To Become a Master of Your Market - Ditch the GPS!

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

GPSLast Thursday, we did a little show in the SWS Virtual Studio about Mastering Your Market for Fun & Profit. The format was that my guest and I (thank you, Chiara Petro!) took turns sharing our tips for Market Mastery and asked the audience to vote on their favorites.

(I wrote about the Favorit-est Tips here.) 

By far, the most favorit-est tip was to “Leave the GPS at home.” 

Here’s why you might want to do that. To become a true “master” of a market or neighborhood, you need to be able to get TO it and THROUGH it, and understand how it fits into the Big Picture of the area, without relying on that little computer on the dashboard to guide you.

When I started selling real estate in Denver in 1996, we had no choice but to learn our way around town, or risk looking like idiots when we put buyers in our cars. And that knowledge served me well, very well, throughout my career. To this day, I can draw a fairly accurate picture of the City and County of Denver, placing all neighborhoods, major cross streets, parks and shopping districts. I understand how the neighborhoods, highways, attractions and commercial districts relate to each other geographically which gave me tremendous credibility and confidence when talking with buyers about their location preferences and needs.

The funny thing is… now that I don’t live in Denver and I don’t sell real estate anymore, I have no clue how the town in which I currently live is put together. After more than two years here, I still need the GPS to get to Walmart, the health food store and the dog park. If someone tells me they live “west of downtown” or “north of I-10,” I have absolutely no mental picture of where that might be. And if I were trying to sell real estate here, that would drive me nuts.

One of my definitions of being a Master of Your Market is that when someone tells me where they live, I can mentally “place” their home on a map and have a reasonably accurate idea of what their neighborhood is like. If you’ve been relying on your GPS to navigate your way around town, it’s likely that ability and familiarity will never fully develop.

So, as you’re working toward Mastering your Market, try it the old fashioned way. Yeah, it might be a bit frustrating and take more time, but you’ll be glad you made the effort, I promise.



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Comments (8)

Phil Leng
Retired - Kirkland, WA
Phil Leng - Retired

Hi Jennifer,

I am going the other way.

Yesterday I was showing, and I had my car gps PLUS my ipad working to get us there. Sometimes in more rural areas, I have my phone, car and ipad all working together! If any two of them agree, I am somewhat certain of getting there...



Jun 17, 2012 10:03 PM
Bruce Hicks
Best Homes Hawaii - Honolulu, HI
Your Best Hawaii Realtor!

Before Real Estate and in my early 20's, I drove almost all the streets, little dirt roads, sometimes even private drives of Oahu more like wanting to 'discover', so today 30 years later, I can drive without a map or GPS.  In general, my wife and I can even drive all over the BIG ISLAND, MAUI and KAUAI.

Jun 17, 2012 10:06 PM
Barbara Michaluk
Weichert Realtors | Silver Spring, MD Phone Direct 240-506-2434 - Silver Spring, MD
Leisure World Specialist / Full Service REALTOR

Although a GPS can be very helpful, a basic knowledge of the neighborhood is required.  Quite ofter the GPS sends me the wrong way when common sense tells me different.

Jun 17, 2012 10:09 PM
Bobbie Smith
Stroudsburg, PA

Good point. It is helpful to be able to mentally visualize the area your Buyer would like to be within.

Jun 17, 2012 10:18 PM
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

I've lost track of how many calls I've received from agents saying they were lost trying to find one of my listings following GPS directions. Sometimes they were driving around nearby towns of Leesburg or Waterford looking for one of my listings in Lovettsville. And I actually do write accurate instructions in the MLS and it says " Lovettsville" at the top of their MRIS print outs, but they still want to use those GPS gadgets and get themselves lost.

Jun 18, 2012 12:29 AM
Kathryn Maguire (757) 560-0881 - Chesapeake, VA
Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach

But don't ask me to give up my Route4Me app on my iPad that helps me determine the best route to take when viewing multiple listings!  I could not do without that!

Jun 18, 2012 12:36 AM
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

A few years ago, when I was preparing to close down my real estate business, I considered a few different people to refer clients to... one of the deciding factors in my NOT choosing a particular person was the fact that she laughed about how she relied on her GPS to get her from house to house IN THE NEIGHBORHOODS  SHE SPECIALIZED IN. To me, that shot her credibility with me, especially considering that Denver, Colorado is pretty easy to learn and navigate. But my main point of the advice to Ditch the GPS doesn't have as much to do with whether or not you use it with buyers in the car, but as a way to force you to better understand the geography of the market you serve. 

Jun 18, 2012 05:12 AM

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