"STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND" OR...Why do Local Agents lose their Local Focus???
"All real estate is local"...is a well recognized and well understood statement about real estate in general.
Yet the idea of "Local" has been lost just recently, especially as agents attempt to "capture" more business by casting their nets ever further from the local markets. The lure by the likes of Zillow and Trulia for agents as they try to get their feet in the door of an area they know nothing about---(which is in keeping with the reputation of these "Wise guys") has captured a certain type of agent who has no qualms about stepping in as an expert into a foreign market. Zillow and Trulias's comparables are totally off the mark and so are the agents they put out there as experts in an area! It's like a mid-island appraiser coming out to the Hamptons and using MLSLI as a source of comparable properties! ....It Does not compute!!!..But that's another blog post yet to come!!!
IS THIS INTRUSION ON LOCAL MARKETS A MAJOR TREND FOR THE LONG TERM??? I think not!!!
Thanks mostly to an ever greater number of agents in this profession and to the difficulty in getting sales to come together because of cautious buyers, many agents spread their nets into the wider "ocean" from which to fish for business. It has been happening here in The Hamptons for years now--It all started with a huge ego of a city agent who thought she could come out here and throw her weight around as she does in the Manhattan market. Meanwhile, this individual had no clue about zoning laws, setbacks or surveys!!!...She had one heck of an "awakening"!
This "Intrusion" has brought Manhattan agents, Long Island agents and even California agents here to "sell the Hamptons"!
I view this INTRUSION as a watering down of local business and of the real focus needed right now by good local agents. I refuse to follow that call, even though it was recommended by my management to go further afield to sell and list properties! No thank you; I will stay right here and sell what I know best!
"LOCAL IS, AS LOCAL DOES"
....and to be a "local" here in the Hamptons usually means you have moved here. I know 3 agents who are real locals--the rest are transplanted here from New York City.
I am a transplant to the Hamptons; I moved here full time from Manhattan in 1997. Now, I am thought of as a "local" because I have embraced the local history, the local color and activities that make The Hamptons what they are. I have become knowledgeable about the local preservation groups and laws, the museums, the parks and reserves and all the activities and "Places to go for fun here in The Hamptons"
People who end up buying a home from me, or those who list their homes with me, can relate to me because of that--They look to me to help them adjust to the new way of life if they have chosen to move here full time.
Good, soild and accurate Local Information does not come from the National News media! On the contrary, if you listen to the National news about real estate you would never buy another house, ever again!
The impact of National news on local real estate markets is significant to the homeowners who really need to sell in this tumultuous market. The National reports make it sound like the housing market is filled with foreclosures and they forget to mention that the high-end, or any home over $3,000,000 is selling better than ever, here in the Hamptons! Why are buyers buying again? Because the buying public now believes they are getting good value again...it has taken 3 years to get the point across and now they know! ...No thanks to the National news reports, however!
Meanwhile, the National News is such that the average home buyer--those who want to pay under $1million, get the feeling that they must wait to get a really good deal. They think that the market is going to go down even more and THEN they will buy.
National News sources are doing a great dis-service to those homeowners who really want to sell, or who NEED to sell.
So, Local knowledge and local data is critical right now to stabilize the housing market; we need to have the facts, monthly, in front of the public so that they know with assurance that the market IS good, that people ARE buying and prices ARE edging up. The public LOOKS to us for this valuable data; and they use it to determine their selling or buying patterns!!!
The market here, although not "red hot" has improved so much since the recession ended that it is wrong to say we are still in a slow market! Prices are up for the Q3 by about 14% and we have sold 1/3 as many homes over $5mil this year more than 2010! I myself compiled a list of sales for 2011, year-to-date and uncovered the fact that we sold a total of 120 houses since January of 2011, in Southampton alone. We sold 62 houses in Southampton Village only, since January, 2011.
THE KEYS TO THE "KINGDOM" are a handful of things to keep in mind as you approach your niche markets to specialize in them:
- Knowledge about a market-place--Both real estate and general information/activities
- Local zoning and building laws--knowing and sharing this information as you work with someone is crucial to making a sale
- Local schools and their activities in a given area--make sure you know the academic standing in the communities
- Local historical and neighborhood information with good demographics
"STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND"
Nothing turns off the buying public more than agent who mis-represents themselves in a market place that they are totally unfamiliar with! ....and buyers can tell if you are faking it, so don't even try!
And, to all those who think that it is wise to try to identify yourself as an agent in a market that you are not completely familiar with, your career in this business will either end very quickly or it will become a place of misery as you attempt to become what you are not: A Local Expert!!!
**ALL INFORMATION AND CONTENT IN THIS BLOG IS ORIGINAL TO PAULA I. HATHAWAY
Paula I. Hathaway, Senior Broker Associate, Douglas Elliman Real Estate
Southamtpon Village Real Estate Specialist since 1995; Also Specializes in North Sea, Noyac, Water Mill and Bridgehampton, New York
Diamond , Gold and Chairman's Circle Awards; Top Producer since 2005
Click here to see my Hampton's website to see all my listings; please email me or call me for all your real estate needs in Southampton, Bridgehampton and Watermill: http://www.elliman.com/paulahathaway
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