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3 Questions about Becoming a Neighborhood Expert

April 18 2014

neighborhood cityYou've heard before that you should establish yourself as the "Neighborhood Expert." But what does this really mean? Why should you do it? And, more importantly, how do you do it? Let's answer these questions.

1) What does it mean?

When we talk about becoming a neighborhood expert we mean that you should have specialized knowledge about a specific area of your community. You should understand the current real estate market conditions in that area – the price trend in the neighborhood, the level of inventory, average days on market, current transaction activity, as well as demonstrate market conditions that might impact real estate values in the area. Can you be a neighborhood expert in every neighborhood in your city? Perhaps, if you live in a small enough community. Most likely, you're only an expert in several neighborhoods.

2) Why do it?

Today's consumers are increasingly skeptical about the value of real estate agents. Advanced technology, belonging to a well-respected brokerage, and impressive stats (such as high list-to-sell ratio or fewer days on market) are a few ways to demonstrate your value. Becoming a neighborhood expert is another.

3) How do agents accomplish it?

There are two different considerations here: actually being the neighborhood expert and being perceived as a neighborhood expert. Becoming a neighborhood expert requires you to study an area carefully, looking at present and past real estate conditions. Market analysis tools can help you do this. Other than recommending that you immerse yourself in an area, study the stats, and talk to homeowners there, there's not a lot more I can tell you about becoming a neighborhood expert. You simply have to put in the work and the time.

As far as perception as a neighborhood expert, I have a lot more to say. There's a lot you can do to build your profile:

  • Create a blog devoted to real estate in that neighborhood. Post about new listings, market statistics, news, points of interest, restaurant reviews – all in the neighborhood.
  • Create a website devoted to real estate in that neighborhood. Include only listings in that area.
  • Network with homeowners in the neighborhood and other real estate professionals, discussing your specialization in that neighborhood. Get your name out there!
  • Aggressively prospect for listings in that area. The more listings you represent in an area, the more believable your claim as a neighborhood expert will be. It's a matter of optics. When someone drives through the neighborhood and they see an overwhelming number of yard signs with your name and logo on them, they're going to assume you know what's up in that neighborhood.
  • Use video.

Let's talk about this last bullet point. I recently had the opportunity to review Market Videos – a collaboration between Terradatum and VScreen. During the demo, I couldn't help thinking that this tool would be a great way to establish oneself as a neighborhood expert.

In case you haven't read my review, here are the basics: Market Videos use market statistics from Terradatum to provide the snapshot of a specific area (defined by the agent based on zip code, neighborhood, etc.). The statistics are presented in an engaging video format and the videos are updated each month. The videos can be embedded on your website, uploaded to YouTube, circulated via email, and shared on social media. By creating video about a specific neighborhood and distributing the heck out of it, you're providing valuable information to current homeowners in the neighborhood, prospective buyers interested in the neighborhood, and everyone in between.

Are you a neighborhood expert?

How did you accomplish it and establish your reputation? Share your techniques in the comments below. Thanks!