5 Ways to Promote Yourself as the Local Expert Without Looking Foolish

Real Estate Agent with United Real Estate Partners, LLC LA #0000042692

More and more agents every day seem to be looking towards some type of specialization as a way to:

  • Gain a competitive edge over other agents in their marketplace, and
  • Increase their value in the eyes of consumers (who have more information at their fingertips now than many agents did twenty years ago).

A growing number of agents are focusing their entire businesses on a very defined geographic area-- or on a particular type of property or type of client. 

An even larger number are simply developing a “special area of expertise” within their current businesses. 

Without a doubt, the most popular and common form of specialization in real estate is to become the local expert (or neighborhood expert or neighborhood specialist—the particular language doesn’t matter as much as the common focus).

Oh, so you are the local expert? Cool!

 As I’ve mentioned, there are considerable advantages to this (many more than most agents think, but that’s a post for another day). 

There are also risks.

Whenever you decide you’re going to stand out from the pack by labeling yourself as “different,” or maybe even in some ways “better,” there will always be a few skeptics, and a few who will actually try to knock you down.

But there are ways to both profit and protect yourself… if you follow a few simple rules. (It’s worth mentioning that these rules apply whether you aim is to be the local expert or the historic home specialist or to promote yourself as working only with “buy and hold” style residential property investors.) 

1) Limit the Claims You Make. (They Must Be Believable.)

There’s not really a hard and fast rule here about how “big” your claims should be (or not be), but they have to be believable. So, if you’re thinking of billing yourself, say, as the “expert” in Dallas, TX real estate, well… good luck with that.

If you’re going to credibly claim to be a local expert, you need to limit your claim in some logical way—maybe to a specific neighborhood of a few thousand homes or to a particular school district. 

The same goes for other types of specialties. In some metro areas, which have many miles of oceanfront or lakefront property, even claiming to be a waterfront property expert may be far too broad. It’s best to go a little smaller than you’re comfortable with here than to stretch too much, since it’s fairly easy to “expand” your expertise later. 

Of course, you do have to make sure that there are enough sales each year in the area or niche you’ve chosen, so that you have a reasonable chance of meeting your production goals (but that’s a different topic).

2) Share Interesting Stats and Little-Known Facts About Your Area (and Have Some Fun with It!)

Better to be a big fish...

Once you’ve settled on your area or niche, have some fun and start digging deep… and this should be fun, if you’ve chosen an area that you really like and are interested in. 

Make a game of digging up little-known facts and local history, of monitoring media mentions, and of researching stats about your area that most other agents aren’t likely to have a clue about.

It’s your area. Own it!

By the way, this works especially well in conjunction with points #3 and #4, below, and produces great tidbits for sharing on social media.

This is also one way you can quickly discover if you’ve made a mistake about the area of town, or other specialty, you’ve chosen.  If doing this type of thing feels brutal and boring, you should do yourself a favor and bow out now. 

No potential amount of money or prestige is worth it, if you’re not very interested—or better yet, downright passionate—about what you’ve chosen to develop as an area of expertise.

And if you don’t have that interest or excitement about what you’ve chosen, the chances are very high that you’re not going to stick with it long enough, or focus on it intently enough, to really make it pay off for you anyway.

3) Demonstrate Your Expertise through Content Marketing.

Content marketing, such as blogging, allows you to share small “samples” of your expertise with prospective home buyers and home sellers. This also helps you to build authority (influence and respect) in your local marketplace or among your target market.

Even if you’re still learning about your specialty (and really, who isn’t?), just pick one narrow subject or topic, learn all you can, and write about it. Then pick another and another and another, and keep repeating the process. 

And, of course, blogging isn’t the only form of content marketing. There are many. And for maximum reach and effect, you should ideally be using several forms. I talked a bit about some of these other types of content marketing, here:

7 Ways to Use Old Blog Posts to Attract New Clients

4) “Borrow” Some Expertise and Authority by Interviewing Other Local Experts.

Interviewing can be fun!

One of my favorite ways to create content is to interview other experts. There are a huge number of advantages to doing this, including: 

• Getting your own questions answered, 

• Getting other smart professionals to help create some content for you,

• Bolstering your authority in the marketplace through the “power of association,” and

• Positioning yourself as a comprehensive resource for your area or target market.

In fact, there are so many advantages to doing this I felt compelled to dedicate an entire post to it: 

Interview Local Experts for Unique, Client-Attracting Content

5) Freely Admit You Don’t Know Everything.

This one is huge. And it’s often one of the first and biggest mistakes of the “fake-it- till-you-make-it” proponents.

Do you know the person among the crowd discussing a subject who is usually the first to admit when they “don’t know” something about the topic?

The real expert! Often, it’s the fakers who expend a lot of time and energy trying to convince you that they know everything.

Typically, the more you learn about a subject, the more you realize how much more there is to learn than you ever thought there would be. And sometimes, more than you ever could learn. This is usually a humbling experience.

By the way, this is also good news!

No, I’m serious… And I’ll let you in on a little secret here. 

A good part of demonstrating real expertise in something (and the respect and authority that can come with it) consists of three things:

  • Knowing what you know and what you don’t know about the subject, and being honest about that (with yourself and with others).
  • Knowing the right questions to ask when approaching a situation.
  • Knowing where to look and who to ask to get the answers to those questions, if you’re not able to answer them yourself.

I’m betting that you can do that, and you can (and should) feel confident about it.

And guess what? When you appear calm and confident, prospects and clients feel calm and confident about you.

Follow these five tips, and you’ll be well on your way to achieving real authority status in your marketplace--- and all the profits and perks that come with it!

[Image #1, Credit: Tommy Schultz. Used with permission.]

[Image #2, Copyright Mark Anderson. Used under license.]

[Image #3, Credit


Do you currently specialize in a particular part of your town? Or in a particular type of property or type of client?

Have you ever thought about developing a "special area of expertise?"


Comments (89)

Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi Craig, excellent post.  We try to know our neighborhood and to "know our numbers".

Sep 07, 2013 01:11 AM
Ron Aguilar
Gateway Mortgage Group - Saint George, UT
Mortgage & Real Estate Advisor since 1995

#5 is my favorite, people like you to reveal your warts it makes you human

Sep 07, 2013 01:56 AM
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

Great post. I like all the points you made but #1 & especially 5. Without 5 nothing else matters.

Sep 07, 2013 02:08 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Great advice - I especially like the wisdom in #2 - choose a niche you feel passionate about. No amount of potential income is worth it if you just don't care about the people, homes, or area you're targeting. 

Sep 07, 2013 02:08 AM
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

Really great advice! So often we do feel foolish tooting our horns, but these are great ideas.

Sep 07, 2013 02:58 AM
Kathy Seger & Ben Staten
RE/MAX Around Atlanta - Woodstock, GA
Red Hot Atlanta Homes Group

Outstanding information.   Hope to incorporate some of these ideas in my little niche.

Sep 07, 2013 03:54 AM
M.C. Dwyer
Melody Russell Team at eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Felton, CA
MC Dwyer-Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

Thanks for a great read!     

It seems to me that selling real estate within the city limits is relatively easy - their lots are surveyed, their improvements are permitted, they have sewer hook-ups.  And their prices are higher!

But, since I most enjoy working in the countryside,  it wasn't hard to "come out" and say that I specialize in Santa Cruz mountains real estate. I readily handle listings and sales in San Jose and the city of Scotts Valley or Santa Cruz, but sometimes I wonder if my "specialization" limits some of my prospects in the city.

Sep 07, 2013 08:16 AM
Craig Ernst
United Real Estate Partners, LLC - New Orleans, LA

Stefanie, Cynthia - Thanks, and you're welcome. :)

Annett - Gern geschehen. :) And yes, the focus absolutely must be on prospective buyers and sellers and what they'll find interesting and useful.

Karen - Did you swipe my notes for this article while I wasn't looking? :D Seriously, I couldn't agree more with absolutely everything you said. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Stacey - It sounds like you're off to an excellent start. Good luck!

Travis - Video interviews can be very powerful and are definitely a form of content that can set you apart in the minds of consumers.


Sep 07, 2013 12:45 PM
Craig Ernst
United Real Estate Partners, LLC - New Orleans, LA

Jeanne - Well said! That approach truly has no downside.

Bob - Yes, that is definitely where it all starts. :)

Ron, Tom - Glad you agree. In my experience, adding a dash of humility to your attempts to demonstrate your expertise is very effective in building trust.

Marte - Absolutely. So many people make the mistake of going for what they feel in going to be the most profitable area or niche, but most people find in the end that the prospect of money is not enough to really motivate them if there's no inherent interest or passion behind it.

Karen, Kathy - Glad you found the post useful. Be sure to give me a shout and let me know what kind of results you get!

MC - You've hit on what realy trips up most people when they're considering specializing. I think the answer to your question is that you almost certainly are limiting your prospects in the city, but if you're doing a good job marketing yourself as the specialist in the surrounding rural areas, that loss should be more than made up by the increase in business in your area of specialization. That is assuming, of course, that's there are sufficient transaction numbers in the rural areas for your to have a good chance of hitting your production goals.

Sep 07, 2013 12:57 PM
Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster
Maricopa Real Estate Co - Maricopa, AZ
A Maricopa Agent who Works, Lives & Loves Maricopa

Thank you. Perfect timing for me to find this as this is what I'm working on now.  Some very good advice! 

Sep 08, 2013 07:21 AM
Suzi Sandore
RealtyONEGroup - San Diego, CA
North County San Diego Homes

Your post is very timely for me as I have recently decided  on a neighborhood to become the "local expert" in and have been attending public meetings and gotten involved with a community group so that I know what the issues and concerns are for these folks. Being a local expert is much more than just putting out a newsletter with the recent sales straight out of the MLS. I'm having fun with this and enjoying the people I am meeting.

Sep 08, 2013 08:32 AM
Charles Stallions
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pensacola, FL
850-476-4494 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl.

Thanks for some good advice and your contribution to the group as a whole I have worked with most investors and found that to be an enjoyable niche.

Sep 08, 2013 08:54 AM
Jordan Gouger
Keller Williams Realty Inc. - Austin, TX
Helping you to achieve your housing goals!

Craig, this is an excellent post and something that I will refer to frequently. I recently got into a heated conversation the other day with another agent friend of mine about whether it was better to be a specialist or a generalist in real estate. She argued it was better to be a generalist, and I argued that it was better to be a specialist. I think she won the argument, but I will be sure to use some of these points for round 2!

Sep 08, 2013 09:17 AM
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

I like your approach.  It is honest and I think it will build relationships with people.  I often tell people I do not know, but I will find out.

Sep 09, 2013 03:15 AM
Larry Johnston
Broker, Friends & Neighbors Real Estate and Elkhart County Subdivisions, LLC - Elkhart, IN
Broker,Friends & Neighbors Real Estate, Elkhart,IN

Hi Craig,  Well, I don't have to worry, as I will be the first to admit I don't know everything about anything. And what I do know is open for discussion.  It makes good conversation if you sometimes listen. I have found that you will be respected and looked up to more.

Sep 12, 2013 11:17 AM
Allison Bernard
Keller Williams Central Rhode Island - East Greenwich, RI
Real Estate & Relocation Services 401-533-6916

Love the local networking tip serving double duty as content credibility.

Sep 12, 2013 11:51 PM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Excellent post and so informative, thank you!  Wish I had more time to blog about certain unique facts about my area...I will add that to the to do list!

Sep 16, 2013 10:56 AM
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL
Craig, your insight into the whole blogging and social media scene is very impressive. Your posts are gems of wisdom for all of us. So glad you found ActiveRain and that we found you :)
Nov 16, 2013 01:53 PM
Craig Ernst
United Real Estate Partners, LLC - New Orleans, LA

Sharon - Thanks very much for the kind words. More (hopefully) insightful posts coming soon!;-)

Nov 21, 2013 03:53 AM
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

Where are you Craig? It's been a year since you last posted...

Nov 27, 2014 02:16 PM