"Location, location, location" is the mantra of most real estate professionals. But Marie Jebavy puts her own spin on the adage: "It's 'location, price, condition' -- the three things I always sell on," said Jebavy, broker/owner of The Real Estate Consultants in Oceanside.
An agent since 1987, her first residential sale was in Oceanside, the coastal city she's lived in since 1995.
She's active in her community and profession, serving as 2014 president of the North San Diego County Association of Realtors.
When it comes to location and price, Jebavy is sold on her adopted hometown.
"Oceanside is always the most affordable in the county," she said.
"When the market slows or gets tight, Oceanside has the most sales compared to Carlsbad or Vista. It's people moving down from high-priced homes to lower-priced homes. They can find a bigger home here. They can find properties without homeowners associations here.
"We have some really nice senior communities," Jebavy said. "We have Ocean Hills, where I have a listing for $735,000 in a gated community with a golf course. Then we have Oceana, where I just closed for $240,000 on a two-bedroom, two-bath, 1,200-square-foot twin home. I have one has agent who sells manufactured homes in Laguna Vista, where prices range from $55,000 to $80,000. So there's a lot of variety here."
The region's homes are on the market 30 to 60 days depending on their condition, she said. 2014 started slowly for her office's 14 agents, but they had about 15 sales averaging between $300,000 and $400,000 by the third week of February.
Volume in 2013 was up 25 to 30 percent over 2012 and 2011, for total sales of $17 million. The office generally sells homes in the $200,000 to $800,000 price range, with Carlsbad and other beach areas at the top end.
Jebavy has no staff except her agents and her daughter, who works with her on managing about 85 properties. "That's what has saved me through the bad years," she said.
So has education, which she feels is vital for any career-minded agent. "Get more training. Learn, learn and learn some more," she advised.
"There are plenty of classes you can attend in person and online. If you say you can't find any classes, you've got your eyes closed. The more you learn, the more your clients respect you for the knowledge that you have."
Jebavy has another mantra, which appears on her business cards, emails and other marketing materials: "Your Real Estate Broker for Life." To fulfill it, she never forgets who keeps her in the industry.
"Most of my business comes from referrals," she said. "You build up a good referral network from your clients. You're going to get the best leads, because they already kind of like you. You're stepping in warm. I've built my business on that.
"When you do a good job for clients, they're very willing to recommend you to other people. They just forget to do it, so you have to gently remind them."