A while back, Google determined that it would value content from “experts” in whatever field they were writing about higher than something written by a non-expert.   Of course, my first step was to try and equate that to my real estate brokerage in St. Louis and real estate marketing in general.  What is a real estate expert?  Is it someone who practices real estate law?  That certainly sounds like an expert.  But what about someone who does interior design when staging homes for sale?  These would be experts in interior design, but would they be real estate experts?

The Type Of Real Estate Should Matter

At a residential real estate brokerage in St. Louis like ours, we concentrate all of our efforts on the business of buying and selling houses in St. Louis and the surrounding counties.  We are not commercial real estate experts.  I do have a Master’s degree in real estate and construction management from the University of Denver, but we currently don’t work in commercial real estate.  Still, a residential real estate expert in St. Louis should be just that, someone who is actively in the business of buying and selling residential real estate.

An Expert In Real Estate Should Be Confined To Location

I have my real estate license in Missouri.  I am not licensed in Illinois.  We do not have license reciprocity with Illinois, and so it makes more sense for me to refer clients who want to buy homes in Illinois to real estate experts over there.  There are certain real estate related laws and/or customs that are unique to location.  For example, in St. Louis, the buyer usually pays for title insurance.  In Minnesota, I’ve been told that it’s customary for the seller to pay for title insurance, or the exact opposite of what we do here.  And, what’s true in Minnesota can be different than what is for sale in Las Vegas.  Therefore, it’s best to associate yourself with an expert in your local market.

A Real Estate Expert Can Have Other Areas Of Expertise.

My background is in residential construction.  When I walk through homes with new homebuyers, I can usually spot potential construction issues before we get to the point of making an offer.  This allows my buyers to condition their offers on those potential issues.  Contrast this with a real estate agent who has no construction experience.  The chances are high that they will offer full asking price on a home, have their sellers go through the home inspection process, and then end up walking out on the contract and losing out on the money they spent on inspections.  While I have a background in construction, I still require most of my home buyers to get a home inspection from an independent home inspector.  Why?  I have a background in construction, but I am not an expert in home inspections.

We have a lot of real estate agents in offices who know the Missouri real estate contract backwards and forwards.  If asked, they could probably recite the entire 10 pages from memory.  They are not lawyers.  They have an expertise in one aspect of the real estate sales business.  I’m sure that it is helpful to their clients, but at the same time, there are better areas of expertise that can help real estate agents with the home buying and home selling process.

Sales Can Be An Expertise

The expertise can be relevant to success in real estate or not.  In the case of real estate agents having an expertise in the board contract, I’m not sure that gets that agent more clients to work with.  On the other hand, if someone who has never been in real estate does have a strong and legitimate sales background, you can bet that expertise will carry over and give that new agent a head start.  Why is that?  Well, when you’ve been involved in sales previously, you understand that you are in the business of real estate sales.  You must sell to eat.  Once you understand that real estate sales doesn’t work for real estate agents who “just like houses”, it opens your eyes to the business that you are in.  You can be the best real estate agent in the world, and it won’t matter because if you don’t have some level of salesmanship, no one will ever find you.

One Secret Component Of Expertise

One of the things that irks me about the idea of real estate experts, or any experts in general, is this idea that an expert can never be wrong.  That’s really dangerous thinking.  A true expert in any field should always be questioning the status quo and have a level of humility.  We’re all human, and real estate experts that exude certain hubris can really end up being a detriment to their clients.  If you meet with a real estate agent that doesn’t have some sort of humility, you should consider finding one who does.

What Did We Learn?

Real estate agents may have expertise in areas that transfer well to real estate sales or not.  When you are looking for a home for sale in St. Louis, it’s best to work with a real estate agent who works in St. Louis and is familiar with the local laws and customs.  You should look for a real estate expert who doesn’t pretend to know it all, because that’s impossible.  If you meet one of these know it all, you are better finding someone else to work with.  Not all real estate agents are experts, and sometimes their expertise might not come from real estate.  Keep these things in mind during your next real estate search.