Hi folks. I did an interview and one of the listeners posed a question that has been on my mind ever since. The question was "How do you learn your market?". It caught me a little off gaurd. Not that I don't know the answer but that someone in our business had to ask the question.

  • Knowing our market is what our job is all about.
  • Knowing our market is why buyers and sellers need us.
  • Knowing our market is what gives us confidence in our business.
  • Knowing our market is how we know where and who to market to.
  • Knowing our market is how we plan for the future.

Knowing our market is so important that if we don't know it we will surely fail. It's just a matter of time.

But having said all of that......"How do you learn your market?" is a very good question and one that I'm going to try and answer. To begin with, knowing your market means being able to answer the following questions if asked. There are many more but these will get you started:

  1. How many properties are for sale in your market today?
  2. What's the average price?
  3. What's the average days on market (DOM)?
  4. What's the median price?
  5. How many properties sold last month? Last 6 months? Last year?
  6. How many properties are currently under contract (pending)?
  7. How many of the sold properties were Short Sales? Foreclosures (REOs)?
  8. What's the "sold price to list price" ratio?
  9. What's the absorption rate (Active listings divided by a month's average sales)?
  10. Are values declining or increasing?
  11. Is inventory declining or increasing?

These questions are asking for essential market information that buyers and sellers will want to know. The answers to all of them can be found in your MLS system. I check my MLS hotsheet every day first thing in the morning. I want to know what is going on in my market. Make this a DAILY activity. And while you are at it go ahead and solicit the expired and withdrawn listings. Kill two birds with one stone. This one little daily exercise will give you market confidence AND you will also pick up listings. I've done this daily for 15 years.

By answering this next batch of questions you will become even more of an expert on your market. By knowing the answers to these you will be able to laser focus your marketing.

  1. How many total properties are located within your market?
  2. What's the average age of the folks that live there?
  3. Who's buying property there? Are they relocation buyers? Move up buyers? First time home buyers?
  4. What mortgage products are they using? FHA? USDA? VA? Conventional? Cash?
  5. On average how often do folks move OUT of your market?
  6. Where are they moving to?
  7. Who are the largest employers?
  8. What Real Estate Company does the most business? What agent? Listing side? Selling side?
  9. What percentage of business do they have?
  10. Who sells the most REOs? The most Short Sales?

Folks, you may have to dig a little deeper for the answers to these questions. Some can be found in your MLS. For others you may need to contact your Chamber of Commerce. Or you can check online at sites like ZipSkinny.com (just remember these sites will be far more accurate once the census is completed).

So that's it for now. Hopefully this post will get you started in the right direction. Let me know if you have any questions for me. Does this help?

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