Every week, we ask an Boston real estate professional for their thoughts on the top trends in Boston real estate.
This week, we talked with Eric Rollo, a sales and leasing associate with William Raveis Real Estate.
Boston Agent (BA): The FAA has begun issue exemptions to allow real estate professionals to use drones for commercial use – usually for new angles on video and pictures. What impact do you think drones are going to have on real estate, particularly in terms of marketing?
Eric Rollo (ER): Right now, any listings utilizing drones stand out because the quality of the video and stills is fantastic, and the concept is still so cutting-edge. From a marketing perspective, the use of drones can lead to truly sensational video and photos to really help agents stand apart from their competition and create that “buzz” everyone is looking for with a new listing. Perhaps more important, however, is the use of drones in urban environments to provide actual “views” from properties that don’t even exist yet, such as what Millennium Partners provides for prospective buyers at their Millennium Tower property in Downtown Boston.
BA: The city recently released a report saying that Boston was currently on track to meet 2030 affordability goals. Of course, it’s difficult to forecast the market so far ahead, but in the near future, do you expect affordability in the city to improve? Why or why not?
ER: I do, and I think we’re already seeing it. There are a number of new projects that look to be more affordable on the horizon. For example, Forecaster 121 in Bullfinch Triange near the TD Garden, which are rumored to be marketed with prices starting in the mid-$400s. Also, I think what is being proposed by the Boston Housing Authority for the Bunker Hill housing development is fantastic not only for that project, but in terms of the potential replication in other communities around Boston. Adding 1,100 units to that area will truly provide opportunities for affordable housing convenient to downtown Boston, and if similar projects are rolled out there is unlimited potential for transit-oriented projects all over the city.
From a market perspective, I think there has to be a point where seller’s realize the value they are living in and are more apt to “move up or move on.” I think within the next two or three years consumers are going to see an uptick in inventory that will lead to a slowdown in the rapid growth we have experienced in the past few years; however, with rising interest rates, I’m not sure how much more affordable the Boston market will be.
BA: Last year you were recognized as one of your company’s most “socially savvy” professionals. What lead to this designation? How do you stand out?
ER: I am constantly trying to push the boundaries in terms of what I am doing with social media. Through trainings and networking, I’m learning how others in different parts of the country are leveraging social media not only to push out information and establish oneself as a local expert, but to actually convert leads using platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I’m actually sitting down to write an offer with a buyer today who was organically acquired through Facebook just last week.
I was using paid Facebook advertising before many of my peers and now am trying to return to Facebook’s roots of social engagement through participation in groups to actually interact with potential buyers, sellers, or referral sources. I think what truly lead to this designation is that some people still look over and think I’m just killing time on Facebook, or that I’m just wasting valuable seconds by uploading a photo through Instagram, but I’m actually cultivating more business.