Understanding local real estate data can separate the pros from the wannabes. Teresa Boardman explains how her evening bike ride turned into a lesson about the words consumers are hearing most about the market.

Now is the perfect time to be the expert and help people navigate your local real estate market and make sound decisions that they feel good about.

The national media reports on the housing market every day, but real estate is also local, and national trends are not hitting all markets the same. There are also numerous local reporters who are reporting national numbers on the local news. Those national numbers do not always reflect local trends.

Tell them what they want to know

A real estate professional does not tell clients or agents that the real estate market is shifting and recite two-month-old national numbers. Real estate professionals answer questions and impart meaningful information to help people in their local market.

The real estate market is always changing locally and nationally. Nothing stays the same; the pace of change speeds up, and it slows down. And, depending on the location, there are seasonal variations.

We can separate the professionals from the wannabes in real estate by their use of the word “shift” and other vague words and phrases that do not impart any useful information.

The experts and professionals know their market. They know how long it takes to sell real estate. They understand which types of housing and price ranges are the most popular at the moment.

A real estate professional will understand how the market has changed over the last few months, if it has changed, and will act accordingly. They’ll even try to look ahead and watch for changes in the economy that may affect the housing market in the future.

The professional agent, broker, or industry leader is a source of actual numbers and real information and avoids using vague generalities when someone asks about the real estate market.

When agents or clients call, the real estate pro answers their questions or responds to the question after doing some research to find the answer. They go beyond the generic and drill down to the local.

Make those stats last

When looking at national housing statistics, it is nice to know that home sales went up by almost a whole percent month over month but it is even more important to understand that in your own market they fell by 15 percent or rose by 5 percent.

Clients need to know what is happening now and, possibly, what happened during the last half of June, as well as what is likely to happen during the rest of July and the first half of August.

People who want to know what their house will be worth in five years or even next year should consult a fortune teller.

Stating that the market is shifting is a good fallback to prevent those awkward silences. Agents who really do know what is going on can offer advice based on real numbers and actual current knowledge of their local market.

Know what you are against

Understanding who is buying real estate in your local market is important. Are your clients competing against corporations and cash buyers?

Clients and agents need to know who they are competing with so they can develop winning strategies. Knowing what mortgage interest rates are is useful, and so is understanding various loan programs, financing options and down payment assistance programs.

In a market where there are generally more real estate agents than there are homes on the market, it is more important than ever that real estate agents distinguish themselves in the marketplace.

Avoid using the same old meaningless tired phrases and start filling in details and facts when talking to clients. They are more interested in knowing what the average days on market are for a house like theirs in their neighborhood than they are in vague generalities.

Choose your words

My bike ride last night took me past the home of one of my favorite clients. She was out in the yard, so I stopped to chat with her, which was the highlight of my day. The conversation drifted toward real estate, and she told me that the housing market has been “crazy.”

Describing the market in those terms is exactly how someone who isn’t a real estate professional might describe it. She used last year’s meaningless word to describe the current real estate market.

I am not sure how I would respond if someone asked me which is better, a crazy market or a shifting market?

It is a good thing that I have more tools and resources at my disposal than a couple of meaningless words or phrases to help clients and real estate agents navigate a unique and always-changing local real estate market.

Teresa Boardman is a Realtor and broker/owner of Boardman Realty in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is also the founder of StPaulRealEstateBlog.com.

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