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The Overachievers

Sotheby's realtors Ray Wells and May Gonzalez stick to a simple formula for standing out from their peers: high performance = over achievement

Published on Tuesday, March 31, 2009 | 12:45 pm

Performance psychologist John Eliot once told Psychology Today that in his expert opinion, most people aim for and train for mediocrity. Falling into timid and conservative behavior, many never really get to put their true potential into play.

This is definitely not the case for the Pasadena realty team of Ray Wells and May Gonzalez, Southern California associates of Sotheby’s International Realty.

Their high performance, leave-no-stone-unturned approach to selling homes empowers their clients with techniques which “frankly aren’t always brought to the table by all of our competitors,” Wells says.

Wells, who has earned industry leadership positions and was awarded “Realtor Salesperson of the Year Award” by the Pasadena Foothills Association of Realtors, is a man of outspoken convictions: “I always say, if you’re not the best at what you do, don’t get in the game. Because why should somebody work with us versus somebody else? Well, if I thought that other person was better, then hire that person and get out of the way. But frankly, we feel that we’re the best.”

“I’ve been at it over 21 years,” Wells notes. “We have a background in architectural skills and neighborhoods, and connections, and just a network that we bring to the table… All those things help attract and solidify deals that others might not be able to offer.”

Wells doesn’t claim magic. He says the secret to selling real estate is lots of hard work, lots of marketing and lots of effort.  He and Gonzalez agree that the only way to sell real estate is to use every tool in the selling arsenal because in today’s eclectic marketplace no one technique alone will bring optimal results.
From hosting open houses to permeating the internet with property scoops, Gonzalez and Wells are omnipresent forces in Pasadena. One click on the Gonzalez and Wells website and it is as if you’ve uncovered the housing edition of The website displays professional photography, virtual tours and detailed floor plans which allows today’s ambivalent buyer to glance commitment-free.
Gonzalez and Wells offer their direct numbers on the site as well. Once a smitten client makes that initial call Gonzalez says she makes sure to “provide each client with personal, professional and knowledgeable service that meets their individual specific needs.”

Gone are the days where a real estate professional tells clients what they need. In a thicker skinned market, Gonzalez thrives by providing the “highest level of customer service possible.”
On the seller’s end, Wells admits that he has come across many apprehensive sellers as of late within the 35 mile area of Pasadena he manages. The real estate aficionado warmly recalls a married couple eager to sell their home to make ends meet.  To their surprise, Wells executed the sale in almost no time, leaving the wife relieved and the husband walking with a “skip in his step.”
The Gonzalez and Wells duo work with everyone from first time buyers to seasoned investors – many of whom are eager to buy now that market prices are low. Though some would argue purchasing property is risky business now, Wells – who has worked through his share of housing slumps and jumps – says that property is the most prudent investment on the table now.

“Property values will go up, property values will go down, but it’s something more tangible than stocks when you’re living in that home, you’ve locked in what your payments are roughly compared to what the landlord might say or do, so there’s nothing like it,” he says.
Wells does admit the banks have gotten conservative as appraisers are hyper-concerned about losing accounts if they are too “loosey-goosey.” When asked if this makes his life’s work difficult, Wells responds with an upbeat retort: “It beats working.”
With a forward-looking flair, Wells points out that his company’s fundamental mission is to change people’s lives by bringing them “financial wealth through home ownership that they wouldn’t be able to do any other way.”  Some Pasadena natives see this current market slump as just that opportunity to buy that family home at a reasonable price.
Wells has a special place in his heart for first-time buyers. The son of realtors in Washington, he drove cross country to Los Angeles three days after college to find his own path.  He knew no one, but he did know what to do when his landlord was raising the rent. He thought at the time, “oh, I should just buy.”  Once he finally bought his own house in Pasadena in 1985, he was intoxicated by the feeling of “I own this, this is my property, my house’, and the sense of pride that it spoke to me.” “It’s great to be able to help people in that same fashion,” Wells concludes with a grin.

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