Robert Hamzey is not about to let something like the economy or new federal mortgage rules stand in the way of his clients' desire to buy a home.
The owner of Distinctive Properties in Del Mar tells his 33 agents, "Mortgages keep getting harder and harder. So we have to keep getting smarter and smarter. You have to learn to live in your environment now, and then go after what you can based on you being smarter than the next guy.
"That's why I say to people, 'You bring what you need to me, and I'll find a way to do it for you.'"
A serial property entrepreneur, Hamzey bought Distinctive Properties in 2009 with a desire to focus on homes in Del Mar, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, La Jolla and other upper-end areas.
He sees the coastal region as a sort of "bubble" of economic stability.
"It's like when we hit our big slump in '09 and '10. Looking at our area, nobody would know that there's something going wrong in the United States," he said.
"The shops have tenants, people have shopping bags in their hands. The economy affected our property values, but more affluent people somehow find a way to hold on to their properties."
Robert Hamzey, owner of Distinctive Properties in Del Mar, says agents who succeed in 2014 will "have to be smarter and do a lot more handholding." Photo by Glenn Grant
With banks getting more selective on issuing mortgages, residential inventory will stay low in 2014, Hamzey predicted.
But he offers advice for agents who want to succeed in the year ahead: "The name of the game is to draw some of these people out who will not do something now because they're afraid their credit isn't great, they don't have the right down payment or whatever," he said.
"If you draw them out, we're going to have to be smarter and do a lot more handholding, because we're going to have to instill confidence in them.
"You need to say, 'Tell me which journey you want to go on, then don't be afraid. I will take your hand and we will finish this journey. We'll find a way to do it,'" Hamzey said.