Selling Soulfully with Jennifer Allan


Mastering Your Market for Fun & Profit - The Favorit-est Tips!

HousesOn Thursday, we held a show in the SWS Virtual Studio entitled "Mastering Your Market for Fun & Profit" where my guest Chiara Petro and I discussed WHY being a Market Master is something you might want to be and HOW to go about becoming one!

My definition of being a Market Master is that if someone tells me where they live, I get a mental image of their neighborhood, subdivision or condo building. I don’t necessarily know what year their house was built or how big it is, although I might be able to guess pretty accurately, but I have a general sense of the overall ambience, what amenities are nearby and I probably have a real estate-related anecdote or two about the area I can toss out.  I call it being "conversationally familiar" with the Market when I can easily and confidently chat about the real estate in an area without resorting to the tired old "Well, I don't really know, but I'd be happy to find out for you!"

At the end of the show, I asked the audience to send in their favorite tip-of-the-day, and here are the results:

Favorit-est Tip #1: Leave the GPS at Home!
As you're working toward becoming a Master of Your Market, leave the GPS at home to force yourself to learn how to find your way around without relying on that voice coming from the little box on your dash. Not only does this give you far more credibility when buyers are sitting in your car, but you'll also have a much better mental picture of your market area and how the various neighborhoods, highways and commercial districts relate to each other geographically. 

Favorit-est Tip #2: Preview, preview, preview!
If "previewing" is allowed in your market, take advantage of it... as often as you can! There's no way you can become a Master of Your Market by memorizing MLS statistics or even looking at pictures - you need to be out IN it. And your previewing tours will be far more effective if you practice "opinionated previewing" which means you look at similar homes (i.e. similar price range, vintage, architecture, etc.) and compare the homes to each other as opposed to just heading out and looking at a bunch of unrelated properties.  

Favorit-est Tip #3: "Averages" are meaningless; instead, research the "ranges"
The "average" price, square footage, days on market or list-to-sold ratio statistic in a market area is likely a meaningless indicator of what's really going on there. When researching a Market to become a Master of it, focus on identifying the "ranges" - highest and lowest price, largest and smallest square footage, highest and lowest days on market, etc. 

Favorit-est Tip #4: Identify alternatives to the Market You're Mastering
As you're Mastering one Market area, try to identify alternatives to that area that a buyer might also consider. For example, perhaps a buyer loves a certain style of home that can be found in the neighborhood you're mastering, but needs a larger lot than is typically available there. Or perhaps they can't quite afford that neighborhood, and would appreciate knowing what other parts of town offer similar homes and amenities for less money. Being conversationally familiar with the alternatives will give you tremendous credibility when talking with buyers. 

Favorit-est Tip #5: Patronize businesses in the Market You're Mastering
Hey, you gotta shop somewhere... you gotta eat sometime... you gotta get your hair cut, your dog groomed and your dry-cleaning done, so why not do it in the Market You're Mastering? Not only will you be likely to meet people who have real estate needs in the area, but you'll also be able to speak intelligently to clients about the local businesses and amenities.

Favorit-est Tip #6: Identify all landmark buildings in the Market You're Mastering
Drive around the Market You're Mastering and make notes of the buildings you see that aren't readily identifiable. Schools, churches, rest homes, etc. Find out what they are so when you're working with a buyer and the buyers asks "What's that?" you'll know the answer!

Other favorit-est tips from the show included:

  • Blog and create market reports about what you learn while previewing
  • Read other agents’ blogs & newsletters
  • Know school district boundaries & statistics
  • Choose one geographic area at a time to master
  • Know your office inventory
If you'd like to listen to the entire show, you can purchase a recording of it at the SWS Bookstore, or join Club SWS and have access to the full SWS Virtual Studio archive!

It's Here!


The More Fun You Have Selling Real Estate, the More Real Estate You Will Sell! 
(True Story)
Order Your Here!









Comment balloon 28 commentsJennifer Allan-Hagedorn • June 16 2012 05:10AM


well we should all know our own back yard roads, my neighborhood has 35 miles of roads which I know, but outside of there, the gps is my best friend!

Posted by Mark Loewenberg, KW 561-214-0370 (KW of the Palm Beaches) almost 8 years ago
Jennifer, these are great tips. I especially like #2' in regards to focusing on a particular home size to see comparables. I do thatvwhen I'm looking for a particular buyer, but not as much when I'm on broker's tour.
Posted by Karen Crowson, Your Agent for Change (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) almost 8 years ago

Timeless tips for mastering a farm area or larger neighborhoods that every Realtor should read,

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) almost 8 years ago

JA, Great list, I love it. I love to preview. I do not know how one can sell without knowing the inventory. 

Posted by Tom Bailey (Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc.) almost 8 years ago

Ever since I got my license - and I'm talking about my license to DRIVE, 30+ years ago - one of my prized possessions was a red Cuyahoga County street map book. I loved that thing and every year would buy the updated version. I felt so "grown up", figuring out how to get where I needed to go. And then my ex gave me a GPS right after I got my RE license in 2007. It's amazing how dependent on that thing you get. You rarely even look at your surroundings, beyond "In 200 ft, turn left". And don't get me started on when it tells you to turn left, and the house you need is on the right. Oh yeah...your buyers are following behind you in their car. Yikes.


Posted by Sue Gabriel almost 8 years ago

Good morning, Jennifer - what a great list. In fact, my goal today is to leave my GPS at home, thanks to your suggestion!

Posted by Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl, The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate (Samsel & Associates) almost 8 years ago

I love my GPS, don't get me wrong. But I've lived in the Pensacola Florida area for more than two years and still have no idea where Sam's Club is even though I go there regularly! And I couldn't draw a remotely accurate map of the area to save my life... But Denver? Where I worked withOUT a GPS for 12 years? I can draw up a map of the entire city down to the grocery stores!

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) almost 8 years ago

Tom - some markets frown on previewing and I simply can't fathom how an agent can Master the Market if they can't look at the homes!

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) almost 8 years ago

JA, Ours is one of those markets. We do have some agents who want agents to preview, but more than not do not like it. I had one agent make an sarcastic remark about me in public for asking to preview 2 of her listings.

Posted by Tom Bailey (Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc.) almost 8 years ago

Some great points.  To be a local expert you have to know local.  Like one of the houses I'm showing this afternoon is down a block from a great Bed and Breakfast and around the corner for a whole row of trendy restaurants - most of which I can attest to and have eaten at and one I wouldn't recommend.

Posted by June Piper-Brandon, Piecing Dreams One Home at a Time (Long & Foster Hampden) almost 8 years ago

Great point!  I love getting to know my area.  I especially love the getting to know alternatives.  That's helped me a lot when people can't quite afford the area they want - it's good to know where potential alternatives may be.  I suggested this.

Posted by Dr. Stacey-Ann Baugh, A doctor who makes house calls. (Century 21 New Millennium) almost 8 years ago

The nice thing about a Market area is really getting to know it and have a good feel for it.  But there are still those times I see so many houses I hop in the car and forget where I am.  

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) almost 8 years ago

it's nice to get lost now and then, you never know what you can discover.

i also like the local business idea, thanx

Posted by Bianca Marijan, Broker Owner of Independent Real Estate Brokerage (City Brokerage, Hamilton) almost 8 years ago
Fantastic list to follow in Mastering the Market! Thanks so much for sharing from your SWS Studio.
Posted by Lee & Carol Barbour, REALTORS, Mountain Living Team in Murphy NC and North GA (Murphy and Hayesville, NC; Hiawassee, Blairsville, Blue Ridge GA and Copperhill TN) almost 8 years ago

We have a caravan here every other week. It goes to your tip 2. It is a multi firm caravan so we get a good idea of our market. It really does help .

Posted by Charlie Ragonesi, Homes - Big Canoe, Jasper, North Georgia Pros ( almost 8 years ago

I just loved being on the show with you! It was definitely a fun time. It looks like some really good feedback came in for the Favorit-ist Tips.


I will say that I rarely use GPS, and the couple of times I have used it, it got me totally lost -- like sent me to the wrong town lost!

Posted by Chiara Petro, Your KEY to Home Sweet Home - Knoxville TN (eXp Realty - Angie Cody Team) almost 8 years ago

Good points and makes a lot of sense...I always try to take a different route and go down streets I don't know or haven't been there before

Posted by Michael Murphy (Bienvenidos Real Estate) almost 8 years ago

That is great advice except the "leave your GPS at home".  I am so geographically challenged that I would never make it to an appointment on time.  I had to use my GPS for 2 weeks after we bought our new house.  But knowing my weaknesses allows me to build on my strengths.

Thanks for the post.

Posted by Gretchen Bradley (Realty Source Inc.) almost 8 years ago



I am just getting started with mastering an area. These are invaluable tips that I will most certainly be using.

Posted by Bernadette James, Broker-Associate, Keller Williams Realty SW (Serving Sugar Land, Missouri City, Richmond and Pearland) almost 8 years ago

The company I'm with does a home tour every Tuesday after the sales meeting.  It helps with getting to know the office listings.  I'm not Geographically challenged but use my GPS all the time.  There are times when you get to the street you are showing a home on and not sure if I should turn right or left.  The GPS saves that embarrassment.  I also have mine set up to show everything that is around the home I'm showing so if the question comes up, I can say it's that away.  GPS are like computers, errors are usually caused by the operator.  Just sayin'

Posted by Duane Johnston, Warren, Youngstown and North East Ohio Realtor (Cutler Real Estate) almost 8 years ago

This is good stuff. I'm going to pass this along to my sphere of influence. Thank:)

Posted by John DL Arendsen, Crest Backyard Homes "ADU" dealer & Contractor (CREST BACKYARD HOMES, ON THE LEVEL GENERAL & FACTORY BUILT HOME CONTRACTOR, TAG REAL ESTATE SALES & INVESTMENTS) almost 8 years ago

John - I'm curious how you'll use this with your sphere - please share!


Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) almost 8 years ago

Very Good tips!  A good reminder, especailly PREVIWING.  It's easy and free and can be invaluable to an agent whether you are listing or selling houses.

Posted by Debbie Cook, Silver Spring and Takoma Park Maryland Real Estate (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc) almost 8 years ago

When I started my career, I'd take my dog and give her community tours and drive-bys so I could look like an expert and not the clueless fool I was back then.

Now customers get out of my car and say, You are the person to know for these areas!  I took it one step further and also became the President of the Chamber of Commerce.  Joy

Posted by Joy Carter & Jeff Booker Brother and Sister Team, Trust Your Family's Move To Our Expertise! (Keller Williams Parkland/Coral Springs Realty-GreatFloridaHomes Team) almost 8 years ago

Great post Jennifer. Previewing is good, I wish there was more time for it.

Posted by Wayne Jackson, North Idaho Realtor, Serving Coeur dnullAlene and Hayden Lake (Lakeshore Realty 208-714-4109) almost 8 years ago

These are great tips, thank you!

Posted by Patricia Beck, Colorado Springs Realty (RE/MAX Properties, Inc., GRI, CDPE) almost 8 years ago


Posted by Pete Xavier, Outstanding Agent Referrals-Nationwide (Investments to Luxury) over 7 years ago

These are all great tips. I especially like # 6. I have some work to do.

Posted by Wayne B. Pruner, Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI (Oregon First) over 7 years ago

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