What is a "Neighborhood Specialist"?
Recently, a friend and I were on a morning walk in my neighborhood, Lost Creek in the Eanes School District and noticed a new "For Sale" sign in the front yard of a home. As we passed the sign I saw a rider posted at the bottom proclaiming the agent to be a "neighborhood specialist"! My friend laughed and said, "Oh look, another agent who I've never heard of and they also claim to be a local expert!" I just laughed and shrugged it off but my friend whipped out his phone and dialed the number on the sign. No one answered his call and we continued our walk and talked about real estate in Austin.
Lost Creek is a beautiful area in the hill county of south west Austin. With just under 1,200 homes built from 1978 through the late 1990's and located in the acclaimed Eanes School District. The Lost Creek area is a very popular neighborhood and many agents would love to be THE "neighborhood specialist"! Frankly, even though a couple of agents in my area do more business than others no one really dominates the market and at least a dozen good agents live here. I am told by marketing "experts" that to command market share in any neighborhood an agent must have at least 30% of the market and no one does that out here. I sell my share of homes in Lost Creek and have done so since before we moved here and though I always like to have more business, I am happy with my efforts.
Last night my neighbor called and told me that after calling 7 or 8 times, the "neighborhood specialist" had FINALLY called him back. He started out by asking about the home price, upgrades, taxes etc. which the agent handled well but as my friend began asking specific questions about the neighborhood, local parks, shopping, clubs, schools and other pertinent details, the answers became increasingly thin. At the same time the agent seemed to turn up the pressure on the caller in an attempt to change the subject and clumsily "close" his prospect. At that point in the conversation my friend asked how many homes the agent had actually sold in the neighborhood which seemed to catch him completely off guard. Sensing the discomfort in the pause and before the agent could recover, he took the opportunity to say thanks for the info and tell the surprised agent goodbye!
I have to say that I don't approve of the way my friend wasted the agents time but on the other hand I have even more disdain for anyone who projects themselves as an "expert" or "specialist" in any business in a deceptive manner. When I first got into the business, teachers at the real estate school I attended urged us to "Fake it until you make it!" I never did that because I was afraid that someone would catch me at it and I did not want to suffer the embarrassment and beyond that, it's just plain dishonest! I realize that everyone has to be a beginner at some time but trying to impress others with blatantly dishonest claims of expertise is just going to be trouble in the long run. I urge clients all the time to ask questions and these days with the internet, buyers and sellers are more savvy than ever and often know more about a subject that the person they call. Whenever someone asks me a question, if I do not know the answer, I tell them I do not know but will find out. At the risk of sounding "old school" if you are not a true "expert", don't try and pawn it off on the public! It not only make's the individual agent look bad but the rest of the industry too!
My name is Russell Lewis, I have twenty years experience assisting buyers and sellers in Austin's finest neighborhoods. I am not all things to all people and concentrate the majority of my business in Central, West and Southwest Austin and the Westlake/Eanes School District. If you or anyone you know is anticipating purchasing or selling real estate and would like to learn more about living The Good Life in Austin Texas I would be happy to be of assistance. Email or call my mobile listed below for a private consultation at your convenience!