Stephanie Diani/WPN

Ewing has worked in real estate for more than 30 years, first in sales, and for the last 22 years as a manager and owner. The firm has 150 sales associates and three offices in Southern California, and became a Sotheby's franchise three years ago.

Q Has the downturn affected you and your company?

A It has affected everybody. We have been less affected because of our average sales price. I just attended a program put on by the California Association of Realtors and the presenter determined that with property over $750,000, the transactions are only off about 5% year to year; for houses under $750,000, the transaction count is off about 26% year to year. There's a lot of volatility in the number of transactions; there's not a lot of volatility in price.

People in our market, for the most part, are discretionary sellers, so we're not seeing a lot of price depreciation.

Q Knowing that you're reasonably well-insulated at that end of the market, what do you do to stay motivated and avoid becoming complacent?

A We are very aggressive about marketing these properties. A lot of our effort goes into — and we consider marketing to include — staging the property.

Over the last several years in the real estate industry, more and more of our clients and more and more buyers and their agents have come to depend on the Internet for information and are not viewing as many properties. So, when there's a lot of property for sale, we have to make sure that the properties we promote are presented really well. We must have professional photography, and we have to stage the property from paint to landscaping to interiors and furniture.

Everything is really well done so the property speaks for itself in photos.