real Estate
Martin expresses, “I really like helping people, and one of the best ways of doing that is to help them sell or buy real estate. Listening to what they want and need and being able to transfer that into reality is what brought me into the business and makes me stay. Relationships are what matter in this business, and the ability to cultivate and nurture them from the first time that I meet a client to closing and beyond gives me the greatest joy.”
This philosophy is why his high-level Concierge Service is integral to his business. It eases the burden on sellers during a challenging and often stressful period. For buyers, Martin is a constant supporter from the initial meeting all the way from initiation to execution.
@properties Christie’s International Real Estate stands out for various reasons, with its distinctive culture being a key defining factor. This culture is characterized by love—love for the work undertaken and a genuine affection for each member of the team.
The collaborative spirit within the organization is noteworthy. The collective effort of the people at @properties Christie’s International Real Estate fosters an environment of shared goals and mutual support. A pivotal element contributing to this collaborative dynamic is technology, which plays a significant role in the operations at @properties.
The proprietary @Platform ™ empowers agents by providing tools to manage transactions, create content, handle customer relationships, engage in internal communication, deliver digital listing presentations, and generate real-time Comparative Market Analyses.
Additionally, the platform facilitates the creation and distribution of blog and social media posts, crafted and curated by the marketing department. This commitment to innovation ensures that the company adapts seamlessly to the progressive landscape of the real estate industry, making business operations more vigorous and efficient.
Approach to Real Estate Representation
Specializing in real estate transactions, he guides his clients through the entire process, from the initial meeting with a seller to the closing table. He goes above and beyond, assisting sellers in achieving their goals by providing hands-on support, whether it’s helping with packing, arranging cleaning crews, or handling junk removal.
The key to Martin’s approach is attentive listening and a deep understanding of his clients’ situations. Beyond the standard practice of listing properties in the MLS, he curates each listing to create a sense of home for prospective buyers, recognizing the importance of standing out in today’s savvy real estate market.
Martin employs a similar method as a buyer’s agent, prioritizing listening to the buyer’s needs and preferences.
By sitting down with buyers and thoroughly explaining the entire process, from contract details to expectations along the way, he ensures that they are well informed and prepared for the journey. As a member of Top Agent Network, Martin is able to advertise “Coming Soon” listings as well a provide buyers with upcoming listings in the private network.
Navigating Real Estate Trends
Martin holds the belief that the ongoing scarcity of inventory will persist into 2024, influenced in part by the impact of high-interest rates. Despite this challenge, he has been fortunate to attract cash buyers for his listings, offering substantial assistance.
However, the same high rates have presented obstacles for first-time homebuyers, particularly those without a 20% down payment. There is a silver lining: some lenders provide buy- down rates and offer relief in the initial year. The emergence of the mortgage buys down (2% the first year and 1% the second) allows sellers to offer credit to buyers along with lender credits has become a popular trend.
Martin believes that interest rates will start to decline as they have started to do already. The Federal Reserve has indicated a few more interest rate cuts assuming that inflation continues to cool. However, inflation continues to be an issue as food prices and other goods are still high.
These are difficult issues to resolve and in some cases are a hindrance to first time buyers. Hopefully with the advent of lower rates, inventory will open up. His observations provide light on the current trends and possible future changes to this constantly evolving real estate market.
In observing current real estate trends, Martin emphasizes the pivotal role of technology, asserting its continual influence. Platforms like Redfin, Zillow, and the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) have become go-to resources for consumers. With a wealth of information about property costs and neighbourhood details, clients often appear to be well-versed, sometimes even surpassing the agent’s knowledge.
AI, in particular, emerges as a transformative force, significantly impacting how real estate professionals operate. Many in the industry, including him, utilize AI to enhance their efficiency. For instance, generating a listing copy can be swiftly refined by inputting it into ChatGPT, resulting in customized tones such as light, airy, or warm.
However, Martin emphasizes the irreplaceable role of real estate agents. Beyond serving as a bridge between buyers and sellers, agents remain indispensable guides throughout the entire transaction process. From managing contracts and inspections to resolving issues and offering expert advice, the human touch is irreplaceable.
Embracing the Digital Wave
Technology has set trends in the real estate industry and will continue to do so. According to Martin, technology is now at the center of every step of the house-hunting process, including sending in earnest money and even presenting properties. Using WhatsApp to communicate with clients and the internal communication systems of the brokerage to connect with coworkers has grown in popularity.
Due to the pandemic, online property tours have become more popular, enabling purchasers to make purchases without having to visit the property in person. @properties is leading the way in technological innovation. This was very evident at this year’s @Expo-a full day of presentations and talks from industry leaders. Michael Golden and Thad Wong, the company’s co-founders, gave the keynote address along with experts in social media, AI, and hospitality. Over 1300 @properties agents from across the country attended this incredibly informative day.
Future of Real Estate Technology
When it comes to real estate technology, Martin sees a big step forward from where it is at the moment. While AI integration is important, he sees a refinement in virtual presentations that includes, among other things, music and automatically formatted videos. He envisions a more streamlined and comprehensive procedure, acknowledging that these components are currently in use.
He believes that in addition to improvements in the user experience, the agent experience will also receive more attention in the future. According to Martin, businesses such as @properties invest not only in technology but also in fostering an atmosphere that allows agents to flourish and make valuable contributions to the field of real estate technology.
As the sole proprietor, Martin employs his leadership skills to guide buyers and sellers through the intricate world of real estate. From initiating transactions to overseeing the entire process and extending support beyond the closing table, he takes on a multifaceted role in ensuring a smooth experience for his clients.
He actively champions his clients, whether collaborating with attorneys, mortgage brokers, or fellow agents. This involves not only addressing challenges as they arise but also proactively anticipating potential issues to streamline the process.
Acknowledging the significance of ongoing enhancement, Martin has formed an accountability committee. This monthly meeting provides participants with a forum to discuss successes and challenges in addition to providing an opportunity to delve into particular topics. By means of this endeavor, he cultivates an atmosphere of cooperation and education, thereby augmenting his capacity to offer insightful and efficient counsel in the constantly changing real estate domain.
A One-Person Powerhouse
Martin stressed that he doesn’t work in a traditional team environment but operates independently when explaining his methodology. Still, he views a number of experts as essential members of his team, including his lawyer, lender, contractor, painter, landscaper, floor refinisher, and handyman.
He actively participates in tasks like meeting contractors, choosing colours, applying his understanding of market trends, and supervising the entire process. He is hands-on in every aspect of listing management. He is also in charge of arranging vendor meetings and managing every facet of installations.
A Vision for Success
In his role as an agent with @Properties Christie’s International Real Estate, he envisions the company persistently innovating, expanding and maintaining its position as the foremost player in all of its markets.
As for his personal business aspirations, the vision is centered on incorporating more technology into the business operations, seeking continuous education through additional courses, and leveraging publications like this one alongside the 2024 Apple News’ Top 10 publication for further growth and knowledge enhancement.
Smart Moves in Real Estate Changes
In the world of buying and selling homes, Martin is making smart plans to keep up with the changes. He’s ready to learn new things like technology and adjust to possible changes to enhance efficiency and achieve significant outcomes. He wants to stay ahead in the game by keeping up his Top Tier Concierge Service and being part of USHUD Cooperative, which lets him be the go-to person in his area.
Remembering the tough times in 2008 when the housing market crashed, he didn’t give up. Instead, he worked harder on telling people about homes for sale. While other agents stopped trying, those who kept going found chances to succeed. Martin’s way of doing things might not be super new, but it works. He keeps sending letters and notes by hand.
Recently, he sold a home for over asking price because he kept in touch with the owner through letters. Sometimes, doing the simple things well can be a smart move, especially when not many people are doing them. So, his plans show how being smart and sticking to the basics can help him do well in the changing world of buying and selling homes.
Perspective on Innovation
He believes that innovation is essential to every industry, and the real estate sector is no different. He highlights how crucial it is to stay ahead of the curve in a time when buyers and sellers are well-versed in market trends.
Being ahead of the game, embracing new apps and investigating cutting-edge techniques for property marketing is necessary to live up to their expectations. Finding original methods to build a brand is crucial for real estate agents, whether it is through interesting vidoes, well- thought-out social media posts, or pieces such as this one. Martin understands that embracing innovation is essential to not only keeping up but also standing out in the ever- changing real estate market.
Resilience Amidst Challenges
Martin reflects, “I am proud of the fact that I have been in the real estate business for 25 years, surviving the downturns as well as enjoying the good years. 2008 was a very difficult time, and many left the business. I did not. Resilience and tenacity got me through the lean times and allowed me to market myself and my brand. Adversity allows one to reflect not only on one’s business but also on one’s life. I chose to move forward to survive.”
“Oddly enough, COVID-19 turned out to be a relatively good time for the real estate market. Initially, we all thought the sky was falling. However, as people were quarantined, they started looking at their surroundings and desired change. Recently, with high interest rates, business has slowed. This slowdown has given me the chance to reconnect with past clients, send handwritten notes, create high-quality mailers, team up with social media companies to enhance visibility, and have coffee with trusted vendors and contractors to learn more about them and their businesses. And, not to forget, laser-focusing on current clients and providing them with 7-star service,” he proudly states.
Persistence Pays Oﬀ
Martin received a referral from a client to list a high-end property. Despite challenges posed by the seller’s frequent travel and work commitments, he maintained consistent communication for approximately two years. Upon finally meeting, they discussed a strategic marketing plan, listed the property, and successfully closed the sale through the Private Listing Network, surpassing the asking price. This accomplishment is a source of pride for Martin, not only showcasing his unrelenting perseverance but also celebrating the exceptional outcome achieved.
A Guide for Agents
“This advice would be for agents in all markets: know the market well, be resilient, do not take rejection personally, learn all that you can, find a mentor or coach to help guide you, don’t be afraid to try diﬀerent strategies, use what works and discard what does not, and move on. It takes patience and perseverance; make it fun; enjoy yourself.”
Have confidence not only in yourself but also in the company with whom you are aﬃliated; don’t compare yourself to others; be collaborative; ask for help; love what you do; don’t be afraid to fail; make sure that you learn from your mistakes; and celebrate all victories, whether they are large or small, says Martin.
Legacy of Making a Diﬀerence
In reflecting on his career, Martin envisions a legacy defined by the positive impact he made in the lives of sellers and buyers. He aspires to be remembered as a person who gave of himself even when it did not benefit him. He further states, “The impact that I would like to have on the real estate industry would be all the relationships that I made not only with buyers and sellers but with colleagues, attorneys, and all those that I had the honour to meet and work with.”