Anthony R. Godwin is the president and principal broker of Today’s Realty which he established in 1998.
In 1984 Godwin helped found Computerland of Guam which he sold to Jones & Guerrero Co. in 1989. In 1990 he began his real-estate career with Century 21 Commonwealth Realty.
He has won a number of realty awards and was president of the Guam Association of Realtors from 2001 to 2005.
Q. In 1990 you became a real estate agent after the sale of Computerland. What attracted you to real estate as a career?
A. Several of my friends and family members suggested that I might "try" real estate. So I did.
Q. You have a technology background as a result of your former employment. Has that helped you in the real estate business? If so how?
A. Yes. When I first became involved with real estate I was surprised at where the industry was as far as technology was concerned. We were attending weekly meetings where we were being provided with a disk so that we could update the lone computer in the office with listing information. We would all search for information on that computer or purchase printed listings and comparable books.
One of the first goals I had when I became involved with the Guam Association of Realtors was to enhance our services to the public through our membership by upgrading our technology platform to industry-standard applications. We had a solution in place but it was frozen in time. The solution that we came up with for our association is still in use today by more than 400 Realtors on Guam and tens of thousands of visitors to our company’s public Web site – www.guamhome.com. All of our company systems are automated. This automation allows our people to spend more time with our clients and customers.
Q. Real estate agents advertise a lot. What marketing strategies have you found most effective? Anything that really bombed?
A. Our marketing strategies change with the times. A good majority of our clients and customers are Internet savvy so our marketing solutions incorporate our Web presence. Anything that really bombed? Hmmm not yet.
Q. From an agent’s perspective how different is it to handle residential vs. commercial vs. land sales?
A. There is a general body of knowledge that is required to handle any type of real estate transaction. The knowledge base is expanded to include the unique requirements of specialized sales.
On a commercial sale it’s important to understand how income is produced on a property. We have to understand how expenses and income relate because that’s what the client is looking at. The same is true for residential sales when the buyer plans to rent out the property. Their question is ‘"Will it generate cash?"
Home sales are all about emotion. Buyers are more likely to say "I love this" or "I love that." Then comes the financing.
Q. What have you found to be the most common misperception about the real estate business?
A. That the business is easy. Actually it’s probably one of the easiest professions to get into; you have to take a 30-hour course and you have to pass the test. But there is a lot of education after that – seminars continuing education courses different types of training. It’s up to the individual; but for the ones who choose to put in the effort you can tell that it really makes a difference in how they do their jobs. After all if a doctor only had 30 hours of training would you want to go to that doctor?
And there’s a lot of local knowledge. For example a number of years ago surveyors on Guam did tabletop surveying. They just used maps and all the lots showed up as flat. We’d look at the land and find that it might be filled with ravines. That’s something that Realtors would need to know. There’s a whole knowledge base that needs to be transferred.
You have to get out and work. You’re not just going to pass the test go to lunch get a haircut and sell a million-dollar condo. You might but you’re probably going to have to do a lot of work.
Q. How much training do you do with the people who work for Today’s Realty? How important is it?
A. Our agents are in group-training sessions on average at least two to four hours per week. This is in addition to the requirements for continuing education periodic seminars Internet-based training and specialized education. It is extremely important. The opportunity for education in our industry like any other never ends.
Q. What is it about Guam’s real estate market right now that you see as most promising? Of most concern?
A. The real estate market always brings opportunity for everyone. Interest rates are more attractive this year than they were last year so more buyers are able to purchase a home. This is good for everyone. There has been price movement over the past five or six months due to more inventory entering the market. Well-priced and well-prepared properties will always attract the most buyers.
Q. How do you approach a real estate market in which demand and values are high as opposed to one in which they are low?
A. There’s not much of a difference. Our job is the same whether demand is high or low. We have to find solutions for our buyers and sellers. These solutions stimulate the market and cause buyers or sellers to act.
Q. Do you care to use your crystal ball and tell us what you see happening to the Guam real estate market during the next year?
A. The next year will bring many opportunities for our buyers and sellers. We are always excited to hand over the keys to our buyers and checks to our sellers once we close on a property. Savvy investors know there will be swings in the market and typically act accordingly. MBJ