I recently had the opportunity to meet with a couple that had found one of my websites not long ago.
They had decided to visit our area, the Southern Outer Banks, and compare it to some other places before they picked a spot to retire close to their two kids, one of whom lives in Alexandria, VA and the other in Columbia, SC.
The day before they met with met, they drove around a little on their own. They mainly hit our main highway, Route 24 and idled down Front Street in nearby Swansboro.
The route they took is pretty what most people from out of town do when looking at the area. Sometimes after doing that, they ask, "Where do all the people live?"
That's a question I will answer in a moment or two.
My couple showed up for the meeting and said they didn't really want to waste much of my time because they had pretty much decided that our area was not for them. Of course that's when I found where they had been.
After we went through an explanation of agency, I asked them if they would give me thirty minutes to change their minds?
They said yes and two hours later, they couldn't stop talking about what a wonderful area western Carteret County is.
I had shown them where people live, tucked into beautiful neighborhoods near the water, around golf courses, and scattered in small subdivisions throughout our pine forests.
There was no magic to what I did, I just drove them through the nice neighborhoods that I have learned since becoming a Realtor®. As we were driving along I pulled a few flyers from boxes so that they could get a feel for pricing.
I also managed to show them many of things they were interested in, areas to bike, our fitness center, library, community college branch, local medical facility, a great local restaurant for a reasonably priced meal, and a whole bunch cattle egrets since they are birders.
In the end we only looked at one home and that could have been a disaster. I stuck my MLS card in the lock box and about half a cup of rusty water came out while there were no lights to signal any life in the lockbox. Two days ago we had a quick visit by Tropical Depression Gabrielle She delivered two inches of rain in just a few minutes. The lock box must have somehow gotten positioned right where all the water would come off of the porch roof.
I was about to give up on showing the home and head back to the office when a gentleman who was planting trees next door came over and introduced himself. He said he had a key would be glad to go get it. While he was gone I explained that the gentleman was the owner and developer of the subdivision.
My customers were impressed that the developer was out landscaping his homes. I made the comment that most people in our area are used to working with their hands and no strangers to hard work. It is actually one of the things I like about the area. There are plenty of real people here, not just retired folks or people who can afford million dollar sand castles.
Later my clients thanked me over and over for showing them the real area. They promised to come back as they narrow their search.
While I am really excited about the amount of information that clients can get from the Internet and visiting an area on their own, it is also good to have a reminder that most areas are hard to explain just by looking the Internet or casually driving through.
You might be able to get a picture of a subdivision from the Internet or see what an area looks like from the main road, but providing a real understanding of a place is where we humans can still add value.
It is good we haven't been completely replaced by Google maps and computers.