As one of the biggest closers for residential property sales on the East Side of Providence, Kevin Fox has taken part in the sale of 19 properties over $1 million in the city during the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two years, according to his firm, Residential Properties Ltd. That includes two of the four biggest sales on the East Side so far this year.
With 15 years of experience in the industry, Fox is also a resident of the East Side, where he lives with his wife and raised two children. Fox said he uses his extensive knowledge of local schools to assist families who are relocating to the area. And when he’s not selling homes, Fox is an avid guitar player who likes to sing Celtic music.
PBN: You’ve represented Greenwich Bay Homes and Architect J.P. Couture in the recent sale of an East Side home that was newly constructed. What has the COVID-19 pandemic and the current residential real estate market we’re seeing right now been like for builders, and what has it been like representing them?
FOX: I’ve recently closed several East Side properties, which J.P. designed and GBH built, and we have another two in the works. It’s been difficult for builders, as material prices have been so volatile and there have been so many delays in getting materials in a timely fashion.
Representing GBH is easy for me, as they build such a quality product. In addition, they ask for and actually take in and use my feedback in regards to market demands. Most important, I believe, is that unlike many home builders on the East Side, they use an architect for every project they do; they believe it’s important that the new builds blend in with the existing neighborhood as quickly and as aesthetically pleasingly as possible.
PBN: In such a big seller’s market right now, what kind of advice do you give to residential property owners that you work with about potentially selling their homes?
FOX: Based on the market conditions, I try to help seller clients assess how to best prepare their property for the market. Because most buyers are looking for a move-in-ready property, I help sellers with homes that are not yet in that state to find the most cost-effective ways to appeal to the widest pool of potential buyers. Often this does not mean putting in a new kitchen, even if one might be needed, as the best return on investment can sometimes be in refinishing floors and applying a fresh coat of paint throughout the house.
PBN: How would you describe what’s happening on the East Side of Providence this year with home sales, as compared with recent years?
FOX: There’s always demand on the East Side. Long before we ever heard of COVID-19, we had limited inventory and strong demand here. Of course, the demand for property here became even more acute after the pandemic hit. We’ve now been discovered by buyers from all over the country and people from all over have come to realize what a great area this is to live in.
PBN: Can you describe some of your strategy for closing a deal? How do you help guide an interested homebuyer over the finish line on a property that you’ve connected them to?
FOX: Honestly, I cannot articulate a general strategy. Every transaction is so unique, and every deal has such different circumstances and different demands, and my job is to guide my clients through these unique situations.
Depending on the specific property and my buyer’s financial circumstances, I develop a unique strategy for every deal in which I participate, always in the best interest of my clients and always looking to get them the best price, terms and conditions.
PBN: What has been one of your favorite property transactions that you’ve worked on and why?
FOX: My most rewarding sale this year also happened to be one of my lowest-priced single-family sales this year on the East Side. My buyers had come to the sad conclusion that they had been priced out of the market and would not be able to find a home. Then I got a call from clients who wanted to sell their property. This home needed significant updating and the sellers had a lot of stuff which they didn’t feel like sorting through to prep the property for the market. They asked if I might have a buyer who might possibly be interested in taking the house “as is.” I did, of course, and we put the deal together. It felt really good because the family who bought the house described it as a “life-changing” opportunity.
Marc Larocque is a PBN contributing writer.
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