12 Tips to Position Yourself as a Local Expert
February 9, 2023
Whether you know it or not, you are likely an expert at something beyond basic real estate skills. For REALTORS®, that something may be their city, a neighborhood, land parcels, lake or beach properties. Some are experts for certain type of clients: first-time homebuyers, military or corporate relocations, or developers. Whatever the area of expertise you may choose – or may choose you – here are 12 steps to become and position yourself as an expert:
Earn the Labels
- Become a REALTOR® – Only real estate agents who are members of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and adhere to the NAR Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice earn the label REALTOR®. The distinction tells your clients you’re a dedicated professional who will work in their best interests.
- Earn Designations – A REALTOR® expert likely specializes in one or more types of real estate transactions and there’s probably a certification or designation for that. Among the most popular recognized by NAR are: Accredited Buyer’s Representative® (ABR®), Seller Representative Specialist (SRS), Graduate, REALTOR® Institute (GRI), Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), and Seniors Real Estate Specialist® (SRES®). The letters may look like alphabet soup, but clients see them as expertise.
- Learn – Continuing education is not only a licensing requirement, it’s a survival tool for REALTORS® in an ever-changing market. Participating in continuing education opportunities through your local, state, or national association equips you as a knowledgeable leader.
Know the Market
Sure, you know the stats, streets, and schools, but are you ahead of the game in what’s on the horizon? To really know a specific market, make it your business (literally) to zoom in on the people and institutions that shape the area.
- Research – Invest time in researching and analyzing the market. Experts know the numbers and the people.
- Visit – Make a point of visiting every new listing in your area of expertise – preferably as soon as it’s listed. Feature interesting new properties on your social media platforms immediately.
- Attend meetings – School board, zoning/planning commissions, chamber of commerce, city council, and county commission meetings are time consuming but are a wealth of information. These local government agencies have the greatest influence on the market areas where you do business. Your presence will give you a heads up on decisions that may affect your market. You’ll also have the opportunity to know and network with other community leaders.
Clients and the community need to see you as an expert. Look for opportunities online and in person to link yourself with the market where your expertise can shine.
- Maximize social media – Join and participate in community social media groups like Facebook, Instagram and NextDoor. Often, issues surface on social media before they get to decision makers.
- Keep it local – Share upcoming events, shoot a video featuring your favorite places, and feature local people so potential clients can get a feel for the community or area.
- Be a guide – Create a neighborhood, city or area guide for potential clients. Feature the history, interesting facts, and current scenes that would interest buyers.
- Volunteer – Community organizations like the YMCA, United Way, or civic clubs are always happy to have new members. You will be giving back and investing in the community while learning about its challenges and possible solutions.
- Promote others – Spotlight local businesses and professionals on your social media platforms. Good business relationships pay off with client referrals.
- Promote yourself – Develop relationships with local media and don’t overlook those free tabloids and magazines. Reporters need sources on local markets and neighborhoods. Why not you?
Here’s a bonus tip: Once you become an expert, don’t stop learning and seeking opportunities to deepen your roots in the area you’ve chosen. Real estate markets, communities, and clients’ needs can change quickly. Knowledge helps you adapt so you can survive and thrive.