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Use this easy tool to become your local market expert

by Anne Ewasko

It’s been a roller coaster of a year, and there are a lot of misconceptions about what is really going on with the real estate market. It seems that everyone has a different opinion, but I feel that is always the case no matter how crazy things have been recently. So, how do we get to “the truth” of what’s really going on in our local markets? As real estate brokers, we need to understand our hyperlocal market, and there are ways that you can slice and dice the data so that you can provide the real picture for your clients in a very clear and concise way.

People see national headlines and hear all sorts of things that are happening across the country, and sometimes they get panicked by it. However, what may be happening in one part of the country does not necessarily apply to what is happening at home. This is where you can come in to dispel the misconceptions that are out there. You cannot just throw a large blanket across a market and say it’s the same all over; it doesn’t work that way. As a matter of fact, in my own Chicago market, it is vastly different from neighborhood to neighborhood, block to block or even… building to building!

So, how do you break it down to your local level? First of all, I like to start at the top on a macro level and picture it like a large funnel that needs to get filtered down to the hyperlocal level. Those of us who have attended a real estate conference are probably familiar with Steve Harney, the founder of Keeping Current Matters. KCM has been around a long time and has really perfected the art of deciphering market data into very clean and concise templates. I trust their data, because they pull it from reliable resources like Zelman, MBA, NAR, Fannnie Mae, Freddie Mac — all of which use different formulas that can vary greatly, but KCM consolidates the data and shows the averages from those resources, providing the most accurate picture.

KCM releases the updated data on the 10th of every month. They put them on beautiful templates, which they call “infographics,” that have amazing designs that get the message across in an instant. Subscribers to KCM get access to this information that you can personalize and share, which is great for social media and monthly mailers.

But that’s just the top of the funnel. Now you need to do a deeper dive for your local market and then show how that compares to the macro level provided by KCM. It’s really easy to do, and one of the tricks I use is to select one of the infographics from KCM that I think my clients will gravitate toward or is a hot topic in the media. From there, I run my own stats from the MLS to do a comparison. Right now, the big buzz all over the country is low inventory. Okay, so how low is it in my market? Easy: Pull up the MLS data for however tight you want to go geographically, or, perhaps, you want to focus on a specific type of property: condos, town homes, single-families, etc. Then see where the inventory and month’s supply is at, and voila! There you have it. Now you can compare your local data to the macro stats provided by KCM to show your clients the truth of what is really going on locally. Clients love this detailed information; this is what they crave and what they need. As their real estate professional, they rely on you for it.

By disciplining yourself to run a local stat just once a month and comparing it to one of the macro stats provided by KCM, your clients will think you are a genius, and on top of what is going on — which you will be. They will quickly depend on you for truthful insight on what is really happening at home, and when it comes time to list or buy, you will be their trusted go-to person that they can count on. “Keeping current” really does matter!

Anne Ewasko is a veteran Realtor in the Chicago area and a longtime techie. Visit her at anne.luxhomechicago.com.

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