Remy Bernstein is the COO of Longneck & Thunderfoot, a brand publishing company with offices in New York City, St. Louis, Mo., and Bilbao, Spain. A founding member of the Columbia University Startup Lab, he previously worked in the editorial departments at Publishers Weekly and S&P Global. A guest expert for TBG's PR Stars Program, Remy specializes in content, digital transformation, and brand marketing strategies. He is also a regular contributor to publications such as Entrepreneur, business.com, and Social Media Today.
Think Local or Go Extinct
Gain business and set your brand apart by showing home buyers and sellers that your company is an entrenched neighborhood resource.
December 4, 2017
Looking for a lucrative real estate strategy? Start local.
In the past, real estate professionals had something their clients didn’t: an in-depth knowledge of what properties are available and exclusive access to valuable statistics to help potential buyers make informed decisions.
But now, the internet has made all of this real estate information publicly available—access to listing prices, property ownership history, and other property data is readily available to buyers. They can search to find information on zoning, location, price, and floor plans.
Credit for the public’s newfound real estate savvy is primarily owed to companies such as realtor.com® and others that are helping people access data that homeowners would historically have had no idea how to find, much less interpret, without an expert’s guidance. By breaking housing data out of the MLS (not to mention complex, hard-to-navigate municipal data portals), they’ve put the house hunting power in the hands of consumers. Reonomy—one of the best-funded CRE tech startups—is another great example of a user-friendly platform that lifts the veil of commercial real estate for investors.
With thousands of listings at their fingertips, many potential buyers no longer feel that they need an agent to do the footwork for them. Does this signal the end of traditional real estate sales? Hardly. But it does mean that to survive in the digital age, brokerage owners need to fundamentally rethink the value they provide to consumers.
Even while these changes put pressure on brokers’ margins and traditional revenue streams, they also create major opportunities. As people move to new cities—or even across metro areas—they need access to real estate data and lists of available properties, but they also need the human touch (and on-the-ground insight) of an agent who can help them choose a great neighborhood in which to purchase a home.
That’s why, for today’s real estate professional, it’s so essential to think local. Intimate knowledge of a local market—the block-by-block kind that can’t be found in a spreadsheet or searched for in an online portal—has become the new value-add for savvy agents. Brokers who are able to communicate their company’s community knowledge and agents who can share their insights on local trends will see success despite the changing landscape of the industry.
Brokers should embrace these consumer-centric changes and focus on branding their business as a go-to hyperlocal resource. Become your neighborhood experts and get your message out there in your marketing, and you’ll be surprised by what a big impact staying local can have on your bottom line.