Questions for a Pro: Candy Swick


Real estate broker Candy Swick. (Herald-Tribune archive)

Real estate broker Candy Swick.
(Herald-Tribune archive)

Candy Swick has been in real estate for 34 years. As the owner of Candy Swick and Co., she has weathered a number of market fluctuations by staying current and keeping her focus on the human aspects of the business. Correspondent Chris Angermann interviewed her at her office on Main Street in Sarasota.

Q: You have talked about the importance of staging in the past. Is it still necessary?

A: There is a perception among some sellers that, with a shortage of inventory, they don't have to, and still get their price. I tell them, "When I get home from work, I like to put on my worn, old slippers. To me they're comfortable and feel like home. But would anybody else want to buy them?"

Buyers still have choices. One of my recent clients, a CEO of a corporation that has moved to town, was going to overpay for a house because he needed it quickly. I told him, "You should rent for a year." As a Realtor, it's more work for me, but it's the right thing to do. We looked at about 50 homes. The house he ended up buying, the owners had done the right thing. It was immaculate; they had cleaned and painted it and done some upgrades. You might say their shiny slippers looked comfortable, and my buyer could see himself in them.

We also want to do what's right for the sellers. The other day, I talked to someone who had had his property on the market a while and didn't want to lower the asking price. He said, "There's nothing wrong with my home." I told him, "No, there isn't, but my job is to work with the buyers' perception of your home. They see your comfortable home. If they're going to make it theirs, they're going to invest a little more than the market might bear if they have to resell."

That's really important these days. There is that little voice in the back of buyers' minds that keeps saying to them, "If I pay X for this house and have to do this and that to it, will I be able to resell it without taking a loss?"

Q: How do you deal with a market that has low inventory right now?

A: The market is always going up and down, changing from a buyer's to a seller's market and back, from too much inventory to not enough, from bargain interest rates to the 18 percent we had in 1979. But people still need to buy and sell homes. So it's a matter of keeping perspective. It's still just an education of what will work well for you. People come to me for my counsel, my experience, my judgment. So I say to buyers, "You have a choice. Does it suit you and fit your needs at this point? Is it financially comfortable for you; does it make sense to you? Those things should govern your decision."

Q: What is the role of the Internet?

A: The personal connection still matters. Despite all the tweeting and texting, the human touch is important. I remember when there was such a fear among many Realtors that buyers wouldn't need them anymore! But someone has to interpret the information. I have had clients move here from out of state who had gone on the Internet. They knew they could buy the house they wanted for X dollars — it was perfect. Then, they found it was an hour's drive from work! So people still need a counselor, an expert; but they need to be able to trust you.

I had a wealthy client who came to town to buy two houses — one for himself and another for a friend who had helped him at a time when he'd fallen on hard times. Now, he was going to take care of him and his family for life. He was going to pay $2.5 million for his home and $750,000 for his friend's house. And he looked at me and asked, "Should I do that?"

And I said, "No."

"Why not?"

"Because it's a huge overinvestment; that's my opinion."

He said, "I'm going to do it anyway."

I told him, "That's good, because that's your decision. But why did you ask me?"

He said, "I wanted to see how honest you were. I know it's an overinvestment.'

Most people know the right answer in their gut, and they know when you tell it to them like it is and when you don't.

Q: What keeps you going after 34 years?

A: I was recently asked if I planned to retire soon. I said, "I am retired. Someone once told me, 'When you retire, you get to do what you want. I'm doing that now; therefore, I'm retired."

Last modified: July 5, 2013
All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be published without permissions. Links are encouraged.