In my daily travels and interaction with consumers, friends and family, I'm constantly asked about the state of the real estate market. I've come to the conclusion, that this is a question about the greater economy, and people generally tend to gauge economic healthiness, by what is going on with homes.
The next question that seemingly comes up is "What area do you work?" My answer in the past, was usually that I work all over, in an effort to appeal to everyone and anyone. In recent years, I've made an attempt to narrow that focus. That focus has grown, and frankly, it's probably in the best interest of the real estate professional and the consuming public.
Seller And Buyer Benefits
Narrowing the focus of ones area, allows an agent to have a firm grasp of that market. We can work in any area. With technology as advances as it is, we can pull comps and area information within a few minutes. When we specialize in an area, those comps are off the top of our head. Furthermore there is a decent chance, we have been in the properties (or ones similar) to the home a buyer or seller might inquire about. This contributes to a more precise knowledge, which benefits the consumer.
A distinct understanding of the area may also help a consumer avoid problems, only an agent familiar with the community would know. For instance, perhaps the agent has sold several homes in the neighborhood that has foundation issues. Often, a builder might have a design flaw, or questionable reputation. Sometimes that knowledge can only be acquired by an agent who works the subdivision.
In The Agents Best Interest
There are several reasons an agent may want to specialize in a particular area. Perhaps you live in a large city, and choose not to drive all over town showing property. Or want to join the ranks with *normal* jobs, that get to work near home.
Furthermore, agents who work in a specific area get the reputation for being the expert, and can get referrals. Another agent may feel comfortable referring to an agent, who thoroughly knows the area, in a way they never could.
It Can Be Done
The topic of focusing on an area came up in an education class I had last year. The instructor reported, that one of the most successful agencies in the country specializes in condominiums and lofts in downtown Philadelphia. Their website, marketing, and business focus is geared towards that city's burgeoning downtown.
Not every city sees the growth in building as downtown Philadelphia. But certainly, an agent can use demographic data, and mls information, to spotlight an area.
We like to talk about localism here in the Rain. If we combine narrowing our focus, with hyper-local blogging, we can truly become thought of, as the area expert. The public will see that we aren't just the real estate person, but a trusted adviser of life decisions.
I get referrals that choose to look or list in different areas of my city. Unless the target property is far outside my scope, I work with the client, as we do in this business. But my marketing and focus, particularly my blogging, is becoming more targeted towards areas in which I choose to specialize.