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Ahead of NOMAR symposium, local real estate experts say creativity and adaptability are crucial in today’s market.

8/20/23, 3:30 PM

“People are buying houses every day. While interest and insurance rates impede our process a little bit, people are still purchasing, albeit at an altered price point,” said Liz Tardo, a broker/owner and President of the New Orleans Metropolitan Association of REALTORS® (NOMAR).

“People are buying houses every day. While interest and insurance rates impede our process a little bit, people are still purchasing, albeit at an altered price point,” said Liz Tardo, a broker/owner and President of the New Orleans Metropolitan Association of REALTORS® (NOMAR). “I had buyers who were looking at homes up to $1 million and when they didn’t get the interest rate they wanted, they decided to use cash and changed their price point. They ended up buying a house right at $700,000. There are shifts in the market, but I still see closings all the time.”


Besides readjusting price points and financing methods, brokers, agents, sellers, and buyers are finding creative ways to meet their real estate needs. For example, Tardo estimated that eight out of 10 of her current transactions include roofing credits at the closing, in which sellers pay for roof repairs or replacements as a condition of the home sale.



During NOMAR’s 13th Annual Economic and Real Estate FORECAST Symposium on October 5, local experts in real estate, insurance, economics, banking, and finance will discuss this changing landscape under this year’s theme of “Adapting to Unpredictability.” Topics will include key indicators of change, underwriting, insurance and the environment, and the evolving development model. Tickets are available now at nolaforecast.org.


Bob Bergeron, principal in Crescent Title and the law firm of Bergeron, Douglass, Frosch, and Mack, said that in recent months, he’s also noticed an uptick in cash transactions, owner financing, and other creative methods to keep the real estate market moving. Many owners of investment properties are also pursuing 1031 tax-deferred exchanges, which can reap numerous short-and long-term benefits.

“This is an ability to sell an investment property, and rather than pay the tax immediately, you can take the tax liability and roll it into another property,” Bergeron explained. “If you have a property you bought 20 years ago and it’s not what you want anymore, you could sell that and roll the money into a new property rather than paying a capital gains tax. This keeps the real estate market robust. You have someone buying another piece of property, which employs a REALTOR®, title attorney, lender, insurance agent, and perhaps others. It stimulates the economy in that way.”


Mignon Richard Díaz, commercial sales and leasing agent for NAI Latter & Blum and chair of this year’s FORECAST Symposium, said that on the commercial side, she is also seeing buyers and sellers adapt to changing demands, such as retail spaces being configured to enhance pickup services and some companies requiring different types of office space for hybrid work environments.


“Creativity is king right now,” Díaz said. “I have landlords who are offering different concessions and incentives all the time. If we’re at a stalemate on the rental price, landlords may be willing to offer free rent for a certain time or tenant improvement dollars to get businesses into the space. Everyone feels that having a deal is better than no deal at all, and I think the ones who come up with creative solutions are the ones who are successful right now.”


The surge in creativity comes at a time when technology continues to change rapidly, meaning individuals in all aspects of the real estate industry must stay on top of new platforms, research tools, and more. Tardo noted that with agencies continually updating their websites with property details, photos, costs, and virtual tours, buyers today are more educated than ever and often know critical details about their possible future home before they set foot inside. In commercial real estate, Díaz said cell phone data provides information on how, when, and where people shop.

“When you know more about people’s commutes, where they buy, and how much time they spend in a place, you as an investor can be smarter with site selection,” Díaz said. “Real estate is a big investment, so the more tools that you can have in your toolbox from a technology standpoint, the better off you’ll be.”


Guy Williams, president of Gulf Coast Bank and Trust Company, said financial institutions are embracing new technology, such as online banking, virtual meetings with customers, and platforms that let them provide service from anywhere. Williams said the key is to make sure customers have the option of using those new tools to make life easier but also have in-person access to professionals.

“What we find is that customers want both. They want to be able to come in and deal with a real person, but they also want service 24 hours a day from anywhere,” Williams said. “We offer all of those things. We’re building new branches so people can go into a physical facility, but we also have all of the best electronic features.”


Even with remote communication and virtual meetings becoming commonplace, in-person events like the annual FORECAST Symposium are ideal for networking, learning about the latest industry trends, and connecting with other business leaders, which can lead to future opportunities for all involved.

“I think this is a really important year to attend the conference because customers are looking for real information. You want to be able to provide genuine, up-to-date, factual information. This year's conference is a wonderful opportunity to learn and prepare yourself to face the challenges in our current real estate market,” Williams said. “I strongly encourage people to attend and get good information in order to become encouraged and informed.”

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