- You can become the neighborhood expert and make headway in that direction relatively quickly.
- Your top pick neighborhood might or might not be a good use of your time and energy.
- Have a plan, and put in the time.
As a new agent business strategist, I get asked this question all the time: “How do I specialize in (insert neighborhood here) when the neighborhood is so hot?” My response: It’s doable if you put in the time and stay consistent. It’s not a one-time push; it’s a long-term strategy, and you must form some habits around it. Below, you will see the best path to get started at becoming a neighborhood expert.
Your favorite neighborhood might have low turnover. I would hate for you to put a ton of time (and maybe money) into an area where few homes sell. Some other things to avoid include a neighborhood that is geographically too far or too big or not knowing anyone who lives in the area.
An area where you are already knowledgeable and that fits your lifestyle is your best bet. Not only will it be easier and convenient, but it will also be more believable, and your friends and sphere will be interested in the topic.
Some brokerages have limitations on what neighborhoods they allow you to specialize in. I personally have always found that to be an odd business practice. Being an expert versus actively farming the area are two different things. Know if your brokerage has any limitations around this.
Visit in-person and often
Set up an automatic search for yourself so you have same-day information on exactly what is going on in that neighborhood. Look at every single home for sale in person the same day it goes on the market.
Post photos of the coolest ones (outside shots or views only — inside shots of someone else’s home are not appropriate) and get people talking about them. Form the habit.
Be a statistician
Run a CMA that shows price differences for every sub-sector (market within a market); north of Main Street, south of Main Street, single-story versus two-story, condo versus single family, new construction versus resale, elementary school A versus elementary school B, etc.
Post interesting data on Facebook. Run those same CMAs for 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. Post the trends on Facebook and have them available at open houses. Always know the stats in that area. Form the habit.
Know your builders
You must know every single new construction option in the area. Talk directly to the builders, know their products and ask them about their next project. Be the expert.
Post a bunch of this on Facebook on a regular basis. Here’s a sample post: “I have personally visited every single builder in South Town this past week, 17 of them. I logged 237 miles and put in 26 hours. If you know anyone who is thinking of building, call me.”
You must stand out. Treat this as if you were writing a master’s thesis on the neighborhood. When someone walks into your open house or mentions the neighborhood, and you start talking about the area, you should knock their socks off with your in-depth knowledge.
Host lots of open houses
Do as many open houses as you can in this area. If allowed by your broker, use your own personally branded directional signs. Invite your friends and the neighbors.
Start blogging about the neighborhood. And not just about real estate, blog about everything else. Topics might include best restaurants, zoning issues, school events, what’s up with the castle on 23rd Street, new businesses, history, best parks, where kids eat free, what’s happening with tax valuations, etc. Form the habit.
Get involved in the community
Community involvement especially works if you live in the area, and you have the interest. Sponsor a local sports team, volunteer at a food bank, revitalize a park, adopt a highway — get involved.
Engage on social media
Facebook is a huge tool for you to build your reputation among your sphere. If you are posting about downtown or new construction all the time, your friends will know that it’s your wheelhouse. And keep it interesting.
Often it is the funny or stupid things you encounter that attract the most attention. “Look at this puppy I rescued in South Town today!” Or “Is this wallpaper from the 70s or what?” Or “OMG, coolest pool ever!” Form the habit.
Yes, this will all take time. Right away, take the time to put in six hours of analysis and six hours of looking at property, so you sound like a rocket scientist when talking about that neighborhood. And then keep it up.
Everything I described so far — it’s free. If you’re planning on doing mailings, find a few blog articles on farming, and be very careful how you spend your money. Personally, I think you’ll get more traction with all the free stuff. I am a big fan of free, especially for newer agents.
Work harder than the competition
Think there are too many agents with a stronghold in the area? First, is that fact or perception? Second, there is always room for talent.
Yes, dominating a neighborhood is doable if you are strategic and truly put in the time. If you are going to specialize, you must form habits around it.