Want to become the unofficial mayor of your neighborhood? HighNote’s Mark Choey says that market dominance starts with in-depth local knowledge and all-in commitment — and outlines a three-step plan to achieve it.

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This post was last refreshed Dec. 16, 2022. 

No matter what it’s called, many top producers find success by selling in a specific neighborhood or geographic area. In a large city, this could mean specializing in a specific block or even a single building.

Being the unofficial mayor of the neighborhood often leads to market dominance.

That was my situation when I was selling real estate in San Francisco’s South Beach (SOMA) area. I was “the agent” for the largest condo building in San Francisco, The Infinity Complex (two towers, 41 floors and 650 units).

“Dominating” a neighborhood isn’t for everyone, but doing so can help focus your business and set you apart from other agents. Here are some tips to help you get start started.

1. Know all about the neighborhood

Become an expert about everything (and everyone) in your neighborhood.

  • Know the people: Know the makeup of the people who live in the area. Are there mostly singles, young couples with kids or downsized retirees?  
  • Know the homes: Know everything about the neighborhood’s sales — the average listing/sales price, length of time properties stay on the market, average turnover time, special zoning laws, etc. It’s also helpful to know the mix between renters and owners, and which homes have been remodeled or updated. 
  • Know the local shopkeepers and vendors: Make them love you, as they are a great source of referrals! Ask for discount coupons to include in client welcome packages.
  • Know the news: Become the source of local news in the neighborhood. Are there any streets being paved? New stores or restaurants opening up? Important school news? Bonus points for being the first person to know as well.

2. Talk up the neighborhood

Not only should you know everything, but you have to be visible and tell everyone, too.

  • Attend or host or organize neighborhood events: Attend local block parties, barbecues, etc. Host a school supply or toy drive/swap.
  • Celebrate listings and sales: Hold a “twilight” open house during the week for the neighborhood. Consider hosting a goodbye party for your clients who just sold their house or a welcome party for new buyers.
  • Be active on NextDoor or the neighborhood newsgroup: Send informational updates and alerts. 
  • Spread the news: Send out a quarterly newsletter with relevant information — events, activities, school calendars, new stores or restaurants, vendors, etc.

Here’s a picture of me towing a cool Climb-branded AirStream trailer. We made a big deal of our open house, had a lender to provide refreshments and got to know a bunch of neighbors! 

3. Become part of the neighborhood

I moved into the Infinity when it opened. I felt that if I could “own” the Infinity, my brokerage, Climb Real Estate, would own the South Beach neighborhood. And if we owned South Beach, we would own San Francisco’s District 9. And with District 9 poised to explode, we would quickly become one of the city’s top brokerages.

The Infinity was (and still is) an absolute stunner: two gorgeous, curvy, emerald-green glass towers commanding the San Francisco skyline — when the sun shone on it just right it looked like a shimmering gemstone.

Nothing makes you more visible than being a resident, and I estimated that 25 percent of the reason why I won a deal was because I lived in the complex. 

  • Everyone should know what you do. Always wear some kind of logo-wear letting people know that you’re an agent. I carried my open-house signs back and forth to my car every day and made sure to get off at and walk different floors. Since I was immediately identifiable as an agent, people would ask me questions about the building and local real estate.
  • Connect with the property management company. I made sure to get to know everyone at the property management company and offered my help and support.  

Owning a neighborhood takes time and commitment, and you need to find one that works for you. Once you do find the right “spot,” don’t hesitate to go all in, be creative and make it “your own.”

Mark Choey is the founder of HighNote Labs and co-founder of Climb Real Estate in San Francisco. Connect with him on Instagram or LinkedIn.

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