What's the secret to being a "local expert" when you're part of a national real estate company?
Though national real estate companies may possess larger office spaces and more staff and agents, that doesn’t necessarily translate to a solid and positive presence in the local community. They may have the advantage of a recognizable brand name, which can certainly influence potential clients, but hype doesn’t trump expertise, even at the local level, because when someone buys a home, they’re not just buying a house - the entire neighborhood, town or city is part of the package deal.
Here are some key pointers agents can start adopting to become a local expert, whether they’re running solo or are part of a larger machine:
- Social Media, the gift that keeps on giving
We’re familiar with the new reality of consumers being digitally agile (with 92% of clients utilizing the internet to begin their home-buying journey), and as a result, agents must be as well. Not only should agents make themselves available online through social media, but they can maximize their presence by joining and participating in online Facebook community groups, where they can get a better understanding of the real estate climate on a micro-level. Facebook also allows businesses to publish listing-related updates and appointments, and such location-based information can also let realtors get a glimpse of potential competitors too. It will also give agents the opportunity to be proactive, identifying any concerns or fears locals may express online, and posting solution-based articles or tweets on their social media very early on, (great opportunity to boost SEO and local support).
- Eyes on the Town
According to a Placester survey report, 53.6% say adding more locally focused content to their website will be more attractive to potential clients. It means taking the effort to source high-quality images or video of places and features that make that place special and worth laying down roots in.
- An authoritative voice
the agent who familiarizes themselves with the vibe and culture of the place, the demeanor of its people and the history behind any landmarks will find such knowledge useful, as it’s a small but powerful way for an agent to establish themselves as an authoritative voice on the area for any future clients.
- Be a Team Player
Keeping tabs on and participating in local events (concerts, sports events, fundraisers etc) will give locals the chance to get to know an agent and be able to keep a business card or two for future reference. It also gives agents the chance to rattle off example after example of events and community features that future clients can look forward to, should they be looking at the area.
- Local picture, larger scale
another way agents can become experts is to sit in on local government meetings where they can get a grasp of urban planning advancements and public works, which is vital to understanding market trends and upcoming developments, (all of which will affect an agent’s properties in the area). This gives agents (and the companies they work for) a great way to prepare for change or adapt when it comes to their listings (and how they’re being listed).
- Applying big data to small towns
Big data is simply a way for technology to do the heavy lifting when it comes to creating value from a whole lot of information. Even though ‘local’ can mean a small neighborhood, it’s vital for agents to be able to offer ‘best-match’ listings to homebuyers. It means applying technology to make sense of a wide spread of parameters within the town that could make a huge difference to a client. For example, matching a households’ budget and interests to the vicinity of a park or school; the location of a client’s workplace to the opening hours of a nearby gym or laundromat, etc. The more data about the local area an agent is able to wield and master using tech, the more personalized, accurate and quickly they can offer listings to a client.
An agent doesn’t have to be a long-time resident of an area to be a ‘local expert’, but potential clients are going to know the difference between an agent who clearly rolled into town a few minutes before they did, and an agent who knows a familiar face or two in the area, a good cafe to discuss logistics over, and can tell a moving anecdote or two about their location. Regardless whether they’re with a company or solo, them being able to demonstrate a deep familiarity with the place will go a long, long way with potential homebuyers.