There are a number of ways to establish yourself as a local expert as you begin your real estate career (see our tips on how to become a real estate agent and our guide to the typical day of a real estate agent). However, one major way to get yourself started is to practice geographic farming.
Just what is geographic farming?
Geographic farming is the practice of focusing on a specific neighborhood or area for the bulk of your business. You learn everything there is to know about the neighborhood the general culture of its residents, and you set yourself up as the local real estate expert. Anytime someone in the area needs real estate services, they should think of you.
How do you get started with geographic farming?
As you start the process of geographic farming, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind to ensure that your efforts are rewarded and well-spent.
Choose a location
First things first – you’ll have to pick a location to focus on! Especially as a new real estate agent, it’s a good idea to pick a location that’s relatively close to where you live and/or work. This will cut down on commuting costs and will allow you to come in with at least a basic level of understanding of the place to begin with. It’ll also be much easier to network in an area where you might already know a few of the residents personally. Make sure you take the time to do the research on your local market before you make your final decision, as there are a number of other factors that also come into play when picking a good location. For example, make sure the area has clear boundaries, is large enough to sustain your business, has solid average sales prices, and isn’t already overrun with local real estate agents.
Research comes into play both before and after you pick a location. Plan to do some preliminary research as you narrow down your focus and select a neighborhood (see above). But even after you pick a location, the research isn’t over! Once you select your spot, it’s time to get to know it in detail. What are the residents like? What are their interests like? You can use this information to market to directly to their interests and to set up better communication with them from the start. Is there a neighborhood association? What does a typical family look like? All of this is valuable information so you know how to best advertise yourself to your potential clients. You’ll also need to do further research into the housing market of the area, so that you’re able to not only market yourself as a local expert but actually serve as and be a local expert.
Introduce yourself and set up a plan of consistent contact
Once you’ve selected your neighborhood and done your research to position yourself as the local expert, it’s time to make yourself known to your future clientele! You can start by introducing yourself, through something like a post card or a newsletter. Keep it short, pretty, and interesting, while showing right away that you 1) care about the neighborhood and 2) know your stuff. Make it personal and professional so you stand out as the local expert from day one. But don’t stop there! Continue to follow up with residents weekly for at least a few weeks, and spice up your methods of contact. Offer freebies, like local coupons and free post-its or notepads, and write up newsletters with insight into local real estate trends. Make your points of contact an opportunity to encourage residents to associate your name with offering value, even before they’ve signed up with you.
Set up open houses
The art of the open house is a new real estate agent’s best friend. Once you’ve acquired a local client, make sure you take the chance to do an open house. People love getting insight into their neighborhood’s market value and will be curious to explore, thus giving you yet another chance to network and make contact with your potential future clients. Plus, they’ll be meeting you in your element so you’ll have plenty of room to shine and make your mark. Make sure you accompany this with newsletters giving updates on local listings and sales. This will help people feel more in the loop with their neighborhood, and they’ll thank you for it!
These tips are just the beginning of all the fun and creative ways you can establish yourself as the local go-to real estate agent through the practice of geographical farming. Stay tuned for Part 2, in which you’ll learn even more great tips to become recognized as the local real estate agent that goes above and beyond for their clients and their neighborhood.
In the meantime, click below to download a complimentary real estate license exam practice test, and get started on your real estate journey!