Dee: Denver's Top Realtor

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Dee, like Madonna or Cher, doesn't need to use her last name. She was last year's top Realtor in Denver.

Dee, like Madonna or Cher, doesn't need to use her last name. She was last year's top Realtor in Denver.

You don’t need to use Dee Chirafisi’s last name.

Like Cher or Madonna, if you say “Dee,“ everyone

in Denver residential real estate knows who you are talking about.

And for good reason.

She has consistently been one of the top brokers in the Denver area and last year, the broker and owner of Kentwood City Properties, sold more than $44 million in homes, making her the top broker in 2008 in arguably the toughest market on record.

Chirafisi, 49, recently answered some questions on the market and her career with Inside Real Estate News.

Question: Dee, you concentrate on the downtown and surrounding areas. Is that why you were able to post such a strong performance last year, when so many other real estate agents struggled?

Dee:  I do think that fact that I do concentrate on the central Denver area was helpful. This area did out perform other areas. Another reason I was able to excel is I am very diversified. I sell all types of properties:  Lofts, new construction historic homes, very contemporary homes mixed use etc.  I also work in all price ranges with both buyers and sellers. This way when one segment of the market takes a hit, I still have other segments to work with. I also work very hard and do not get pessimistic when the market is difficult.

Question: Do you find in tough times that buyer and sellers gravitate towards top brokers such as yourself? The reasoning being that in strong market, anyone can help me buy or sell my home, but in a tough market, why not use the best?

Answer:   I do believe this, John. In times like this you need someone with great knowledge and experience. You also need a professional that can keep up with daily changes in our industry. In a challenging market buyers and sellers do gravitate toward the top brokers. Another thing to note is that in a challenging market a lot of the part- time and less- professional brokers get out of the business because it is  hard work .

Question: Brokers are famous, or maybe infamous, for saying “Now is always a good time to buy.” But it certainly seems like with near record low interest rates, sellers willing to deal, and plenty of homes to choose from, now is a good time to buy. Why, then, do you think there are not more buyers out there? Is it because people are losing, or fearful of losing their jobs?

Answer:  I definitely sense fear and uncertainty with buyers right now.  However, if you find them something they really like or they see as a smart purchase they often put fear aside and go for it.

Question: Do you think people who don’t buy now, will be kicking themselves in a few years?

Answer:  ABSOLUTELY, (Dee’s emphasis) without a doubt.

Question: Denver seems poised to recover from the real estate slump faster than almost anyplace else in the U.S. Where do you think we are in the cycle and when do you think homeowners will start seeing solid appreciation?

Answer:   That is hard to say, John. But I do think we have hit bottom in some parts of town . We should start to see appreciation in early 2010…as I said earlier I am an optimist.

Question: In the upper-price range that you frequently deal with in downtown and other neighborhoods, are foreclosures a factor? If so, how?

Answer:  Foreclosures are rarely a factor. Sometimes builders that have built high end spec homes   and projects end up facing foreclosure and this has an impact

Question: Some people think that with so much real estate information available on the Internet, that real estate brokers are an anachronism and they’ll sort of go the way of travel agents. They’re still here, but not the force they once were. What do you think, Dee? And what will be the role of real estate brokers be in the future?

Answer:  Buying a house is a much more important decision that what flight to book or where to go on vacation. It is a very complicated process. I do not see our role changing much at all. But I do see it as a full time profession, only. I do not see many part time weekend Realtors in the future. There is just too much to keep up with and it is a hard job…Gone are the days of the weekend part- time broker

Question: Dee, what are the biggest changes you have seen in the market and in the role of an agent since you entered the market?

Answer:   I have been in the market for 17 years and the biggest change I have seen is technology. We used to use the old  thick phone book type of listing book and hand write contracts…Now I can not survive without my computer and  my Blackberry and my Web site.

Question: What advice would you give someone entering the real estate market as a broker?

Answer:  Take, it on as a full- time profession and take it seriously.

Thanks, Dee

My pleasure. Any time.

Contact John Rebchook at JRCHOOK@gmail.com or 303-945-6865

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John Rebchook

John Rebchook has more than 30 years of experience in writing and communications. As the Real Estate Editor for the Rocky Mountain News, he wrote about residential and commercial real estate for 26 years. He has won numerous awards for business stories and columns that he wrote, both as an individual and part of teams. In addition to real estate, he also covered economic development, banking and financing, the airlines, and cable TV for the Rocky. In addition, he was one of the original freelance writers for GlobeSt.com, covering commercial real estate for the Internet publication.

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