Where we live and work says a lot about us. Big cities and small towns (and everything in between) each have their own advantages and hassles, and require a certain type of person to make it not only in day-to-day life, but in business.
And in no business are the contrasts greater than in real estate. A 40 acre farm in the Midwest requires an entirely different skill set and client base – heck, an entirely different vocabulary – to sell than a high rise condo. And before you city slickers say “but the stakes are so much higher in the city!” consider this: That farm will probably represent as big a chunk of a rural broker’s income as your high-rise will. Cost of living is a great equalizer.
All that being said, what are some traits that will help you run a solid real estate business in a small town? What are some of the best skills of an urban Realtor? We were curious and found some helpful resources.
The Illinois Association of Realtors took a look at some agents in rural areas of that state (which basically means any place outside of the Chicago MSA). The biggest takeaway for us: news travels fast. With a smaller client base in a more tight-knit community one error, or one messed up contract can mean big trouble for your reputation.
Another takeaway: You’ll need to be an expert in multiple kinds of real estate, not just residential but commercial, multi-family and even mobile homes. It helps to be friendly and to make time in your week for things like Rotary meetings and, if it’s your thing, church. Relationships build your business reputation.
The payoff: As with one Realtor in the small town if Lincoln, Ill. (pop. 15,000) you can still do millions of dollars in transactions. And the commission on that goes a long way in the wide places of the world.
Big-city Realtors, on the other hand, have a bit more of a stereotype. You can see them driving deals on reality TV every night of the week. And while it may seem like you have to be a career-driven jerk (there, we said it) to make it big in L.A. or Manhattan, that’s not necessarily the case.
As with any career where competition is high and inventory is limited, urban real estate is all about leads and referrals (which, ahem, Z-Buyer can help you with). Working hard isn’t enough – you have to be able to sell yourself before you even begin to sell a property. Efficient networking, client management software and unparalleled time management must be your watchwords. Sell anything and everything you can – you never know: the client who sells his tiny storefront in a bad neighborhood may one day be looking for a penthouse with a view of downtown.
The National Association of Realtors’ realtormag.com has some tips from successful brokers in a cross-section of locations, with a lot of details that could help you, regardless of where you hang your hat.
There is no shortage of helpful articles out there for agents working everywhere from New York to Cheyenne, Wyo. Feel free to share some of your favorite resources – or tips – with us.