We’ve all seen it - driving through a neighborhood and seeing For Sale signs in front of a few houses, most of them bearing the same realtors’ smiling faces. Almost as if the area only has 2 or 3 real estate experts. But in fact, what these individuals have managed to do is to stand out amongst their peers by becoming the “go-to realtors” when buying/selling a home.
This does not mean that you have to limit yourself to one location. After all, you really should have an in-depth knowledge of all the territories you cover. However, to become the expert in a specific neighborhood, you must first identify a neighborhood and get to know it like the back of your hand.
Immerse yourself in it, support it, get to know its people. Consider this: 42% of buyers used an agent that was referred to them by a friend, neighbour, or relative. Make sure to be that “top-of-mind” realtor!
Whether you live or not in the neighborhood you choose as your niche area, make sure to know everything there is to know about it. Start with the basics: the history. A quick Google search is a great first step. Jolt down interesting nuggets of information you may want to share with your clients.
You can also stop by town halls - that’s often where you will find flyers on events, tourist attractions, schools and various local services. You can either memorize information you deem important or even reach out to organizations to get copies of flyers to give out to your clients.
Take strolls around the area, visit local businesses and amenities. Get a feel of what the traffic patterns are, which parks have the best play areas or which stores have a larger parking area. Where’s the best burger in town? Which local coffee shop remains the town’s best kept secret? Where’s the place to go to buy pool equipment? Remember, you’re not only selling a house, you’re also selling a neighborhood.
Luxury homes market? Low income housing? Condo popularity on the rise? A neighborhood expert understands what’s going on locally.... beyond the traditional comparables.
They also know who comprises their clientele and adapts their marketing strategy and communication channels accordingly to customize a pitch. For instance, are most homeowners in your neighborhood baby boomers? You may want to share information with them through email newsletters or paid advertisements in the local newspapers.
If potential clients are millennials, social media could be the best way to reach out to this digitally savvy group. For example, you can create and/or join community groups on Facebook, create a blog that includes interesting local market info and tips for new buyers, post beautiful pictures of properties on Instagram or virtual tours on TikTok. Creating a hashtag for yourself (ex.: #mikesellshomes) will also help further brand yourself and make it easier to see who’s talking about you online.
Make it personal! Let people know you care about them by noting personal information about them and special events happening in their lives. For instance, send them a text message, an email or even a real card on their birthday and/or wedding anniversary. You can also take it up a notch by following up on a bit of information they shared with you in passing during a conversation (ex.: a trip they were planning, a new job, an upcoming surgery, a baby on the way).
Keep track of special dates and set them up in your calendar, such as the Touchbase calendar, to get reminders and send out messages.
Pretty much everything your local government does has an impact on you and your business.Things like traffic, zoning, housing regulations, tax hikes, new by-laws and public works all affect the real estate market.
Luckily, town council meetings are open to the public. Include the dates of the meetings in your calendar and make sure to attend. This way, you will be aware of any important decisions made that affect your business and will build an expertise relating to issues that matter in your community.
As a bonus, it’s a really good way to expand your network. After all, town meetings are a great place to bump elbows with community influencers such as business owners, event organizers and local reporters.
BONUS TIP: School board meetings are also open to the public and have a big, big impact on your business. Decisions to build a new school or to close one significantly influence the market (ex.: young families are likely to flock over to neighborhoods where new schools are being built).
Quid pro quo:Zyou want the support of your community? You have to give back. There are so many ways to do it: collect books and toys for kids, plan a snowsuit run in the fall, volunteer at your local shelter...
This shouldn’t be a chore - make it fun! Have a passion for sports? Sign up to help coach little league once a week. Psst: With Touchbase, you can easily set up a replacement to receive your messages while you are busy, whether it’s for an entire day or week, or just for a few hours on specific days of the week.
Too busy for a big commitment? Then at least try to offer your help during a school fair, a community event, a neighborhood party, a Canada Day barbecue, etc. Not only will it make you feel good and give you an opportunity to meet a ton of people, but some of the best leads happen around a grill!
Make sure to know what’s going on in your neighborhood in terms of development projects and new construction. Go meet the key players and find out from them what projects are in the works. Build a relationship with the builders, promote them and their projects on your social media channels.
A great way to establish yourself - and your credibility - as a local expert is to get your name in the local news. And by local news, we mean all of them: newspapers, radio stations, TV stations, magazines, community newsletters, local blogs. Contact them to introduce yourself and offer your help for future news pieces. You can discuss stories they published in the past and how they relate to the real estate industry in order to create a good rapport.
You could even sign up to publish a monthly column for instance or news segment to talk about real estate and market trends, give tips for new buyers or how to prepare your home for a sale, etc. No matter how big or small the scope of the media is, people usually love dealing with local “celebrities”. :)
While you may very well be the best realtor, the only way to expand your business is to be seen and known. Billboards and newspaper ads are great but can only take you so far. By choosing your neighborhood, mastering your neighborhood and becoming your neighborhood’s real estate expert, you will get the kind of publicity that no money can buy: positive and constant word of mouth.