THE "HIRE A LOCAL AGENT" MYTH
One of my competitors is fond of telling visitors to his office that his real estate office is "open year-round". He also tells customers that they should always "hire a local agent".
Last Friday, I was in Bayfield, Wisconsin for a closing and afterward I took the Madeline Island Ferry to LaPointe. I arrived on Madeline Island at around 3 pm and stopped by a few competitors' offices. Guess what? Not one of those real estate offices were open. Nope, not a single one.
I called one of my competitors, who also happens to be a friend of mine. I left him a voicemail message, asking about one of his listings that a client of mine is interested in seeing. Guess what? I didn't get a call back from him until today.
Okay, c'mon now. If you're going to represent yourself as somehow being morally superior because you're a "local" or because you claim to live "year round" on the Island, how about actually being reachable on a weekday?
I suppose if you have nothing else to recommend working with you, there's always the "hire a local" thing.
I think this "hire the hometown team" sales pitch is a pretty weak argument for promoting oneself to the public.
As you've probably guessed by now, I am not a "local", but I've owned property on the Island for a couple decades. And my real estate office is in its second decade on Madeline Island. I pay plenty for property taxes and other fees here.
I'm a city kid. I'll admit it. I live in the Minneapolis area western suburbs and spend most of my summers on Madeline Island. It works well for me, as a large percentage of my clients also live in the Minneapolis & Saint Paul metro area. Besides, I need Chinese food and bus exhaust and a Broadway show once in awhile.
I know the Island well. I'm a homeowner and a commercial property owner and I've been spending my summers on the Island since the 1980s. But I'll probably never be accepted as a "local". And that's okay with me.
I opened a real estate office on Madeline Island because I met buyers who were looking for the same standard of practice from their agent that they had become accustomed to where they come from, where they live and work. And when we opened our office, that seemed to be a need for that standard of practice in our little corner of northwest Wisconsin.
Today, that degree of service and professionalism seems to be even more in demand. And I believe a successful real estate agent today needs to be much more than just a "local" in order to meet those consumer needs.