There is currently a big rush to become the ‘neighborhood expert’ among real estate agents and companies. Debates dominating headlines on industry news sites like Inman are even arguing what it takes to be qualify as a neighborhood expert. The most recent headline kicks back at those that have sung the praises of big online listing directories and declares “Neighborhood expertise are what real estate consumers are really looking for.”
However, is this true? Can we be sure that consumers are really looking for an individual who is an expert in a certain region?
Where Real Estate Agents Are Getting it Wrong
One Texas real estate agent recently acknowledged that “consumers really don’t need us to find a house…but what we as real estate agents still have to offer the consumer in a real estate transaction is local market knowledge and expertise.”
Some might wonder if this concept is being argued as a desperate plea. Don’t get this wrong – in-depth local market knowledge has incredible value. However, if that’s your only card, it may not be worth all that much. This is especially true when dealing with local buyers and sellers. Real estate agents aren’t going to win points with neighbors by insulting their knowledge. Bragging for hours about how much you know might just put them to sleep or have them pulling the fire alarm.
Inside the Mind of the Consumer
Neighborhood experts get chosen, but not for the reasons most think. That’s why most real estate agents fail miserably with this strategy. Neighborhood experts are chosen, perhaps most often because of their visibility and real estate marketing skills. Some would argue they show they are the local market expert, but there are certainly super knowledgeable experts that are never discovered and those that may know a lot less are doing well for themselves.
Most consumers want to work with someone that is successful. More experienced home buyers and sellers will want a reliable industry expert – one that will shoot straight with them, jump hurdles and work hard.
The Bottom Line:
Being the neighborhood expert is better than not being the neighborhood expert, but real estate agents better have more to draw on. After all, it’s not that hard. With all the data available today, you could essentially become a neighborhood expert in hours. To really separate yourself from your competition, you need to be familiar with the entire market. More importantly, predicting the market.
When it comes to winning; visibility, market savvy, negotiation power, transparency, values, and great service will help you significantly. If you have these down, you don’t have to sell anyone – they’ll come to you.