In this episode, Carlos talks with Cristina, Jeanie, and Sebastian, from the Audrey Ross team, a top luxury real estate firm in South Florida. Sales volume has exceeded $200 million in a given year and has run as high as 63 million in a given week. The team uses True North, an exclusive program for Compass teams created by IDXBoost, to feed a team of more than 15 agents with high-quality Real Estate Leads Online on a daily basis. True North has transformed the way The Audrey Ross team operates its business since it fully adapted to the latest technologies.
- With over 10 years of sales experience in the Florida market, Sebastian Garcia is a well-respected real estate professional with Compass. He has extensive experience traveling abroad, representing a nationally recognized Fortune 500 real estate sales and construction company.
- As someone with years of entrepreneurial experience establishing companies and successfully leading them from a technology standpoint, Jeanie Vidaurreta has a diverse, high-level network that she brings with her into her field.
- Cristina Cipolletti is a multicultural marketing and advertising professional with a solid track record in elevating big brands to the next level. She has worked in Europe and the US and has maintained a fierce interest in real estate during her work on both sides of the pond.
Video full transcription
Carlos: Hi! Welcome to another episode of the Pipeline. I’m very excited today because I have the Audrey Ross team miamirealestate.com visiting us today. Featuring the real deal, as the top brokers’ team, in 2022, selling over two hundred million dollars in the past year alone. I’d like to welcome you all. Hi Cristina, hi Jeanie, and Sebastian.
For the viewers, I always like to ask, how do you join real estate? What made you come into the real estate industry and what is your current story? Maybe you can tell us a little bit about that.
Sebastian: I’m the fourth generation in my family, it dates back to my great-grandfather. I didn’t go into real estate right away, I was in the hotel business and I naturally progressed in that direction. Building, construction, and sales have always been a passion of mine. I decided that at the end of the day, this is something that adds purpose to my life. I’m able to help, especially coming from an immigrant family who immigrated here to the US many years ago, I’m able to help many families achieve the goal of home ownership, which is one of the pillars of the American dream. So I started back in 2013 working for a national developer and went to graduate school, got a really good understanding of brokerage, and transitioned into Compass and Audrey Ross team last year.
Carlos: How has it been?
Sebastian: It’s been great. There’s a wealth of resources in the team. Being 15 agents, it really is amazing, everyone has a different point of view, and they bring different kinds of experiences, and outlooks on things. It really is a great environment.
Carlos: Jeanie, what about you? What brought you to real estate and the Audrey Ross team?
Jeanie: I would like to say I went straight to the top in real estate. I have been doing it for about five and a half years and I started with the Audrey Ross team. My background is more in business, in technology, I’ve been in some entrepreneurial ventures, and then my husband and I have owned and sold properties in Miami Beach. It was a natural thing, I got my license, and connected with Audrey, and the rest is history.
Carlos: What about you Cristina?
Cristina: Well, I’m just like Jeanie. I started in real estate in 2018, but I have always been in marketing, international business, advertising, and sales. I’ve lived in Europe and the United States so I have a very multicultural background. I started with Audrey Ross’s team, and I think is the best training. There’s nothing better out there, from day 1 I just felt so fortunate to be in this industry, in this team. No day goes by that’s not exciting and thrilling. I’ve always loved Miami, I fell in love with it when I came here as an exchange student. I’m so happy to be able to sell this city! It’s a dream come true.
Carlos: The Audrey Ross team on miamirealestate.com has been a powerful house in the real estate industry, in South Florida’s luxury market for the past 35 years. How do agents like yourselves handle this market in 2023? I know that each of you has a different area. I would like to hear more about your markets individually and your experience generating buyers and sellers.
Sebastian: Sure. Ever since COVID, it’s been quite a rollercoaster, to say the least. When the market took off. you wouldn’t even have to put a sign in the front yard, and the property was already sold. You would get 10, or 15 offers. It seemed like no price was too much. It was something else. I’ve been in this business for 30, or 40 years, like Audrey. I’ve talked to people and no one has ever seen anything like that. I think that whenever there’s a shift in the market, you really have to go back to the basics, to what’s selling, price per square foot, spending money in marketing, the money that we saved the last few years, and position yourself well. When the market shifts, a lot of agents will get out of the business, so it’s an opportunity for our team to spend a little bit more money on marketing and capture more market share. I live in the High Pines area, between South Miami and Coral Gables. I’ve been there 7 years, I grew up about a mile and a half away in South Gables. Actually, a fun fact, Audrey sold my parents’ home in 1993! So I’ve known Audrey for a very long time and I couldn’t imagine working for anyone else.
Carlos: What can you tell us about that particular area? What is your forecast for the next years? How do you see the real estate moving in that community?
Sebastian: High Pines is an area that had a lot of older homes that have been knocked down and rebuilt. I see the price per square foot definitely going up, prices continuing to appreciate, as demand continues.
Carlos: Who will be the perfect buyer for that area?
Sebastian: A young family. It’s an area where a lot of families have dogs and young kids. One of the things that attracted me to live there is that people walk around with strollers, small children, and their dogs. It’s very much a tight-knit community.
Carlos: I think that one of the main factors that you were mentioning is that you have to spend money to make money. Jeanie, which are some of the tools the team uses to generate new buyers and sellers in the market? How do you see your community behaving in 2023?
Jeanie: Good question. I cover Miami Beach. I have lived there for over 30 years, and I know it well. As Sebastian said, this is the time to double down on your spending. This is the time to really get out in your community, and keep up with your mailers. I personally try to do it every 6 weeks or so, to get out to my community. In Miami Beach, it’s all about location, location, location. People all over the world are just drawn to Miami Beach for the beaches, the restaurant, the spas, you name it. It’s a very diverse community. There’s a very strong local year-round community that exists. We care about the parks, the water quality, and the schools, that’s my piece of Miami Beach. But your question was really about how we get new clients.
I get clients from my neighborhood, my friends, and my relatives, but also from my website! We have a killer website.
Carlos: So we’re very inclined to the digital, we like to say that over 90% of real estate transactions start by browsing on a mobile or desktop device. So if you’re a real estate agent and you’re not putting yourself out there to engage with new prospects that are looking in your market, then you’re missing out on a big opportunity. How does that work for you?
Jeanie: Great! Our website name is miamirealestate.com. Everyone is savvy enough now to know that organically when people from all over the world look for real estate in Miami, they type “miamirealestate.com”, and we get a lot of that traffic, of course with additional ads, keywords, and all that. But once they get there, we try to capture them.
Carlos: A hundred percent. And I think that one of the things that Audrey Ross and the team does amazingly is understand the long-term goals of a real estate business. She understands the need to have the combination of Google Ads, plus SEO, to help her website run organically through the years as a resource for the community. Thank you so much for that. What about you, Cristina? How do you see your community behaving right now? What is your experience with attracting new buyers and sellers? How do generate new traffic in today’s market?
Cristina: My farm is Pinecrest, but also goes south to Homestead and the Keys. I go all the way down, I love that area, I love the ocean. Pinecrest in particular in a suburban neighborhood is very upscale, you have big homes on large acre lots, and the typical client is a big family. There are great public and private schools around. There’s a lot of redevelopment just like in High Pines, there were older homes that are being redeveloped now, and you see much bigger homes. The greener is getting smaller and the homes are getting bigger. It’s a great community, there’s the Pinecrest community center, where people get together, and the farmer’s market on the weekend. It’s always an active market. Prices have almost doubled since the pandemic. Everyone wants to have big lots, looking for space.
Carlos: As an interviewer now, I would like to know the experience a client expects once they get to meet the Audrey Ross team. What are some of the things that they can expect when they interact with such a powerful brand as yours?
Cristina: I have an example. Obviously, as Jeanie said, miamirealestate.com is the greatest website you could have in Miami. I got a lead, it was an international buyer, and I knew it was serious because he requested specific information on properties. What you have to do in that case is immediately reach out, which is what I did. I reached out, we had a buyer consultation, I understood what they were looking for, and I immediately followed up with a collection of properties, scheduled another meeting a week later to discuss it, fine-tune it, and then I knew they were coming for the Grand Prix, so I set up a tour of properties. They only had 4 days and they said “we want to have a property, we want to buy a property”.
Carlos: How long was it since they came to the website until you show the properties?
Cristina: Two months, and three days of showings. They wanted a waterfront property and a single-family home. They really felt they wanted a single-family home in Coral Gables on the water. Immediately as we started touring I realized we needed to pivot because they said: where’s the open water? In Coral Gables, there are a lot of canals, but there wasn’t really open water, and there weren’t any properties available directly in Biscayne Bay. I told them “let’s go to the beach”, and started looking for single-family homes on the beach, and they immediately loved the water. We started talking about a condo since it’s not their primary residence. They were very open to it. We looked at great condos. The last one was Acqualina, I have to say that everyone was just blown away. The hospitality of Acqualina is unparalleled. Is a project in Sunny Isles, Florida. Is not yet quite finished, we’re waiting for the TCO (Temporary Certificate of Occupancy), but the project is incredible.
Carlos: I’m just curious, what was the price for that transaction?
Cristina: 11.5 million.
Carlos: Even though we want everybody to know about that, we also believe that is important to do what you just did, which is pay attention to the needs of your clients, and understand that they may not be qualified to live in Pinecrest, so that wasn’t their preferred market.
Cristina: You have to really listen to them. Especially with clients like that that you don’t really know, it’s a lot of asking questions, and trying to listen to what it is that they are looking for, they’re not as familiar with Miami, so you really have to show them around.
Carlos: Helping them understand their needs. Thank you so much for sharing that story. Jeanie, I believe you also have experience with several transactions with internal leads.
Jeanie: Yes, actually I do, it’s not the same dollar volume. This is a great story, this is one about a couple who connected with me through our website, over 2 years ago. We communicated back and forth only for a month or 6 weeks. I picked up ideas for them, they came to town, I showed them 4 properties, they picked one, and they bought it. It was a 350-thousand-dollar condo in Miami Beach, they immediately wanted to rent it. We bought it with the renter. As soon as that tenant left, got them another renter, so now I actually had 3 rental transactions from this one purchase, and they’re now looking for another home for themselves to move down. So that’s an example of they’ve found me on the website, we connected personally, and now they really become clients and friends.
Carlos: Thank you so much for that, for sharing both of those stories. I have a question about what’s coming, what’s the forecast for 2023 in miamirealestate.com, what are the things that are coming? If there’s anything that you want to let everybody know what would that be?
Sebastian: I have this conversation almost daily. Especially whenever there’s quote-unquote turbulence or, as you know, the news is very doom and gloom. Unfortunately, people crave negativity. I don’t know why, I don’t get it. I always say to people “look, shut off the news”. Is one of those things that if you don’t watch the news you’re uninformed. If you watch too much news you’re misinformed. At some point, because you’re getting fed with negativity, you really have to get away from that. You really have to look at what’s reality. I really think that when we were having like Cristina was saying, some of these homes doubled in value, we were having price appreciations of 25%, 30% year over year. It’s not sustainable. When you put into contacts and say “price appreciation normally is anywhere between three to 5% a year”, we have to go back to somewhat of a stable market. We were experiencing very high inflation, inflation we hadn’t seen in three, or four decades. The only way you could really curb that inflation is by raising rates, which kind of slowed down the market a bit. So I think Miami is the closest city to the United States because we’re a very global economy here at the end of the day. We still have people coming from all around the world for different reasons, be it political, be it a tax, be it weather, or whatever it is. Miami’s still very much in demand, so people will keep coming. I really think prices will just appreciate at a slower pace, but we are poised to have a very strong 2023.
Cristina: And to add to that, real estate is hyperlocal and if you listen to the news, to the national news, it almost does not apply. I think we as a team are extremely busy. We are signing listing agreements, we’re signing purchase contracts, especially this January, it has been extremely busy. So the news are also always delayed. It’s been a very active month. We are very fortunate, but we are really attacking the market from all angles. We door-knock, we do social media, we do digital marketing, we do it all. Luckily also the dollar has depreciated so the international buyers back because they’ve been on hold for a bit, the dollar was too strong, but they’re back now. I see 2023 as the best year yet.
Sebastian: And to that point, when you talk about how we’ve been really busy as a team, I think in a shifting market, that’s one of the advantages that the Audrey Ross team has. Compared with many other brokerages or teams out there is that experience that we bring to the table, we’ve seen so many different types of markets, that we’re able to guide our clients successfully through every single real estate transaction because of that value proposition that we bring to the table. The experience we have and one of the things that Audrey really touches on are the relationships. We are not in the real estate business. We’re in the relationship business. Having those strong relationships, not only with our clients but also within the brokerage community. Other agents know that when they’re gonna do a transaction with our team, it’s gonna get done.
And it’s our team as well. And within our team as well, we’re big on collaboration.
Cristina: Collaborate without ego. Right?
Carlos: A hundred percent. I believe that by providing value without ego and by implementing things properly you can achieve amazing results, especially in real estate as you said, the goal is to create that relationship. The goal is to create that brand awareness where your new clients can understand and trust what you do, and you can help them go from the search for the home to the transaction, the realization of that dream, and beyond. A lot of our viewers are real estate professionals, they’re agents, they have groups, and they’re developers. We have a large audience across the nation. The next question is for somebody that is starting in the industry. If you were a real estate professional starting today, what would you do to grow your real estate business?
Jeanie: What I would do is focus on training and honestly get on a team. I think that the whole team concept is great. It’s really taken off in the last three or four years. Audrey was a little ahead of that because she’s had a large team for some time and it really pays off. Like these guys were saying, there are a lot of synergies. You collaborate, and you can really share wants and needs. Like one person has a buyer looking for something, somebody else has a seller on the fence. We do a lot of off-market transactions, just that way. So that would be my two things. Focus on your training, and really know your stuff when it comes to technology. Secondly, get on a team. And third, know your market. That’s really the most important thing. So you can speak well.
Cristina: And fourth, let the world know what you do. You have to have a social media presence in my opinion, and that has been very big for me. It takes time, it takes effort to plan ahead and work out your marketing strategy, but it will pay off.
Carlos: If you have a strategy, you have content, you have social media, you have a well-planned strategy, I’m a hundred percent convinced that you’re set to great things.
Jeanie: You know, and speaking of social media, that is something that we as a team, are gonna really be focusing on this year. I mean, we always do, but we wanna do a better job with video, we wanna do better keeping good content on their podcast.
Carlos: Well, the doors are always open. I hope this is the first one of many and you’re always invited to come back. I hope we can have a second chance to meet again. Yeah. Um, I appreciate the time that you’ve taken to join us today. And again, thank you so much for being part of this podcast and the Audrey Ross team. For those of you who are watching, you can find this amazing team at miamirealestate.com, the Audrey Ross team in Miami, Florida. And again, thank you so much for taking the time on being here today.