It’s a mantra that every trainee estate agent will be told: you must become an expert on your area.
Possessing a comprehensive knowledge of a neighbourhood will instil confidence in those that are buying or selling from you. Plus, being aware of the specific streets that are in demand could put you in a really strong position; allowing you to contact households on a speculative basis.
Here are some top tips on how you could become an expert on a neighbourhood…
Explore first hand
First things first, you need to physically get to know the area so get out there on foot and explore. A bit like how a taxi-driver learns ‘the knowledge’, you should become familiar with the sort of property that is on offer, when each was built and what it most recently sold for. Learn the street names and discern the various parking situations. Wandering round first hand will enable you to determine the area’s main selling points, too – perhaps that it’s on a main train line or has a great leisure centre.
Be the buyer
Imagine you were moving into the area – what questions would you have? Jot them down, then go out and find the answers. Your questions might refer to the performance of local primary schools, where the nearest GP or dental surgery is situated and whether the area receives a strong internet/ mobile connection? By positioning yourself as a buyer, you can come up with considerations that might otherwise have overlooked, enabling you to increase your local knowledge even further.
Use the internet
There is so much information to be gleaned for the world wide web, it’s sometimes hard to know where to start. Websites you should keep abreast of include those of the local council, which will communicate any changes or developments and the Office for National Statistics, where you can search for information on a specific postcode, such as crime, eduction and healthcare statistics. Additionally, police.co.uk provides information on anti-social behaviour and the outcome of crimes committed.
Networking is key. Speaking to local business owners and influential community leaders can be hugely valuable. They will probably know a lot about the area and what’s going on, which is all information that they can share with you. Plus they could also act as a very useful source for referrals, passing your name on to their patrons. Attend residential or council meetings to meet local people and ensure you’re well-informed on the latest news.
Maintain your knowledge
While it may seem a bit of a bind, it’s crucial that you keep up to date with your knowledge of the neighbourhood, as things change so quickly. Read the local papers, check the council website, go to meetings and ask contacts to let you know when anything happens. Track the local housing market so that you can quote trends at a moment’s notice when a potential buyer drops by.
Short of moving into the area yourself, the above steps should help you to become an expert on a neighbourhood and a respected professional into the bargain.