Victor Cimerol is co-owner, with his brother Robert Cimerol, of First United Land Transfer, a title insurance company in Allentown. Established in 2006, most of First United’s business is from real estate agents and lenders. Its website is www.firstunitednow.com.
What’s your take on the local economy?
I believe the local economy is improving. It’s all about jobs. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, the unemployment rate is trending down.
When you look at Downtown Allentown and see the new construction and the [ice hockey] arena project, I am encouraged that it will bring consumers to the Lehigh Valley. That, along with Bethlehem’s City Revitalization and Improvement Zone, we can expect new businesses and jobs coming to our area.
What issues are you most concerned about?
Most industry experts would say the factor that affects the title industry the most is interest rates. As interest rates climb, less people have a need to refinance their homes. Home ownership affordability is still the best now, than it has been, in many years. Interest rates for residential mortgages are still at near-record lows, but they are trending up.
I have been hearing from several real estate agents and brokers that there is a good supply of buyers but a lack of homes for sale. A lack of real estate inventory can cause higher sale prices. My biggest concern is that rising interest rates and a low inventory will make home ownership less affordable.
What would you do to improve your business?
Continue to find ways to set myself apart from our competition. We always felt delivering the best product is paramount. Our purchase files get examined by three times by our own staff people and the chain of title at least 60 years back. …
Always staying connected with our customers and to know their needs. Offering services to them that can help grow their business. Hiring the best talent and continuing education is key to our business.
What advice would you give to someone who runs a small business?
I can’t say enough about networking. Three things that are important to gaining new clients: getting people to know you, getting people to like you and getting them to trust you.
I have found success with network groups and chamber events. This is not something that you can do for a few weeks and see results; this is a long-term commitment.
The challenge for most business owners is time management. My brother Bob is our office manager. That leaves me to be full time with business development and relationship building.