Real estate companies and flexibility have not traditionally been partners, but Sun Realty Corp. is working to improve that relationship.
"We try to give the seller options - the services for the fee they would like," said Martin Eliason, broker and president. "We can offer full or limited service."Sun is a newcomer to real estate in Davis County, having started less than four years ago. With a second-story office located at 3075 N. Fairfield Road, the company is just a few hundred feet from the busy Hillfield Road (State Road No. 193).
With a staff of 10, the company is purposely staying small so it can remain more personal with customers, according to Eliason. He said Sun Realty is also committed to keeping an experienced staff of Realtors, its overhead low and commission rates competitive.
"One of our goals is to have franchise offices throughout the state," Eliason said, explaining that the company's first franchise is Sun Realty Home World, Roy, managed by Mark Winger. Eliason indicated that Sun would like to have franchise offices in the South Davis area, Salt Lake, Provo and even St. George.
He favors having many franchise offices instead of having one large office with many agents. Three of his Realtors are currently working on obtaining their brokers' licenses and this may lead to three more franchises.
Sun Realty started on Aug. 1, 1987 with the efforts of Eliason, his wife (Wendy), Brent Hill and Rick Kearl - all previous employees of Homestead Realtors. The four came up with a long list of extravagant names for their new company but "Sun" was chosen as the title because of its simplicity. Today it makes for a colorfully designed logo, prominently visible in many north Davis neighborhoods. Realtor David Jenkins joined the new company in its first weeks.
Kearl, a homebuilder, constructed Sun's first model home in east Layton and it was used as the company's office for the first two years.
Besides Kearl, Sun also works with two other area homebuilders, Calvin Waters Construction in South Weber and Chris Thurgood Construction in Syracuse.
Eliason has been a Realtor since 1979 and he has been a director of the Ogden Board of Realtors since last fall. He is a lifetime member of the board's "Million Dollar Club."
Since much of the Ogden board's business is now centering in Davis County, Eliason said the group is considering changing its name so that it can better identify with its service boundaries, which generally extend from the center of Farmington to all of Weber County.
Hill and Bill Barkley are two Sun Realtors who have received their second "Million Dollar Club" awards. The remaining Sun Realtors all have three or more years experience in the business.Eliason said that contrary to the rigid commissions that most real estate companies have, Sun has no set commission rate, explaining that his company's "Flex-a-fee" provides sellers with plenty of options on both services and fees.
Eliason said he believes Realtors offer excellent services and that they earn their commissions. But it is not an easy job. "I think for every Realtor who has been successful, there are five to 10 who don't succeed . . . it's very competitive," Eliason said. "I feel the majority of agents put in a fair amount of time for the compensation they receive."
He said Realtors are "on call" much of the day, work many evenings and weekends and there are plenty of times when they show a house to a customer but don't get a sale. They get no compensation for this service.
Eliason said he believes most agents are ethical, pointing out that Realtors - real estate agents who belong to a national, state and local association of Realtors - have their own code of ethics and are policed by that organization.
He also pointed out that real estate agents have to pass an exam and be licensed through the state. Thus, a Realtor is a real estate agent but a real estate agent isn't necessarily a Realtor. Realtors also have to keep themselves current on interest rates and changes in FHA and VA financing.
Eliason said he believes the local real estate market is improving. "Interest rates are down. It was hard to sell a home in the '80s, now it's turning around and is easier to sell a home. . . . There's a lot more new construction."
He expects home sales to continue to improve in the north Davis area, despite the upcoming layoffs from Hill Air Force Base.
He said that while a seller wouldn't want to start a bidding war between realty companies, it's still a good idea to shop around and meet at least several Realtors before deciding on the one best suited for their needs.
One trend he has noticed recently in north Davis County is that because of the higher cost of homes in the south Davis area, many people employed in Salt Lake are now buying homes in the north Davis area because of lower prices, wider selection and the relatively uncrowded commute to Salt Lake.