A pair of seasoned real estate agents and their team are as resilient as the city they work in.
By Christina Poletto
Paul Whaley, a Premier Coldwell Banker Realty Agent in Boston, remembers when the real estate business around town felt like an entirely different game. Back in the late 1980s, when he was just starting out, there was no internet, a much slower market, and a thoroughly solitary approach to the work. “There were no teams. Everyone worked solo,” says Whaley.
Now, technology not only drives the field but is fundamental to how the business operates. Indeed, being mobile is critical to the bottom line and to populations of sellers and buyers looking for dedicated attention to their real estate assets. The technology also allows agents to be fully peripatetic, working outside of office walls (and hours), and managing the work of buying and selling on behalf of clients from wherever they are.
This flexibility allows Whaley and Charlie Ring, his business partner since 2005 and also a Premiere Coldwell Banker Realty agent, the convenience of meeting clients—future and present clients—wherever they are. These days, Whaley and Ring can grow their network in person beyond the walls of their brick-and-mortar home base on Boylston Street in the Back Bay.
“Real estate is exciting to talk about, whether it’s on a beach chair or on a ski lift, “says Ring. Technology gives them the ability to share new listings or information casually but professionally. Similarly, being out where clients are, they hear what people are saying about the market. “This feedback is so vital, and that is a conversation that you would miss at your desk or even when hosting an open house,” says Whaley.
This type of attention to detail bolsters what much of the industry already knows; this is a team that knows how to evolve with the times, so much so that they were again named Coldwell Banker’s #1 Team in Boston for 2022. The Whaley | Ring Team is comprised of seven, full time and highly trained brokers assisting sellers, buyers, investors and tenants. The team is supported by talented and driven, in-house marketing and administrative staff to facilitate their deal flow. Living in the neighborhoods they serve, the team acts as a resource to one another and covers the Back Bay, Beacon Hill, South End, North End, South Boston, Brookline, and the rest of downtown Boston.
These days, Whaley and Ring are seeing buyers enter the market from all over. This is not necessarily new, but it reinforces the demand for available listing inventory and presents opportunities for sellers. This dynamic continues even as economic markets deal with banking crises, inflation, and foreign conflicts. Whaley and Ring aren’t worried. “We’ve seen this before,” says Ring. “Nothing is catching us off guard. There are over 50 years of experience between Paul and me.” Whaley explains that the team had some of its best years in 2007 and 2008, even as the recession hit the country.
Boston is a resilient and well-balanced city, “explains Ring. “The high-end market here has never been stronger.” He feels that buyers want to make the leap, even with strong prices, if it means getting the chance to own a quintessential, historic piece of Boston real estate. “I think most people would rather purchase than lease if they are going to be here for a couple of years.”
Whaley says buyers are more selective than they used to be and want to take their time. “I have more buyers than listings, which historically was the opposite,” Whaley explains that buyers are in the wings, waiting for inventory to improve. “President’s Day is often the start of our spring market when you begin to see more properties hit the market. The floodgates open with a lot more transactions as we move into the busy summer season.”
So, what’s the best advice for sellers in these conditions? It may not be off-market deals, even though a sizable portion of business since the beginning of the pandemic was off-market transactions. In fact, last year, twenty percent of their business was with off-market deals, says Whaley. But the off-market model might not always serve the homeowner. “Really, the best way to know if you got the best price is to put your home on the market, “ says Whaley.
Property leasing is another facet of their business and actually how their team got its start. Ring says the strategy was to build a brand where customers did not need to leave their immediate brokerage network as they transitioned from renters to homeowners. Ring and Whaley’s group can help their clients through whatever life phase they find themselves in.
The team has also learned to supersede sellers’ expectations by making their listing media really stand out. “You can’t not stage a home these days,” states Ring. “And we use the best photographers and media groups,” Whaley adds. Ring notes that consumers review real estate listings while concurrently checking out new interior schemes and furniture pieces from their favorite designers and home and living brands. He advises that since buyers desire well-curated spaces, it is fundamental to diligently prepare a listing for its public debut.
Ultimately, Whaley and Ring’s advice to buyers is to walk through everything that matches your criteria, even if it does not look as good as your designer’s Instagram feed. “You might find the home of your dreams and maybe even some value too!” says Ring.