There’s a difference between a “local real estate expert” and a “real estate local expert”.
As a real estate agent, being an expert in your field is a wonderful thing to be. This usually comes from years of experience and knowing the local real estate market in detail. But outside of the real estate market, how well do you know your local area? Would you consider yourself to be an expert on what’s happening locally?
Vendors and buyers alike expect agents to be able to give them expert market information. That’s a given. As an agent you should be able to do this, but it takes a local expert to be able to give the “inside” information that clients now want and expect.
So how do you become a local expert and provide an ‘above and beyond’ service to your clients?
Be the local know-it-all
To be an expert, you’ll have to learn everything you can about the area where you do the majority of your business.
Put yourself in your clients’ shoes. If they’re tossing up between an agent who gives them a few vague sentences about the local area and who really doesn’t seem to know much, or you; the agent who can give them lots of information about the local market, who are they likely to choose?
Obviously, you’ll have to provide information about things like median house prices, vacancy rates, sales and buyer behavior. But it’s great if you can learn about other things like the local facilities. How close is it to the beach or the nearest school? Where is the closest bus stop and supermarket? Is there a dog park anywhere close? If the property is next to a vacant block, is it likely to be built on anytime soon? If so, what kind of development will it be?
These are the small details that are going to help and impress your clients.
Give them useful information about the local area
If you promote your business constantly without mixing up your message a bit, eventually your audience will tune out. However, if you can provide information that will help your clients, it’s more likely that your message will break through the noise of the marketing world.
Use your social media sites, blog and newsletters to give practical information. Are there any local markets on this weekend? Has a new restaurant opened up in town? Are there any live music bands playing this week? Are there any new council developments on the go? Think about what’s truly going to be of use to your clients and give them that information.
Get involved in the community
Letterbox brochures and bus-stop advertisements are commonplace for real estate agents, and because these things are so conventional, they don’t get noticed quite so much.
Try something different like supporting a local charity or sponsoring a local event. It’s still promotion but it also shows that you care about your community. You can also get in touch with your local media (TV channel or newspaper) and see if they’d be willing to do a story about you and your exceptional local knowledge. Once your face becomes familiar in the media, people will start to see you as a local expert.
Network with other experts
Getting to you know your local conveyancers, removalists and tradespeople can be invaluable to your clients, particularly if they are moving to the area from afar and don’t know anyone. Your clients will certainly appreciate a quality referral and those in your network are likely to repay the favour by promoting your business to their clients.
Being given that status of a ‘local expert’ takes a bit of time and effort. You need to learn and demonstrate that you have an understanding of what’s going on in your local area. But it’s certainly worth it when clients are inevitably drawn towards agents who display the strongest local knowledge.