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Learn From What We Preach?

When you have a license that is valid in an entire state, it’s very tempting to work a broad area in order to increase your customer base.  However, just as we tell our clients that they should consider location when purchasing a property, maybe we as Real Estate Professionals need to use that same thinking when choosing the area we market ourselves in.

When in Rome, Do What The Romans Do

As probably most of us have encountered, working in an unknown market for the first time can have unexpected challenges.  Different showing customs, forms, closing rituals, and even lockbox/MLS systems can make doing your job frustrating at best and at worst a costly to your client.  Also these differences can cause tension between the agents/brokers involved which can add to the stress of creating a smooth transaction.

Time IS Money

I know I’m going to be a lot of fire for this but why work a geographic area that is far from you home and office?  Time spent in the car is rarely productive (especially since many states have banned texting/emailing while driving) and expensive in terms of gas and wear/tear.  Today’s consumer wants availability and can tell when you are juggling having to travel a way to meet them.

Disclaimer

I am not saying that you have to work the area immediately surrounding your home/office.  However, if you are planning a large geographic area system should probably be put in place systems to maximize your time management and customer service.  Consider a policy where prospects who are interested in areas you are not knowledgeable in be given the asked to be referred to someone in the local area if they are not comfortable with the face that you do not work their target area regularly.  IMO things like these are a win win and put our industry in a better light.

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Written By

Matt is an Real Estate Broker and Consultant from Northern Virginia. He is always looking for new ways to make the industry more efficient and consumer-oriented. Matt is a social networking junkie who can be readily found on Twitter and Facebook.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Joe Loomer

    July 21, 2009 at 9:16 am

    Matt,

    I think it depends on your area. You being in Northern VA, you have a vast assortment of areas, counties, subdivisions, townships etc. to consider.

    Here in Augusta, an area known locally as the “CSRA” – or Central Savannah River Area – we have a population of roughly 540,000. It is much easier to become extremely familiar with most areas – including historic landmarks, places of interest, shopping centers, crime statistics, school reputations, etc.

    I have actually broadened my horizons in this market to work areas I did not focus on before. It required some study, but nothing too intense. USDA loans, for example – are in use in our area, and there are funds available to military members who lose money on the sale of their properties. Things I did not know about before, but studied up on to ensure I had something of value to propose to the new client base I was courting.

    Just my thoughts – I think all real estate is local, so when in Rome….

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  2. Marie Kratsios

    July 21, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Matt, I agree with you to a point. I live on the north shore of Long Island and I wouldn’t pretend to know what I was doing in, say, The Hamptons. Even though we are in the same MLS area and I’m out in the Hamptons most weekends, the truth is, as you suggest, there is a lot of local real estate “knowledge” (things you couldn’t find out on the internet, etc) that would probably be leaving my client at a disadvantage. On the other hand, there are areas 20 to 40 minutes south, east and west of where I am–same MLS–that have their own “lockbox” customs, showing procedures, even offer procedures. Would I show property in these areas? Sure! Take a listing? You bet! But I agree with you–having a plan is essential.

  3. Matt Thomson

    July 21, 2009 at 10:11 am

    I’m in full agreement with you, Matt. Our markets vary so greatly in just a 30-45min. drive that it’s a disservice most of the time to work much beyond that radius. I’ve found that getting a $1500 referral fee for placing a client with a truly local expert often feels a lot better than a $5000 pay check for struggling with a distant sale. I’ve also found that with the number of referrals I’ve sent to neighboring KW offices, I’ve become “The Guy” in Gig Harbor and our immediate surrounding area. It’s not an even ratio, but I’ve gotten several referrals back, and my $ per hour sure looks better. It’s just another form of leverage in my opinion.

  4. Ken Brand

    July 21, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Thoughtful post. Here’s my 7cents.

    You can’t “represent” a client in an area you don’t know. If you do, it’s not “representation”, it’s chauffeuring or mutual adventure seeking with unpredictable outcomes.

    If you don’t know the area/market, refer it or invest the time to learn it before you maim someone’s real estate dream.

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