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It’s no secret: One of your greatest strengths as a real estate agent is your local expertise. But, while many agents may assume they know their community well, there’s a golden opportunity to learn so much more about it if you intentionally educate yourself on the area.
How do you do this? Well, hands-on experiences are my personal favorite. Getting out in the neighborhoods, exploring the local attractions and building a portfolio of your favorite spots can boost your local savviness from proficient to expert.
Here are four ways you can empower yourself as a new agent to level up your local insights and be the resource your clients need.
1. Do your research
If you’re spending all day behind a desk, you aren’t doing your job as a real estate agent right. Work time into your schedule to get out, see the sights and immerse yourself with the greater community.
Try being a tourist in your own community and explore the things people travel to the area to do and see (this is especially valuable for prospective clients moving from other areas or cities).
I also look on local community boards to see what events are coming up and to seek out potential networking opportunities. This is an excellent way to naturally immerse yourself, support local businesses and organizations, and grow your foothold in the community.
Also consider this: How well do you know the various neighborhoods in the areas you serve? When guiding clients through their home purchase, it is crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of each neighborhood and what makes it unique.
As you explore each neighborhood, keep notes of the best schools, restaurants, noise levels, parks, nightlife, parking parameters and other features. Your aim should be to become the local authority.
2. Curate your list
Once you get a sense of the different areas, attractions and general interests, it’s time to start curating your list of favorites. Have a go-to list for each area and include recommendations on dining, bars, movie theaters, concert venues, hiking, gyms, grocery stores and more. Whenever you have an opportunity to see a new local spot, go for it.
This knowledge is incredibly important when touring clients through a neighborhood and when meeting with them face to face. My clients always find it valuable when I have a list of local recommendations ready to go for them; oftentimes, I’ll have it custom curated, printed and ready for them when they move in.
When it’s 10 p.m. on move-in day and they need dinner delivered, they’ll know which restaurants to call. That is a sure way to provide value and drive referrals.
3. Give back
Volunteering your time is not only a gift to your community but a gift to your own business. Find a local cause that speaks to you and get involved. Meet people, understand local challenges and widen your network.
I recommend getting a quarterly give-back day on your calendar in advance, so you make sure to dedicate the necessary time and attention to philanthropic causes.
The Agency makes it easy because they often organize Build Days through Giveback Homes across our marketplaces, so there’s always something worthwhile to put your energy towards. Plus, you get to connect with colleagues and local community members, which is always invaluable.
4. Leverage social media
Ok, so you’ve done your research and you’ve curated your list of tried and true local recommendations. Now, share it. Give your audience a taste of it all on your social media accounts, whether through clever Reels, weekly local highlights, cross-promotion with a local business or just a good old-fashioned grid post.
When you do something in the area, capture the content. Going for a bike ride with your family on the weekend? Get some video. Trying out a hot new restaurant? Take some pics of your beautiful cocktail and dinner and send them straight to your Stories.
Every time you share this kind of content, you are positioning yourself as a local expert, and that is the role you want to take on as a real estate agent.
5. Attend a broker caravan
We do a weekly broker caravan, which is when a bunch of agents throughout our office attend open houses and see what is on the market, check out some competition and mingle with other agents. This is a great way not only to stay connected with other top agents in your field, but it allows you to see what’s selling now and share these trends with your clients.
I always get great intel on design trends, comps and how to throw a great open house. After this, we all meet up back in the office to share feedback on the latest and greatest in the industry. There is no greater way to learn local insight than by getting out on the field and seeing what others agents are selling. This insight will be critical to share with your clients to show you are staying on top of your game.
Gather the knowledge, edit the list and share the word. Positioning yourself as a local expert is a sure way to boost your business, your reputation and your credibility — so dive into your community wholeheartedly and bring open ears, eyes and mind.