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Real Estate
Jax Daily Record Friday, Jan. 28, 202205:10 AM EST

Mark Rosener: From leap of faith to leadership

The new Northeast Florida Association of Realtors president on his role and where the hot housing market is headed next.
by: Dan Macdonald Staff Writer

Mark Rosener, the 2022 Northeast Florida Association of Realtors president, is leading the group through one of the area’s greatest housing booms. He also is looking for ways to lead his group through the challenge of finding homes to list.

Demand is high for homes to buy and rent, but the supply is dwindling by the day. 

As of December, the area had enough housing inventory to last 1.1 months. That’s down from 1.4 months in 2020 and a 3-month supply at the end of 2019, according to NEFAR statistics.

Rosener, 62, came to real estate in 2005 after spending much of his career managing regional branches of large retail outlets, including Saks, May Company, Macy’s and Belk.

As retail management style become driven by headquarters, leaving regional managers to just follow policy, he said his entrepreneurial instincts led him to change careers.

“I took a leap of faith and became a Realtor,” he said.

He enjoyed early success and rose through the ranks at Watson Realty Corp. 

Rosener was named his office’s rookie of the year and in 2008 he was named the top producer of the Hodges office.

He managed the St. Johns office on County Road 210 for nine years before becoming Watson’s regional vice president of the North Central Region of Florida. 

Northeast Florida Association of Realtors President Mark Rosener says he moved from listing and selling to leadership because he "loves helping other people succeed."

He oversees 14 offices and 450 agents.

“It’s an advantage to know the other markets, not just Jacksonville. Real estate is local. Putnam County is significantly different from Duval County,” Rosener said.

He found that while individual sales were motivational and rewarding, something was missing in his real estate career.

“I quickly went from listing and selling and into a leadership role with Watson. When I left retail I didn’t want to manage anybody. I just wanted to do my own thing,” he said.

“But I realized very quickly that a piece of what I love most is helping other people succeed and that was missing.”

As the new president, he is in the second year of NEFAR’s five-year plan. 

Points of emphasis include advocacy for private property rights and affordable housing; professional excellence among members through education and nuances of communication; member experience that brings value to being a NEFAR member; community involvement stressing the importance of volunteerism; and association leadership by building a base of new leaders within the group.

Rosener especially is proud of the role NEFAR membership plays in the community. 

Over the holidays, 300 members packed 75,000 meals for people in need in Northeast Florida.

Last summer’s river and waterway cleanup removed more than a ton of debris from rivers and streams. Members often construct and donate wheelchair access ramps for homeowners.

With 11,000 members, that makes for plenty of volunteer help.

Instead of just being a NEFAR member, he wanted to be involved. Becoming president is a natural progression.

“I’ve always felt, and this goes back to high school and college, if I was going to be part of an association I wanted to have a voice. By stepping up and providing that voice, I often get tapped to lead the organization,” he said.

“I give of my time and energy, but I get so much more back when I do that.”

Rosener considers a primary reason to be part of NEFAR is to continue to learn the trade. Real estate is fluid. Markets change and so do the challenges.

“A Realtor needs to hone the skills to sell in any market,” he said.

There is no one personality type to describe a real estate broker, he said.

Those thinking of changing careers may want to review their personal checklists. 

It has been his experience that people who need a lot of direction, a to-do list or require routine are not best suited for the business.

“This business works well for self-starters and who are comfortable with flexibility knowing that each day is going to be different,” he said.

He said today’s housing price increases are based on supply and demand.

The condition is not like the housing crash in 2008 when market manipulation allowed financially unprepared buyers enter the market.

Unlike the crash when many new homeowners found themselves in foreclosure with little or no equity, today 87% of those facing foreclosure have equity in their property, he said.

Rosener predicts prices will stabilize within the year and return to a more steady 5% to 7% annual growth. But that will not decrease demand. There’s a new customer on the horizon.

“The millennials are now at the homebuying age. So I don’t see diminishing demand or a significant increase in inventory,” he said.

New communities may see two distinct design changes to meet evolving lifestyles.

Remote work will create a demand for two separate workspaces. Couples working at home are not going to be satisfied with one working in a dedicated home office space while the other takes over a spare bedroom. 

New homes will offer larger windows and better backdrops for videoconferencing, he said.

The other trend will be homes that meet the needs of live-in grandparents and older children.

“The challenge will be accommodating the privacy needs within a multigenerational household. That open floor plan may need to be more divided,” Rosener said.

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