Want to go from zero to hero with your real estate career? Learn how to become a ‘neighborhood expert’!
You may have recently started a real estate career, and find yourself struggling to build momentum. Maybe it’s been a few months, and you still haven’t landed your first client. Where should you be focusing your energy, time, and resources, for the best results?
The most effective way to steadily build your real estate business is to specialize in a niche and master it.
So, here’s your new plan, starting right now:
Choose a neighborhood, master the neighborhood, become the neighborhood expert:
If it sounds simple, that’s because it really is!
Often, as new agents, we scatter our efforts in too many directions. Jack of all trades, master of none…
Consider the facts:
- “Forty-two percent of buyers used an agent that was referred to them by a friend, neighbour, or relative and 12 percent used an agent that they had worked with in the past to buy or sell a home.”
- “Having an agent to help them find the right home was what buyers wanted most when choosing an agent at 52%.” (NAR 2019 Homebuyer Report)
Don’t give in to the gloom and doom! There’s never been a better time to enter real estate. The majority of homebuyers continue to rely on an agent to help them FIND and close a home in the right neighborhood.
How Buyers And Sellers Choose A Neighborhood
Buyers and sellers want an experienced agent who can guide them through the potential pitfalls of the homeownership process. They rely on your real estate expertise, as well as your knowledge of the neighborhood, to get them the best offer possible.
The top 3 factors for home buyers when considering a home are:
- Quality of the neighborhood (60%,
- Convenience to job location (43%)
- Home affordability (40%)
Even if you are competing against more seasoned agents, you can persuade prospective clients to trust you with your in-depth knowledge of the neighborhood market.
Branding yourself as a neighborhood specialist will:
- help you stand out from competitors with more experience but no neighborhood knowledge
- build relationships strategically with local business owners and residents
- effectively promote to different market segments within your farm
Whether you’re launching your real estate career, or seeking a new approach, make these 3 objectives your top priority over 12 months:
#1) Become the neighborhood expert of your chosen farm and build your real estate career one relationship at a time.
#2) Brand yourself both online and offline as a passionate community advocate.
#3) Finally, develop the resources and tools required to provide meaningful value to local residents, homeowners, and businesses.
Essential Tools To Become A Neighborhood Expert
Give yourself a winning chance by being prepared. Getting started as the neighborhood specialist in your farm will require a few basic tools:
We’re assuming you own one if you’re in business as a realtor®, but it’s not just for making phone calls! Get in the habit of documenting your neighborhood through photos and video.
Use what you record on your phone in your social media posts to personalize your content and stand out from the competition.
Imagine how jealous other agents will be when they see you on Facebook taking selfies with local homeowners and business owners! (Facebook favors content shared by families/friends in their news feed by the way!)
Facebook Business Page
This will probably be your most important marketing tool when you start out branding yourself as a neighborhood expert. With close to one third of the global population logging in daily, you can’t afford NOT to have a Facebook Business Page. Keep it separate from your personal page, and focus your content on shareable, neighborhood stories.
Desktop or laptop
Again, a basic requirement for any agent, but essential to refining your brand as a neighborhood specialist.
A must-have if you plan on cultivating brand awareness with your local audience. There are a number of cost-effective, web-based solutions, WordPress being the most popular.
Real Estate CRM
As your sphere of influence grows, you’ll need to organize, monitor and communicate with your contacts regularly. A real estate CRM will provide you with the digital tools to be productive and strategic in executing your daily tasks and promoting your niche expertise.
With these tools in place, you’re ready to start carving out your niche and build a sustainable real estate career!
11 Tips For Branding Yourself A Neighborhood Expert
Follow our tips below for becoming a neighborhood expert, and remember: winners never quit, and quitters never win!
#1) Start with where you live.
New writers are advised to write about what they know. It’s also great advice for budding real estate agents.
Buyers and sellers invariably prefer an agent with in-depth knowledge of the local market over a newbie. If you already have a history with the community, it will be much easier to brand yourself as a local expert.
Your authenticity will give you an edge over other new agents in your farm.
#2) Local MLS and Property Appraiser Data.
Get to know the economic trends in your designated farm:
- Avg./median sale prices
- Average time on market
- Available property types
- Neighborhood turnover
A wealth of local housing market data is available, but how you apply that information is the key.
Impress potential clients with your knowledge of the local market. Leverage that knowledge to connect with other local experts (ie appraisers, builders, mortgage lenders). Stay informed daily and send out tweets through your Twitter account to notify local media sources. With consistency, you’ll earn their endorsement as a neighbourhood specialist.
#3) Study local demographics.
Gentrification? Low income housing? Luxury homes market? Condo development? Are there more millennials than seniors or less?
These considerations and more will have a huge impact on your marketing and branding. You may want to focus on the most promising demographic or the most underserved market segment in your farm.
Sharing this information with local residents through your digital newsletter or blog could help you build subscribers. Here are some free online resources you’ll find useful:
- US Census Bureau: census data for all states
- City-data.com: municipal data
- Stats America: US statistical data
- Neighborhood Scout: demographics data
#4) Connect with your local HOA (Home Owners’ Association).
Offering your real estate expertise to HOA members is another great way to brand yourself as a neighborhood expert. It will take some extra effort on your part to familiarize yourself with all the rules and regulations, but you’ll gain valuable insight into the topics of interest to local homeowners.
#5) Map all local amenities.
This includes all the schools, transportation, dining, entertainment, and recreational facilities. Know the local parks, parkettes, and trails popular with residents.
Keep a notebook as you travel the neighborhood. Take photos and keep a folder on your phone of interesting neighborhood images you come across. Use the photos to enhance your social media posts.
#6) Get on Facebook and join local groups.
The social media giant is an invaluable resource for hyperlocal information. Join a local group, send alert notifications to your phone and stay informed of the latest developments.
Monitor the threads to learn more about the common issues affecting local residents. Take note of pain points and consider ways you can add value to these conversations by offering a solution.
#7) Launch a community blog, newsletter, or website.
Almost anyone can launch a neighborhood blog for free in literally minutes. Start with what you can afford. Include the name of your neighborhood (ie TwinOaksCommunityHub.com) in your website’s domain name.
That way, anyone searching online using the city or neighborhood name will find your blog/website.
You can also attract subscribers by publishing free monthly updates, news, and offers from local businesses.
#8) Become a local volunteer.
Fun, fulfilling, and good for your career! Find an activity you’re passionate about and become a volunteer in your farm. Whether it’s a sport, working with children, or religious convictions, there are local groups always looking for volunteers.
Be realistic, however, about your schedule and resources. After all, you are still building a business!
#9 Interview local business owners and personalities.
Interview-prospecting is a great way to build your sphere of influence locally and gain unique insights into your farm. Long-time residents, homeowners, professionals, popular venue owners, and retail establishments are just some of the places and people you could be interviewing and prospecting!
Feature the interviews as a video, podcast, or a blog article on your website. Share your interviews on social media to build awareness and generate interest. get valuable referrals and recommendations from the business owners in your farm.
#10) Connect with ALL the local builders.
Investigate every new construction in your farm. meet the key players and find out from them why they chose the neighborhood. Promote them on your social media channels and build a relationship with the owner.
#11) Host a free tutorial for local renters.
The typical homebuyer spends anywhere from 6 – 18 months researching neighborhoods and the market. Why?
People want to be informed because it makes them more capable and more empowered to make better decisions.
So why not offer to educate local residents who are renting? Invite all those condo residents and the folks living in low-rise apartment buildings who aren’t planning to buy a home just yet.
Use your knowledge of market trends and data to help renters understand and prepare for the market. By hosting a tutorial you can demonstrate your expertise and start to build relationships that lead to referrals and clients.
Prospective clients spend more time researching the market than they do searching for an agent. Whether you want to expand into new farms or you’re just getting out of the gates, specializing in your neighborhood will give you a competitive edge.
You won’t be the only agent in your farm seeking to establish a niche market. Building brand awareness as a neighborhood specialist will take time and consistent effort on your part.
Your presence both offline and online should convey a consistent message to prospects that you are not only a capable real estate agent, but a dedicated, informed expert in your farm.
So remember: choose a niche, master your niche, become the neighborhood expert!