As Honolulu real estate markets rebound, many are becoming real estate agents and investors, marketing themselves as the ‘local experts.’
It’s great to have so many bright minds working towards a common goal. However, it can be very confusing from a consumer stand point, and even for others in the industry. Who are those that are really experts, and who are just expert marketers? As a consumer, it will benefit you to know the difference.
Lots of real estate marketing dollars are being plowed into markets across the country, not just Honolulu. With the ever changing nature of the Internet and short attention spans today, this can make it very easy for newcomers to gain visibility. Subsequently, it can be hard for the public to discern whether the clusters of billboards and bench ads are really symptoms of success or just a cover.
What Makes an Expert?
According to Google, the term ‘expert’ refers to “a person who has comprehensive and authoritative knowledge or skill in a particular area.” This acknowledges the first place to start on the road to becoming an industry expert. A proper real estate education is critical to improvement. This doesn’t have to mean a 4 year degree, but several hours in a cram course that provides the answers to the state licensing exam probably doesn’t qualify either.
Keep in mind, there are only some things which can be learned in the field too. There are obviously more than a few individuals that have spent a decade or more ‘in the industry’ in a class room and may have lots of letters after their names, but few if any actually have experience under their belts.
Expert status, at least in live action and practical application, means some combination of real estate education and experience. Unless, of course, you are only theoretically and hypothetically buying or selling a home or investing your precious savings in the market.
The ‘Local Expert’ Debate
Who qualifies as ‘the local expert?’ This was recently highlighted via Inman News in an article entitled ‘The fallacy of the agent as a neighborhood expert.’
The argument being made in this particular article was whether being a homegrown real estate agent has any advantage over those with the same real estate data, or those with years of active engagement in the wider market place.
Being a ‘data guy,’ the author pretty much dismissed proximity as a factor in expertise in favor of knowing the math, which is argued everyone has access to via the web.
There may be some valid points made in the author’s discussion, but there is no question that those with a more intricate knowledge of a local area should have some advantage. Of course it is rare, if never, that all other factors are equal. Access to data and information online can be misleading. So much public facing information is wildly inaccurate and can actually be more detrimental. Experts have access to more and better data.
Knowing the quirks of a local market and transactional complications from hands on experience is invaluable.
A lot can come down to who has the team of additional experts including: researchers, appraisers, loan officers and perhaps even city planners.
However, above all, longevity and having lived through different market cycles is perhaps one of the best differentiating factors. It creates a solid foundation in which real estate professionals and agents can expand to incorporate larger markets.