Does your agent "know" the neighborhood?
There is an adage in real estate that you should hire an agent that "knows" the neighborhood. That's 100% true, yes. The question is, what does "knowing" the neighborhood actually mean?
Does knowing the neighborhood mean:
1. the agent lives in the neighborhood?
2. the agent shops at the stores in the neighborhood?
3. insert your quip here!
Let's think about this for a minute. The amount of times "knowing" the neighborhood gets thrown around in real estate is absurd. If an agent lives in the neighborhood or gets coffee at the neighborhood Starbucks, surely that does not qualify them to sell houses in the neighborhood. How does an agent really "know" the neighborhood?
Consider this: if you live on the 3rd floor of your office building, are you qualified to practice law on the 5th floor every day? That seems pretty ridiculous to anyone reading this, I'm sure. What about if you buy coffee in the lobby of the medical office building every day - do you have the skill set to diagnose a sick person? You don't.
So, why in real estate is there a thriving perception that living in the neighborhood somehow qualifies an agent to run a transaction for a $700,000 asset? That's anyone's guess but I would say it's mostly the seller's desire for the agent to be able to connect with the "locals". I'll say, that seller has a misconception about how real estate works in the DC Metro market today. Here's why:
This market is NOT local. It's the exact opposite of local. It's the whole entire world. It's actually a giant international market. On every listing, buyers are looking at your home because they want to live in your neighborhood. But where do they live now? London, China, Australia, Germany, Texas, California, Rockville, Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Silver Spring, Frederick - you name it. They live anywhere. So today, your agent needs to be able to connect with buyers who live anywhere.
An excellent strategic international marketing plan, complete with unique technology tools, to reach the international market is essential. That's only part of the story though. Today's real estate agent must be analytical, data-driven and must have systems and processes to sell homes in any location at any time. The data is out there and available for the agent to pour over, study and present to you. When an agent can produce a CMA and other market analysis that knocks your socks off, that will prove to you that your agent "knows" the neighborhood. Your agent may live in a town you never heard of but you may not sell your house without their technology and their total mastery of market data.