As a real estate agent, you have freedom to choose niches or areas of specialty. Some agents aligned themselves as a high-end luxury realtor, whereas others focus their efforts on finding new listings. You can employ various strategies to grow your business, such as setting yourself up to become a neighborhood expert.
Becoming a neighborhood expert is beneficial because you can slowly become the go-to realtor in an area. If people in these communities see your realtor signs on a regular basis, you’ll be the first person they think of when they’re ready to list their homes, which can strengthen your brand.
But becoming a local authority doesn't happen overnight. Just ask Gladys Kravitz. Thus, here are six tricks to becoming a neighborhood expert.
1. Focus on areas you already know
This isn't a requirement, but if you become a neighborhood expert in areas you're already familiar with, you'll begin the process with tons of knowledge about the communities, and this knowledge can shorten your learning curve. The more you know about a specific neighborhood, the more prepared you’ll be to share background, stats and historical information about the area with your clients.
Savvy buyers usually have a long list of questions about prospective communities or neighborhoods. Satisfactory answers can persuade some buyers to relocate to the neighborhood.
2. Familiarize yourself with the types of homes in the neighborhood
To become a neighborhood expert, you must be familiar with different types of homes in each community. This includes the style of homes, price ranges, and more. If the neighborhood has a mixture of single-family homes, condominiums and townhouses, make sure you come prepared with stats and cost differences between these properties. For example, what’s the cost difference between a condo and a townhouse, or the difference between a resale property and new construction?
You’ll need to learn the average cost of properties, as well as how much these properties have sold on the high end and low end. Research which neighborhoods have a homeowner’s association, and find out the average monthly fees for these associations. Most importantly, what do these fees cover? Some homeowner association dues mainly pay for landscaping, whereas other dues cover maintenance of pools, community clubhouses and other recreation amenities.
When buyers ask questions about properties and communities, you should respond confidently and accurately.
3. Run a direct-mail campaign
Look into a direct mail campaign and market specifically to homes in your target neighborhood. This is an excellent way to get new listings in the area, which is crucial because you’ll want to post your realtor signs throughout the neighborhood as soon as possible to become a recognizable name.
You also can drive through targeted neighborhoods in search of “For Sale By Owner” signs. Contact these individuals to see if they’re interested in working with a realtor. Some people choose a FSBO to save on realtor commissions, but quickly realize selling a home is a huge time commitment. Explain the benefits of listing, and if your broker allows, consider reducing your commission if it’ll help you get a listing. Hold open houses on a regular basis to meet those in the community and generate new leads; fresh baked goods will help.
4. Research future growth in the area
Neighborhoods are constantly changing, so it's important to stay on top of any future growth happening in the community. If new builders are in the neighborhood, stop by these communities and take a peak at the floor plans and get information on pricing. You can also contact the city planner’s office to learn about upcoming projects in the future.
There could be plans for a new shopping center, or plans to build a new school or new roadways to make the commute easier. Growth and new developments can indicate an up-and-coming neighborhood and increase property values in the future, which can appeal to a homebuyer’s bottom line.
5. Know the neighborhood hot spots
If you're already familiar with the neighborhood, you already know about local schools, restaurants, shopping, etc. If not, get out and explore the neighborhood.
What makes this neighborhood a great place to live? How many parks are in area, and are these parks in walking distance to some communities. What are the best ways to access highways? Get involved in the community, maybe attend a local sporting event or craft shows and festivals held throughout the community. Being a knowledgeable realtor is how you set yourself apart as an expert.
6. Promote the neighborhood on your blog
Social media is an exceptional tool for branding yourself as a neighborhood expert. Don’t only blog or write about evergreen or generic real estate information. Think about the needs of the clients in your target area and write with these individuals in mind. Make your content specific to a neighborhood or community. You can write a piece that features a mortgage loan officer or a mortgage lender in the neighborhood. You can talk about new construction properties in the area. If there’s an upcoming local event in the community, perhaps a craft show at a local school, write about it. Ultimately, when people hear or think about a specific neighborhood, your name and face should immediately pop into their minds.