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Board of Realtors looks for better 2009
Board of Realtors 1
Board of Realtors winners: From left, Lauren Rogers of RE/MAX Preferred Realty who earned the Rookie of the Year Award; Jack Conner, owner of Coldwell Banker - Tanner Realty received Realtor of the Year; Hazel Hendrix of Century 21 won Sales Associate of the Year. All are pictured with Todd Manack, far right. - photo by JAN MOORE/staff
      Last Thursday the Statesboro Board of Realtors held its annual awards dinner honoring local real estate professionals who had excelled in 2008.
       Winners included Lauren Rogers of RE/MAX Preferred Realty who was awarded the Rookie of the Year Award. Hazel Hendrix of Century 21 won Sales Associate of the Year, and Jack Conner, owner of Coldwell Banker - Tanner Realty received Realtor of the Year.
       In a year in which the national news headlines were dominated with stories of a crashing national real estate market and declining home prices with few home buyers to be found, one may wonder just how "cheery" this affair actually was.
       I found this gathering to be exactly as I thought it would be - optimistic. With a tongue-in-cheek theme of "Survivor", local real estate professionals gathered to swap war stories and encourage each other to "hang in there" as better times are surely down the road.
       "We had so many great years in this market in which so many did well," Conner said. "I think we have to keep in perspective that the amount of business that we are doing now is very similar to the amount of activity just a few short years ago. We need to keep that in perspective, and realize that Statesboro is still a very solid real estate market, particularly compared to others."
       Hendrix agreed with Conner displaying optimism about a possible turn around in the making.
       "This month I have had three closings which is busier than I have been in a long time," she said. "It was three different types of buyers from newlyweds to a couple moving into a bigger home. You know, this really has given me hope that the market may be settling at least and possibly getting better."
       In 2007, there were 822 single family residences that sold in Bulloch County. In 2008, that number dropped to 506 resulting in a lean year for many local agents.
       Hendrix, a perennial local performer, said that real estate is still a very good and rewarding career, it's just that anyone entering it has to realize that they are running their own business, and that requires money, patience, endurance, and an education.
       "Being a real estate agent requires an investment on so many levels from time to money," she said. "I have been in this business for 15 years now, and I am using the knowledge that I gained 15 years ago today. You learn about people and their wants and needs and, hopefully you work with them over the years. That is the kind of patience that you need to have. It can be very rewarding in both the good and bad times."
       Rogers said most people thought she was crazy when she became a real estate agent last year.
       "I told everyone that this is what I wanted to do, and I know they think that I have lost my mind," Rogers said. "It has been tough to make a living, but I really want to stay in this business if I can. I plan to stick it out, because I have been told that if I can make it work now, I will have the tools to carve out a career."