Do you know your city/town? Do you really know it?

By
Real Estate Agent with Casmi Photography

Recently I had the pleasure of a luncheon with some folks from another brokerage.  Great people that have been in this wonderfully crazy business for much longer than I.  I'm so glad I spent some time with them as I took away a different perspective on the business in general, as well as some tips on how to be a little more successful.

During our conversation I was asked a question that I thought was sort of odd.  "Since you haven't been in this city all that long (only 7 years now) how do you know so much about the issues and the politics?" 

This was odd to me because I can't imagine living anywhere and not knowing who is in power, what their ideals are, what they stand for and what's happening with my tax money!  Then toss in the school systems, health care, hospitals and institutes of higher learning.  When you have digested all that start digging into the emergency services, funding sources,  staffing issues and the alignment of services vs tax dollars

In my mind if you are cognizant of all these issues, aware of the impact each issue has on the neighborhoods in your area, and the direct correlation of services impacting home value then you are outfitted with some tremendous tools. 

 I don't know about your area, but around here one of the first questions a potential buyer asks is, "What school district is the home in?"  Followed by, "What elementary/high school is in the area?"

I shudder to think of the reaction if I couldn't answer these basic questions.  But....there are some agents that can't.  They just don't know - and have never found it to be important for them to know. 

It just makes me crazy when people are apathetic about their surroundings and don't bother to know the area they are trying to market.  For me....it's incomprehensible.  

And during the lunch I also got asked, "How did you get so outspoken?"  For a minute I wasn't sure that was a good thing, but then the person asking said, "A person always knows where they stand with you, and that's a plus!"  I guess my matter of fact take on life hasn't alienated everyone.  :) 

If you are not informed or involved with your local politics, please make the effort to be better informed.  It will only help you in the long run.  You don't have to campaign for anyone, or contribute unless you want to.  But to listen and read up on what's happening in your own backyard is imperative to your success.

All the best to all of us! 

 

 

***images courtesy of Google Images 

Posted by

 

Carol Smith

Casmi Photography

Mebane, NC 27302

919-418-6549

casmiphotography@triad.rr.com

 

 

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Rainmaker
838,178
Chris Griffith
Downing-Frye Realty, Bonita Springs, FL - Bonita Springs, FL
Bonita Springs Listing Agent
I'm pretty sure I know the area better than anyone and although I know city politics better than most, it's not as much as I should know.  
Oct 01, 2007 07:55 PM #3
Rainmaker
387,867
Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!
Hi Carol, This is an excellent topic. When I first came to the United States as a young college student, I was struck by how uninterested my fellow students seemed to be in local affairs, politics etc.  Unfortunately, I think over time, I have become far more lax than I used to be.  One of the most important contributions we make to the process of homeownership is our knowledge base.  If we don't know the basic elements that constitute our own backyard...well, that's a little bit of a problem.
Oct 02, 2007 04:45 AM #4
Rainer
212,227
Carol Smith
Casmi Photography - Mebane, NC

Ulises - For those that 'wing it' when answering a question about an area, they are treading on thin ice.  If they provide inaccurate information and a client finds out then the agents' credibility is shot.  Much better to say, "I don't know, but I'd be happy to find out for you."

Ryan - I used to work in public service and there would be times when citizens would make a complaint.  (Nature of the job.)  My Sgt. always told people that they didn't have to agree with me, but they could never say they didn't know what I thought.  :)

Chris - It's a constant learning process.  And in my area it changes drastically on a daily basis!  

Lola - I think we tend to get lax because we get comfortable.  But in the areas of economics, job creation, housing and tax issues there is no room for 'comfortable'.  Changes take place constantly and if we don't keep pace we will be placing ourselves in a position to appear uninformed and ill-prepared.

Cheryl - Knowing your area is a tool.  Just as important as a carpenter having a hammer, a painter having a paint brush.  You can't do your job without it.

Oct 03, 2007 03:05 AM #5
Rainmaker
218,087
Joan Mirantz
Homequest Real Estate - Concord, NH
Realtor, GRI, CBR, SRES - Concord New Hampshire
How did I miss this one? I agree 100%!! But living in NH...I couldn't escape it if I wanted to!
Oct 09, 2007 04:42 PM #6
Rainer
14,979
Scot Thrapp
Coastal Palmetto Realty - Conway, SC
Nice Blog!  We have to keep updated on all local events, regional, and National events, and really be an expert in the local markets!
Oct 10, 2007 03:41 AM #7
Rainer
212,227
Carol Smith
Casmi Photography - Mebane, NC

Joan - You are too funny!  LOL  Are you saying that us old Yanks can't stay away from the fire? 

Scott - Thank you!  Being armed with information is a powerful tool.  It's a shame more people don't think it important.

Oct 10, 2007 05:25 AM #8
Ambassador
1,554,081
Karen Kruschka
RE/MAX Executives - Woodbridge, VA
- "My Experience Isn't Expensive - It's PRICELESS"

Carol - It is always better for you personally to know "the happenings" inn your town, but it is not always wise to be outspoken about them with clients.  Be especially careful about politics and schools.  Karen

Oct 10, 2007 06:49 AM #9
Rainer
14,979
Scot Thrapp
Coastal Palmetto Realty - Conway, SC
Great post!  We should be experts in the field at all times and know our surroundings!
Oct 19, 2007 03:44 AM #10
Rainer
212,227
Carol Smith
Casmi Photography - Mebane, NC

Karen - If I can't answer basic questions about a neighborhood, what make a buyer think that I know anything about the homes or the prices?  It's pretty apparent that information is the key.  Thanks for your comment.

Scott - Information and knowledge are two assets that we, as Realtors®,  cannot afford to be without.  Thanks for stopping by!

Oct 19, 2007 05:15 AM #11
Rainmaker
1,007,708
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate
Hi Carol:  Sometimes I wonder if I am too outspoken about politics.  I try and keep up with all that is going on in both the local and national polital arena.  Often when asked a question, it's like someone pressed a button on my head, and I just start.  I enjoy the political stuff.  Sometimes here in Fort Worth, though, I have to bite my little tongue at times... <g>
Oct 19, 2007 06:07 PM #12
Rainer
212,227
Carol Smith
Casmi Photography - Mebane, NC
Karen - I have been pretty active in local affairs in the past 5-6 years, so I have had to learn to shutup at times.  It's not a natural thing for me, so it really takes some work!  LOL
Oct 20, 2007 02:42 AM #13
Rainer
19,844
Tina M. Atilho
William Raveis Real Estate - Milford, CT

Knowing the area you specialize in is key!  I totally agree with you.  Agents should know there area of specialty like the back of their hand.  Great post.  Thank you.

Feb 20, 2008 05:21 AM #14
Rainmaker
1,007,708
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate
Awww:  What a cute little graphic of your donkey and your elephant.  Perhaps it was taken when the Kennedy-McCain Campaign Finance Reform bill was written ?  And yes, I know very well.. that shutting up at just the right time... is a talent to be both sought-after and admired.
Feb 20, 2008 05:52 AM #15
Rainer
304,161
Carla Harbert
Full Time REALTOR in Ohio - Brunswick, OH
RE/MAX Omega, Brunswick Ohio
Very professional post, and hey - your pimped your blog! Love it!! I'm going to be updating mine this weekend. How's Toledo? I moved from Defiance Ohio to the Cleveland Area in 2002. Do you network with anyone my way? There seems to be many moving back and forth from Toledo to Cleveland and vice versa.
Apr 14, 2008 01:22 PM #16
Rainer
62,465
Bart Whitmore
Keller Williams- Louisville - Louisville, KY
Real Estate Agent
You had better know your own area, I think clients can tell if you know the area or not---Bart
Apr 14, 2008 01:43 PM #17
Rainer
212,227
Carol Smith
Casmi Photography - Mebane, NC

Carla - Yes - I pimped by blog!  LOL  I'm still tweaking it though.  Playing around with the backgrounds etc.  I haven't had much cause to deal in Cleveland as of yet, but I'm going to add you to my list in case I do.  Thanks for stopping by!

Bart - I have worked with agents that have been in this city all their life and still don't know the neighborhoods.  It amazes me.  I came to town 8 years ago and made it my first order of business to learn as much as possible about the neighborhoods, the people and the politics.

Apr 14, 2008 01:59 PM #18
Rainmaker
1,007,708
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Carol:  You are obviously a very talented Realtor.  Often folks who move into an area are so hungry to find out about that area... that they end up learning so much more about that area... than local folks who have been there all their lives.  Great post... thanks for sharing...

Oct 13, 2008 12:37 PM #19
Rainer
24,048
Michael Hoffman
Michael Hoffman & Associates - Pickerington, OH
CAI, AARE, CES, BAS

I wish I had more time to somewhat stay up on the current events, but I learned a long time ago to leave the news off and spend that time working or doing self improvement stuff instead.  

Now, if I worked in one specific area, I might try harder.  However, in my case I work the entire state of Ohio, so there's no way I could know every area by heart.  Fortunately I carry a Palm Treo that allows me to look such information up in a matter of a few minutes when queried by a potential client.  When I take a listing out of my normal area, I will do everything I can to get up to speed on that property as quickly as possible.  I don't know what we would do without the Internet!

Apr 11, 2009 01:30 AM #20
Rainer
212,227
Carol Smith
Casmi Photography - Mebane, NC

Michael - Thanks for stopping by.

It is hard to know everything about every place, but your situation is different as an auctioneer.

A 'local' agent is expected to, and should, know as much as possible.  When I was in Toledo/Lucas County then that's where I concentrated my prospecting.  I would never consider going to Columbus to list a home, or Cleveland.  I would refer it to a local agent.

Auctions are different animals though.  At least that's been my experience.  :)

Apr 11, 2009 02:20 AM #21
Rainer
24,048
Michael Hoffman
Michael Hoffman & Associates - Pickerington, OH
CAI, AARE, CES, BAS

Yep. We (auctioneers) live in somewhat different world than you do.  I hope you got to know Jade Montrie during your time in Toledo.  He's in the same company I am and a great guy.  

Best of luck in your continued success.

Apr 11, 2009 02:25 AM #22
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