Never has so much information been available to consumers on the residential real estate economy, especially on market trends important to buyers and sellers. Buyers and sellers are self-educating themselves about market conditions long before they hire a real estate agent.
This wealth of information can be confusing and even contradictory, proving once again that there’s a big difference between information and knowledge. Perhaps that’s why consumers want agents who are as smart—or smarter—than they are about market trends. “Knowledge of the real estate market” consistently ranks higher than people skills, technology skills and even negotiation skills among the qualities that buyers consider to be very important when shopping for an agent.
Yet, communicating market smarts is not easy. The most popular tactic the market report, a periodic summary of market conditions based on MLS data. Original market reports require skills and time that few real estate professionals possess. Several vendors help to fill the gap with computer-generated reports that brokerages can purchase and add their logo and email to prospects. These are rich with graphics and data but thin on analysis. While they are better than nothing, they often have a cookie-cutter feel. Unfortunately, mass-produced reports usually lack substantive input from the sponsoring broker, and thus fail to convince prospects of the brokerage’s expertise.
A good branded report:
- Tells readers in plain English what is happening right now in the local marketplace and what to expect in the weeks to come.
- Is truly branded. It contains unique analysis of market trends and includes commentary from one or more agency executives. It is named “the XYZ brokerage report” and branded with the agency’s logo. It reports sides closed by the brokerage as well as the larger marketplace. It invites feedback, with a phone number and email address.
- Contains data so fresh and well-presented that it will make news in local traditional and social media outlets. It drills down into the Zip codes and communities where the brokerage has offices; and
- Builds credibility and SEO by coming out on a regular schedule, preferably monthly.
It’s easier to justify the expense of a branded report by using it in many ways, including:
- Issuing a news release with each report to local and regional traditional news media and local real estate blogs;
- Pushing out an emailing to customers, clients and prospects;
- Posting an article on the brokerage’s blog;
- Reaching referrals by posting in Active Rain and RealTimes.
Brokerages who put the effort into good, branded market reports will find that they pay off in many ways. Clients and customers who understand local market dynamics make better home buyers and sellers. Buyers are more likely to know a good deal when they see one and sellers will have a better idea if their house is priced competitively. Best of all, even a small or mezzanine brokerage can position itself as a market leader when it becomes a trusted sources for the latest local market trends.