The agent’s guide to learning a real estate market
Whether you’re a brand new agent or moving into a new area, here’s how to hit the ground running so that you can position yourself as the market expert.
There’s so much noise out there on how to navigate a challenging market. This April, let Inman help you cut through the clutter to make smart business decisions in real time. All month long, we’re taking it Back to Basics and finding out how real estate pros are evolving their systems and investing personally and professionally to drive growth.
We talk a lot about showing up as the most knowledgeable expert in your market, but we don’t always talk about how to develop that knowledge. Over time, as you work your way through a variety of transactions, you’ll develop plenty of insights — but when you’re first starting out, it can be tough to build your market muscles.
If you’re trying to get up to speed and stay there, these 11 strategies will help. From in-depth research to interpersonal relationship development, you’ll show up as a true top-of-mind professional.
Preview local listings
There’s nothing like boots-on-the-ground experience to help you build your local authority. Pictures and video tours only tell part of the story, so visiting local listings is essential. That’s how you’ll find out what seemingly great bargains are actually problematic, and you’ll learn how upgrades and updates can impact perceived market value.
Communicate with your SOI
Your sphere of influence (SOI) isn’t just there for you to write notes to during the holidays or market at on a monthly basis. By reaching out to them, you’ll get a feel for the vibe in your local market. You’ll give people the opportunity to ask you their real estate-related questions, which allows you to share your knowledge, identify potential leads and plan your content marketing topics.
Stay up with local media
From the real estate section of your newspaper to popular local bloggers, it’s important for you to spend time staying au courant on your market. Don’t forget to think beyond the real estate section to identify economic and employment trends, new commercial developments, and up-and-coming dining and entertainment venues that might impact residential demand.
Seek out local real estate groups (online and in person)
Real estate investors, Facebook neighborhood groups, historic home tours: Any of these can help you connect to people who love the area and want to stay informed about the local real estate market. Get involved, and spend some time listening and learning before you jump in with a sales pitch.
Study the MLS
Digging into the local MLS will allow you to learn about your area’s current, past and upcoming inventory, home prices and features, trends and more. Put together reports that you can use in your listing presentations or to identify a likely target for your geographic farm.
Connect with local business owners
As a real estate professional, you are a business owner. You need to run your business like a business, so it’s important to connect with local business owners and entrepreneurs. Your conversations will tell you about more than just who’s buying or selling. They’ll tell you about economic and job trends, marketing strategies and community news that needs to be on your radar.
Connect with the local real estate association
Whether you join the Young Professionals, sit on committees or attend training events (or do all of the above), you’re sure to get a lot out of working closely with agents and brokers at your local board. This is where you’ll have the conversations that could set you up for success far into the future.
Attend local government meetings
Zoning changes, building permits, business licenses: Any of these could lead you to your next big opportunity. By attending city council and county commission meetings, you’ll have a sense of who’s doing what in your market and have a front-row seat to the decision-making process that could change everything in the neighborhoods you serve.
Volunteer with local service organizations
If you want to do good while doing well, join a local charitable organization, volunteer in the schools or coach a little league team. You’ll meet people, help people, raise your profile and show how much you care about your community — while feeding your spirit at the same time.
Identify a real estate mentor
Maybe it’s a family member, a member of your brokerage or an older friend in the local real estate community — there’s nothing as useful when launching your business as connecting with someone who’s seen it all before.
By connecting with and regularly meeting with a real estate mentor, you have someone to walk you through the tough times, make introductions and offer encouragement for every stage of your professional journey.
Network regularly with local agents
Whether they work with you at your brokerage, sit across from you at the negotiating table or interact with you at association meetings, it’s vital for you to connect with and stay in touch with agents who are working in your market.
Take them for coffee, invite them to lunch, or make plans to attend a training together. You’ll develop friendships while also setting yourself up for co-listing and referral opportunities. Connect with those who are uber-connected, and you’ll always stay abreast of what’s going on in your area.