Know Thy Neighborhood – It really does matter

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know thy neighborhood

Just the other day I was pulling comps for a seller in a specific neighborhood. Normally, this shouldn’t be like pulling teeth, but a trend that I have been noticing has been accelerating. Half of the listings in this neighborhood failed to mention the name neighborhood in either agent remarks or pubic description.  This forced me to search by zip code. Since the neighborhood in question straddled two zip codes – I ended up digging through mountains of actives and solds – not to mention contracts/pendings as well as expireds.

Since the neighborhood I was researching straddled two zip codes  – I had to go through a mountain of actives, contracts, pendings and solds, expireds and cancelled listings to fish out the relevant information.

Whatever happened to including the name of the neighborhood on the listing?

I don’t mean to sound snarky – but this is NOT rocket science.  HEY!  LISTING AGENTS!!!! Include the $#%!ing neighborhood in the listing!!  This is quite literally the LEAST you can do.  How hard can that possibly be?

Not local?  It’s your job to find out for God’s sake.  If you don’t have enough knowledge of  the area you are listing in to find this information – then you have no business listing there.  Do yourself and the seller a favor and decline the listing.

Why is this important?

Well – it’s not because yours truly would like to do neighborhood stats without going listing by listing through one or two zip codes….although that would be a nice perk.


1.  Most serious buyers are shopping by neighborhood.  If they want a specific neighborhood, but don’t KNOW the house you are listing is in that neighborhood, they aren’t going to ask to see it.  Your seller’s are missing out on some of the most serious buyers this way.

2. Counting on the buyer’s agent to know?  Are you kidding me?  If agents are listing further from home, buyer’s agents are certainly showing further from home.  You are counting on the blind to lead the blind. Further, you shouldn’t be asking the buyer’s agent to do your work for you.

Look, I realize times are hard.  I have been expanding my range for a while now.  There is no longer enough business for most agents to stay purely local.  But when agents  spread your wings, they need to do it responsibly.

Message to Home Sellers:

A lot of agents are spreading into new areas.  In most cases this is a good thing.  There are a few villages in Westchester NY where one or two brokerages are still the only game in town.  But that is changing.  Furhter,  as much as the primary players in these towns and villages hem and haw and argue that only they know all the nuances  of the area –  this  “new blood” can be a breath of fresh air.    Agents new to the area know they have to offer something fresh and unique.  They will often offer a new approach and more alternatives than the established brokerages in order to attract buyers and sellers.  This can force those who thought they had the market cornered to step up their game and offer more than the same-old, same-old.

But, sellers have to make sure that the “new blood” knows the area well enough to be effective.  Make sure your listing agent at least knows the neighborhood in which the home you are selling is located.  They also need to be aware of school zoning and issues such as if the area is flood prone. If they don’t know that – find another agent.  Seriously.  I don’t care what they promised.    If they don’t know the area at all then they probably don’t know enough to be effective.

No,  your agent doesn’t have to be local – but your agent does need to have local knowledge.

© 2010 – Ruthmarie G. Hicks – – All rights reserved.

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