Quick Glance: Marianne Pittard

RE/Max River & Sea, Gearhart office

Fiscal 2012: Ranked 19th out of Top 50 RE/Max agents in Oregon;

Fiscal 2012: Ranked 72nd out of Top 100 RE/Max agents in the Pacific Northwest;

RE/Max Hall of Fame Award for sales achievements;

Affiliated with the Assistance League of the Columbia Pacific, which raises money to help clothe needy school children in Clatsop County.

 

 

GEARHART — Reputation is everything for real estate broker Marianne Pittard, so she focuses on “concierge” service to her clients.

“I feel like I’m paid handsomely for what I do, and I feel in return they’re entitled to a higher level of customer service,” the RE/Max River & Sea broker said. “My husband’s on my team. He helps me with maintenance of the houses; he takes care of lock boxes and the keys and does house checks, and if the client needs something to go to the dump or their lawn mowed. We try to do everything we can to make it as stress-free as possible for the client. So he’s my secret weapon.”

She left Portland and a job as a national sales manager with Nabisco about 17 years ago to marry that secret weapon, named Jeff, and to return to the Oregon coast. She grew up in Seaside and has family in the area.

Once she was back in town, she tried a few occupations before finding one that combined her sales and marketing skills with her passion for real estate.

“I was always interested in architecture and what properties were on the market, so it was a very easy transition in this area,” she adds.

Independence

Even though each commission check gets nibbled away by self-employment taxes, brokerage contributions and other costs of doing business, Pittard prefers being on her own.

“I’d always worked independently. Even though I worked for a national company, I worked out of my home. I worked independent of an office, so straight commission sales is just something that was easy. Having worked in a home office, the motivation and independence and that kind of stuff comes natural.”

Her main focus is on her clients.

“For me, it’s about helping the people,” she said. “If I do a good job, the money takes care of itself. Not to negate the fact the money’s important; clearly it is. But my integrity’s not for sale over one transaction. It’s a small community, and your reputation is everything.”

Surviving the Downturn

Pittard said the subprime lending crisis of 2008 offered some valuable lessons: “Truly, 2008 was an awakening for me. It caught me off guard. I thought once you got to a certain level in the profession you stayed in that zone. It was a real eye-opener for me. But it was a blessing in disguise. It forced me to re-evaluate my business plan … and re-evaluate what was working, what wasn’t working, where my expenditures were out of alignment and where I needed to make adjustments. So in retrospect, I think I’m a much better business woman for having lived through it.”

The real estate market is moving the right direction, she said. There are more cash buyers, and there have been sales in price ranges that have had little activity in recent years, she added

Secondary homebuyers took to the bleachers during the downturn, and now they’re getting back in the game, she said.

These are all good signs.

Buyers & Sellers

Pittard deals with a cross-section of homes, everything from oceanfront properties to custom affordable homes. She finds some buyers have an unrealistic approach to the market.

“They’re looking for killer deals on killer deals,” she said. “Sometimes the perception is that they have to offer aggressively on houses that have been listed appropriately for the conditions of the marketplace, and sometimes it might take them losing one or two to come the position that some of them are inherently priced accurately for the market conditions and were already reflecting incredible value. They would be remiss in not trying to negotiate, but it doesn’t benefit any agent to have a home that isn’t realistically priced for this market conditions.”

However, sellers must be priced correctly, she emphasizes

“First it’s about price, second it’s a beauty contest,” she said. That’s not to downplay the condition of the property.

“Sellers never get a second opportunity to give a first impression.”

The Right Stuff

For anyone interested in becoming a broker, Pittard says attention to detail is a must.

“We have a tremendous amount of paperwork that needs to be processed at many different levels,” she said, “so attention to detail making sure that all of those documents are in orderly fashion is a must.”

Communication skills and the ability to negotiate are also must-haves for brokers, she added.

RE/Max agents must be open to using technology, she said. The company uses paperless files to speed things up.

Using an electronic document signing program also saves time, Pittard said, and time is money. The program she uses is endorsed by the National Association of Realtors and the Oregon Association of Realtors.

Home Sweet Home

Pittard enjoys life on the North Coast. Each little community has its own ambiance, she said.

“I’m really partial to Gearhart. I love this small town ambiance. The fact that we’ve curtailed community development — it’s still a really quaint, charming town where I think you’d feel safe letting kids ride bike to store,” she said.