This article was updated on February 24, 2021.
Think about what you look for in a new neighborhood. It could be information about the safety of your community, the schools in the area, and traffic on the block. Prospective homebuyers want the same intel. Sure, they can search for this information online. But as a small business or real estate agent, you're positioned to give context to local information. Being knowledgeable about your area sets you apart from other local real estate agents and makes it easy to generate referral leads from happy clients. Forty-one percent of buyers seeking a new home choose to work with a real estate agent who was suggested to them by someone close, according to the National Association of Realtors.
If you are a local real estate professional, really take the time to learn about your buyers and get to know your surrounding area. Since many prospective buyers will turn to a realtor that they've been referred to, it is especially important to be a knowledgeable local agent that is an absolute expert. Aside from creating a real estate website for prospective buyers to find you, it's also essential that you work to make a name for yourself within your local real estate industry.
How do you turn yourself from a newbie to a neighborhood expert who potential clients will trust? Here are 6 tips for marketing yourself as a knowledgeable local real estate agent:
- Live like a local
- Study the demographics
- Connect with local business owners and key individuals
- Leverage social media
- Utilize virtual open houses and appointment only walkthroughs
- Be a media resource
Live like a local
Exploring your neighborhood and talking with business owners is a great way to learn. You get to know the traffic patterns, property types, location of coffee shops, and the best grocery stores. Not every local tip can be found online. As a local agent, it is your duty to take note of which restaurants provide a great dining experience. Observe which parks are full of people. Know which coffee shops don't have a line. Other than helping you link potential customers with ideal homes, you can identify the unique selling points of the area when talking to a prospective client. Such delightful nuggets of knowledge make it easy to market a property.
Study the demographics
A neighborhood expert understands who comprises their clientele. For instance, know whether homeowners are millennials or senior citizens, or whether there are families or young professionals. Once you understand demographics, you can use this neighborhood information to craft a pitch that suits your target clients.
Demographics also inform the channels you will use to market your business. If the main demographic is a younger generation, for instance, social media will be a great way to reach out to this digitally savvy group.
Connect with local business owners and key individuals
One of the best marketing ideas for agents is to build your contacts. You can deploy recommendations to prospective homebuyers when they ask for a contractor, roofer, plumber, inspector, landscaper, or any other ancillary service that a homeowner might need. The connection goes both ways: likewise, you'll be top of mind when your contacts recommend a real estate agent.
Meet local builders and note their work. While this will offer you some insight on new building trends, it will also increase the chances of becoming the real estate agent of new construction. Also, don't forget to network with members of local homeowners associations. Connecting with HOAs helps you learn the pain points of a neighborhood. Equally, it showcases you as the go-to local real estate expert if one of the members were to sell their home.
Leverage social media
Social media platforms for real estate agents is another great way to reach potential clients. By using social media, interacting with people becomes effortless. Set up social media profiles for your real estate business, and include your business logo and description in the profile. Join local social media groups to learn more about developments in the neighborhood.
In case someone has a real estate issue you can help with, chime in with insights. Get your comments visible. You can offer tips, such as how to find mortgage lenders, local open houses, and even where to find a garage sale.Becoming a Neighborhood Sponsor on Nextdoor can help agents like you showcase your local market knowledge and earn the trust of the neighborhood as real estate expert. With Neighborhood sponsorships, you can get your name in front of neighbors in the ZIP codes where you do business. Share upcoming open houses and helpful everyday real estate tips to neighborhood conversations. Knowing Nextdoor members are verified residents of the neighborhood means you know the people you are talking to are locals who may be potential home buyers and sellers. The more you interact with Nextdoor neighbors online, the more visible you will be and the more they will see you as an expert real estate agent.
Utilize virtual open houses and appointment-only walkthroughs
Open houses have long been used to spark curiosity in your home, attract potential buyers using a wide net, and secure bids. However, in the advent of COVID-19, options for open houses are severely limited.
Or are they?
Virtual open houses and appointment-based walkthroughs provide real estate agents creative ways to discover (and land) the perfect buyer. If you’re considering either of these options, here are some things to keep in mind:
- COVID-safe environment – If you’re offering appointment-based walkthroughs, be sure to follow the CDC guidelines for safety and cleaning. These guidelines include social distancing, cleaning commonly touched surfaces, and providing plenty of airflow by keeping doors and windows open, among others.
- Invest in technical support – You know how important first impressions are in real estate. When you’re hosting a virtual open house, be sure to rent a high-quality camera and consider hiring a cameraperson to navigate the halls with you, allowing you to speak without worrying about angles and shot locations.
- Provide value whenever possible – Now is your time to shine and to demonstrate your expertise about the market. If you’re hosting virtual tours, be sure to collect email addresses upon signup to send follow-up information afterward. Or, ask for feedback using Google Forms. Not only will this drive engagement around your home, but it will also show you what information buyers are seeking—allowing you to prioritize what value you provide.
- Focus on high-quality leads – Open houses often attract a lot of low-potential buyers (people who are simply curious to see the insides of a local neighborhood home). When people sign up for an appointment walkthrough, or when they invest their free time in a virtual tour, they’re likely more invested in the homebuying process. Take advantage of this by treating each opportunity as a high-quality lead.
By engaging buyers where they are, providing them value, and safely offering them a similar experience to pre-COVID days, you’ll distinguish yourself from the competition.
Be a media resource
Getting your name in the local news can be a great way to establish yourself as a local expert.
Identify real estate media personalities, whether they work for a magazine, blog, newspaper, podcast, or TV station. Send them an introductory email to offer yourself as a resource for future news pieces. You can point out a news piece or blog article that caught your eye, and maybe offer your opinion on it, to create the right rapport. Reporters like having subject matter experts on speed dial when working on a deadline.
These tips will help you grow your brand presence in the neighborhoods you operate. By integrating into the community and establishing yourself as the local expert, you'll build the recognition and trust you need to become the agent of choice for potential clients.
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