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How to Become the Local Expert in Real Estate

April 13 2015

HDC Corcoran local expertBelieve it or not, summer is almost here, and that means summer vacations. I got an early start on mine in February by leaving winter behind and heading to where it was summer – down under in Australia to teach real estate workshops.

While I was gone, I found myself thinking a lot about home. Absence does make the heart grow fonder. That's true because what's close to us matters most to us. Then, I started thinking about what the lesson is for Realtors.

Proximity is critical for Realtors because your prospects need local expertise. The National Association of REALTORS® says nearly 70 percent of home shoppers start searches with local terms. Similarly, Google reports 80 percent of consumers want search results to be customized to their immediate surroundings.

If you're a local expert, you're adding value to yourself and your services.

So how do you become the local expert in real estate? Here are four steps you can start taking today:

  • Understand and use your local media. Get to know the business editor and reporters of your local newspaper, the manager of the radio station and the TV news director. Become a student of how they work, what their deadlines are and how they like to get story ideas. Learn what gets covered related to real estate and know that they need experts to comment on those news stories. Then, realize you can be that expert. Also, learn how to localize national stories about real estate. When NAR releases housing sales data, localize the data for your city and send this info to the media to use. When people see, hear and read your thoughts in the media, they'll begin to see you as the local expert.
  • Get involved in your local, state and national REALTOR® associations. This is a good segue to the first step because, before you talk about the important local issues of real estate, you have to know them. And believe me, you'll be hard pressed to find another place that has more information about what's happening in real estate than at these groups, especially your local association. They are a hotbed for cutting-edge, real estate topics. Associations want and need you — plus it's a great place to network. And being involved in these groups gives you credibility with the news media and prospects.
  • Share useful content. We're smack dab in the middle of the information age and that means everyone expects useful information. The old days of only blabbing about your real estate prowess are long gone. Look at your website with the eyes of homebuyers and sellers and ask yourself: What's truly useful on this site? Then fill it (and your social media outlets) with practical information on your farm area, the community, housing policies, coffee shops, restaurants and bookstores, community meetings, community theater shows, farmer's markets and concerts.
  • Get active in your community. This is all about showing that you're more than just the local real estate expert; you're actually a part of the community that you care about. One of my clients, Wes Madden in Fairbanks, Alaska, gives back to his community in many ways. His efforts won him small business man of the year for Fairbanks. Then the next year, he won it for the entire state. That's serious exposure. Pick a cause (or several) and get busy (and get seen).

Share what's on your mind. Are you seen as a local expert? If not, why not? What's keeping you from starting to brand yourself as the go-to-local expert today? Please let us know of any comments or questions you have in the comments section below.

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