With his experience in construction, engineering, and business, Jim Albert is well suited to serve as an “exclusive buyer agent” to help homebuyers, particularly first timers.
He is owner and broker of Buyer’s Brokers of the Seacoast, and, as the name implies, his experience as a Realtor is specifically geared toward buyers in the Seacoast region, where residential real estate sales have skyrocketed over the past several months.
“Exclusive buyer agent” is a specific term in the real estate industry. As Jim puts it: “We will take buyers through the entire buying process, from inception of the concept through the search for a property, financing, research, negotiations, inspections, pre-closing and closing.”
Jim grew up in Canterbury, N.H., where he worked the farms and with local building contractors. He went to Northeastern University, starting as an engineering major and finishing with a bachelor’s degree in business.
He worked in business — for Hewlett-Packard, in particular — for many years. In raising two sons with his wife, a traveling consultant at the time, he had the opportunity to take a step back from the business world and consider his options.
He interviewed in 1998 with Carolyn McGee, owner/broker of Hall-McGee Realtors on Deer Street. Based on his own experience in buying a house, he liked what he saw in the exclusive nature of the buyer agent approach at Hall-McGee.
First-time homebuyers in particular, according to Jim, need an advocate who understands the sometimes-complicated process of negotiations and offers and counter-offers. “They really need a helping hand in getting proper counseling,” said Jim.
Carolyn McGee retired earlier this year, and Jim created Jim Albert Real Estate LLC — doing business as Buyer’s Brokers of the Seacoast — to carry on the local tradition of exclusively representing buyers. And the three legs of the stool — building construction, engineering, and business — give him a particular advantage when it comes to real estate. “They have a value-added approach with us in focusing on just one aspect of the business,” he noted.
About half of his clients are first-time homebuyers, many of them young professionals coming for jobs in the Seacoast, which has the lowest unemployment rate of any region in the state of New Hampshire. Another big segment of his clientele are retirees, who are coming from places like Massachusetts and Vermont and wanting to settle in the Portsmouth area.
Jim and three other real estate professionals — Mike McLaughlin, Melanie Wilson and Sue Rittenhouse — make up the team at Buyer’s Brokers of the Seacoast. They are licensed in both New Hampshire and Maine. In this market, they are constantly on the move, so the flexibility Jim and his team have at their office in the Cooperative Venture Workspace at 36 Maplewood Avenue in downtown Portsmouth is key.
“This is perfect for our team,” he said.
He said he shopped around for office space and was immediately impressed with the layout and large list of amenities at the Workspace. He recalled thinking to himself: “With all the technology to support my team provided by Cove, I can focus my time on my customers, helping them to find the best home.” And it is ideally suited — with its four conference rooms — for meeting clients.
The changing nature of how people can conduct their businesses, by using co-working space, fits in nicely, said Jim, with how technology is changing real estate.
“When prospective clients want to meet with you it really can be anywhere,” he said.