Ask An Ambassador: Do You Know The Back Roads?

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Alliance 513.520.5305 SAL.2002007747

The highways are great for travel, until they're not. 

Twice in the last 24 hours the fastest and most direct routes weren't available to us and there really wasn't an option of not going out.  A quick look at the travel app showed back-ups for miles, so we needed a plan B to reach our destinations.

And one of the perks of being a real estate agent is you get to know your way around and know alternate ways of getting anywhere local.  So that's what we did, Plan B last night, and today it was Plan B that morphed into Plan C when Plan B was also backed up!

Most of us probably have our main ways of attracting business (our personal highways). 

Now depending on your strategy those business highways may be pretty crowded.  The Big Semis of the business (ZTR, big brand brokerages, etc.) may take up a LOT of the road, but for the most part they need easy to maneuver roads (Cincinnati homes for sale).

Take those behomoths off the main road and give them some hair pin turns and they'll have trouble handling and staying out of the ditch.  E.g. Cincinnati patio homes may return Cincinnati homes WITH patios rather than "patio homes".

Knowing the back roads provides business opportunity, and plenty of it.

Most of your peers will be on the main highways trying to avoid getting bumper carred by the big portals and brokerages while you're still reaching your destination by working the niches of your market.

It's worth taking a look at your local market and understanding the real estate segments that are main highways and which segments  that may be smaller, but are neglected and offer a large cumulative opportunity for business.

Once you identify the neglected segments, you can assess if there are good fits for the type of housing and clients you want to work.

In our case, low maintenance housing offered that opportunity.

A price point that is higher than the local median.

A customer base that isn't in their first rodeo.

A segment that the 800 pound gorillas of real estate ignored.

A segment that most of our fellow agents had also ignored.

It took a lot of initial work to develop the content, but now it's more or less self-sustaining thanks to IDX feeds.  Update a page whenever new construction wraps up, add new pages as new communities start. 

We're on the back roads, and the scenery is great :)

Until next Tuesday, just Ask An Ambassador if you need help,

Bill & Liz aka BLiz

Posted by

Serving Warren County Ohio & Adjacent Areas


The Liz Spear Team of RE/MAX Alliance
Elizabeth Spear, ABR, CRS, Ohio License SAL.2002007747

William (Bill) Spear, CRS, Ohio License SAL.2004011109  Kentucky 77938
Ask for us by name if you visit the office!

EHO Two locations: Lebanon & Mason, OH
Bill Direct:  513-520-5305
Liz Direct: 513-265-3004     
Fax: 866-302-8418


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Comments (13)

Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

Liz and Bill,

We always know all the back roads regardless of what towns we have lived it...Our freeways gets crazy every so often.  A

Nov 30, 2021 12:36 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

I've enjoyed visiting SoCal over the years, but the traffic!!!
Even when it's bad in Cincinnati, it doesn't even come close to what I've experienced there.

Nov 30, 2021 12:43 PM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Liz and Bill Spear I am assuming you mean new develoments GREAT IDEA 

Nov 30, 2021 05:33 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

New developments, subdivisions, communities, whatever the preferred term is for any given market.

Nov 30, 2021 07:19 PM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Bill- I remember when you decided to take the road less traveled and it paid off!  Good analogy. 

Nov 30, 2021 05:41 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

It was an accidental discovery, but once we decided to go with it, it has definitely paid dividends for us.

Nov 30, 2021 07:19 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Love the analogy! I do have to add, in terms of actual maps, that the pink roads on atlases (I'll have to double check the color) may not be a good back road to take. Interesting, yes. Safe, maybe not. Once on a vacation in southern Montana, we saw a route that would shave off a lot of miles. So we took it. We should have paid attention to the sign we saw a few miles in warning about 4WD required and no access in winter. Then the road turned to gravel. Then it got skinny. No place to turn around for 30 miles and no guardrails and big huge drops if you go off the road. Holy moly. Sometimes those back roads might be attempted or even used, but only once - it's time for a different strategy next time!

Dec 01, 2021 04:58 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

There are some similar roads near my parents' home in West Virginia.  I did the "miles shaving" trip once coming back home.  ONCE.  The net was a lot longer drive then sticking to the main roads :)

Dec 01, 2021 05:08 AM
Brian England
Vacasa - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

I had to jump off the zoom call early yesterday but I saw you had a question and wanted to wait to hear it.  The points you made were spot on and I agree that they have the essentials working well for us and even though it seems to be taking longer than we would all hope for, I have confidence that eventually, ActiveRain will once again be the place to be for the real estate industry.

Dec 01, 2021 05:04 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Brian, The fact is we as a site now have access to a team of developers who are reacting when the red flares go up about a problem.  For the most part, they've been addressing things that make our day to day lives in the Rain smoother.  Some things get forgotten (e.g. the map issue), but once brought to their attention we know that they'll be addressed.

Dec 01, 2021 05:10 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Bill(and Liz too) - understanding alternatives can prove so valuable.  Solutions may not make problems(or issues) disappear but times can certainly become less chaotic.  Better organized?  More Analytical?  Think of the possibilities when we get off that rocky road.  

Dec 01, 2021 05:50 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Much of our business comes down to understanding alternatives for us and our clients.  A home not available in the preferred subdivision?  What's next best?

Dec 01, 2021 07:09 AM
Michael Jacobs

So true.  

Dec 01, 2021 07:12 AM
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

What a great post Bill!  This is so right on.  I've followed a lot of backroads or scenic routes which I call them, over the years staying in touch with my SOI, some very different but very fun with awesome results, time after time.  Always be open to plan B, C, D whatever it takes. And make it fun too.

Dec 01, 2021 03:15 PM
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, Phoenix Broker

Bill we just took a huge 'detour' today and OMG we are so glad we did.  the results are awesome!!! had nothing to do with roads but rather real estate!

Dec 01, 2021 03:23 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

You just never know what a detour may bring us, good or bad.  But it sure beats being stuck on the highway moving 2-3 mph!

Dec 01, 2021 03:18 PM
Matt Brady
Finance Of America - Del Mar, CA
One of San Diego's Best Lenders

As a lender, our priority is to have resources that can navigate every road condition. Big banks may be able to drive down the highway, but you need me if you go offroad or hit that hairpin turn. I really enjoyed your anaolgy. 

Dec 02, 2021 07:59 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Liz and Bill Spear - Oh, how I wish I had a reliable navigation system to stir me in the right direction when I'm off course. Back in Chicago, before I was driving, my dad taught me which direction was East (Lake Michigan) and he explained mapping using different modes of transportation and how to get home from any dirction in the radius I would likely be. Plus, he taught me about how to get home using the sun at various times of the day. Of course, he was a sailor and had a boat. Back then, I never got lost.

Here in Texas, I get lost a lot! When I first moved to TX, I drove on Belt Line for about nine hours and kept going the wrong way. I had no idea that Belt Line was 91.96 miles and it's a complicated road. Driving from DFW to Austin, there's only one sure way I know how to get there. I tried the backgrounds twice and it was spooky. I prayed I didn't have an auto emergency. Then once, I had a listing in a very hilly, dry climate area of Texas that reminded me of Colorado. My navigation system told me to take the high hill and when I got to the top, it ended there. There was no way down, just a big, rough drop off into crash land. I ended up driving backwards all the way down and couldn't make a 3-point turn. I thought I was going to die! 

I still have a lot to learn!

Dec 02, 2021 08:52 AM
Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska - Kearney, NE
Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940

Great analogy! 

I have (and always will) traveled the backroads since I was old enough to drive...I know (almost) every road within a 100 mile radius and have put over 60,000 miles on those less traveled country roads in the past 3 years. 

That knowledge served me well this year as they resurfaced numberous highways in our area. Flag car and backed up traffic? NO problem...go north 3 miles and turn east and you will come out on the other side of the project...or just drive gravel the whole way. (2nd choice usually won).

I also often travel the dusty backroads of my mind...both for work (oh yeah...there is the turn by the big white barn with the tower next to it)...and also for pleasure...maybe a memory that comes floating back to the forefront as I drive down certain roads.   Or the..."oh...I wanted to say Hi to Bob and Chris...maybe they have the coffee on" kind of thoughts brought to the front by seeing something along the road.

The truth is....there is a ton of business on the backroads....some great people on the backroads....and almost no competition.  And thankfully...very few city agent ego's.

Yes I will reluctantly list a home in town...but Darling forget Manhattan and give me the countryside!!

So much to see and business to be had when you don't have to keep looking forward 100% of the time.

Dec 03, 2021 07:08 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Mike, My mom is from a backroads only place in West Virginia.  There's a many a story of an out of area truck driver not knowing the roads and trusting their GPS to then find out "you can't get there from here if you're in a semi". 

We're moving in about a year and I'm going to have a lot of new back roads to learn, although with bridges over the rivers limited, there's still only so many ways to get from A to B.

Dec 03, 2021 07:27 AM
Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska - Kearney, NE
Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940

Ahh...the bridges .... yes...if anything slows me down it is the many rivers in Nebraska and having to drive say downriver 5 miles to go across and then back up 5 miles to get to where I am going...but everytime I see the changes or something new or wildlife or even a farmer on the road who I can chat with.  I definitely work to the beat of a different drum.   I know you will enjoy knew adventure next year!!

Dec 03, 2021 07:46 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

I'm looking forward to the views from the mountaintop across the Shenandoah River valley.  A lot of history in the area I'll be able to explore and a lot of back roads.  Some I know from visits to my in-laws over the years, but still a lot to learn.

Dec 03, 2021 08:44 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Liz and Bill - those back roads of our business make all the difference.  Reminds me of Robert Frost's poem, "The Road Not Taken."

Dec 04, 2021 07:29 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

One of my favorite poems from my high school days.

Dec 05, 2021 05:43 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Bill:

This is an excellent analogy for our business, but of course with some literal truths about finding alterative routes in real life.


Dec 04, 2021 01:43 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

Technology makes it a bit easier to plan.  I-71 is on our back property line so we can sometimes see the traffic stopped behind us and know that our usual route might need to go Plan B or C.

Dec 05, 2021 05:44 AM