Local expertise is critical to buyers when they choose a real estate agent. So it’s smart business for agents to go deep into their community. But what if you could go deep into two?
That’s what Matthew Basil has done. He’s building a brand on either side of the Wisconsin/Illinois border. They’re two very different markets. He works in two very different offices. But he brings the same passion to each.
From $80K to $800K, Matthew is at home
For Matt today, home is Racine, Wisconsin. This lakeside city hosts a variety of outdoor activities, museums, and architecture. And the median home price is about $80,000.
But Matt grew up in the Chicago, IL suburb of Glenview, and he still has deep family and community connections to the area. So it gives him a unique perspective on the current market in both places.
“Illinois has a lot of people leaving right now,” he said. “Sales taxes are high. Property taxes are high. People would rather commute 30 minutes more and save tens of thousands of dollars.”
Despite being a state away, the two areas are only about a 40-minute drive apart. But the taxes don’t stop movement the other direction.
“We also see people get recruited down to the Chicago area. And Glenview is a great suburb for that.”
In Wisconsin, Matthew is an agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Metro Realty. It’s a new office with less than a dozen agents, but offers a team format that Matthew sought when choosing a brokerage. “I wanted to get good hands-on training and exposure to different tactics,” he said. “Being part of a team has allowed me to captivate some leads and get my feet wet.”
It’s the opposite of the office he works with south of the border, where he’s with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff Realty Group in Glenview.
“It’s a massive company -- the third largest brokerage nationally in the entire Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network, with 1500 of agents and 24 offices.”
The real estate profession came as a natural fit to Matthew, whose business degree helped inform a lifelong interest in real estate. “My dad was an architect who also did real estate and development for over 40 years,” he shared.
New agents often start with their sphere of influence, reaching out to friends, family, and associates that they already have a relationship with. For Matthew, he was able to do that in two very different places.
“I’m in a unique position having lived in both places,” he said with a smile. “Growing up in Glenview, I know the area and the high rent clientele. But in Racine, I have an appreciation for the culture here, too.”
How to be a local real estate expert
Knowing the market is one thing. Matthew is happy to talk data. But he’s aware that most people want more.
“I get a lot of questions from people who ask me how the market is,” he said. “It’s funny because they think it’s a sales pitch if I say the market is hot and houses are moving quickly. But when I show a deeper level of expertise and understanding to back it up, they’re more willing to value my opinion.”
One way Matthew shows that deeper level of understanding and expertise is with digital tools like Relola.
“With Relola, I can show buyers and sellers that I’ve been in these listings and I know what it’s like. I can say what’s similar and what’s sold from the inside -- and not just the MLS data.”
Relola is relatively a new real estate tool, but that didn’t stop Matthew from being an early adopter. “Our team leader was one of the first people on Zillow back in the day. I like to find different opportunities that aren’t apparent to everybody yet.”
With Relola, Matt can visit a listing, publish his Insight and have it automatically to go his Facebook page, LinkedIn account and Twitter feed. He uses his Facebook page as a primary web site, enjoying the engagement he sees with his communities in both locales as well as in person.
His Insights allow him to paint a picture of life beyond the listing details, with notes such as these:
“The home has a warm feeling to it that instantly brings back memories of holidays with family, inviting friends over for dinner and lazy Sundays around the house.”
But he also goes beyond the aspirational to the practical, with suggestions like the following:
“I would make some minor updates to bring it up to modern tastes in some rooms and I would refinish the upstairs wood floors.”
Matthew values the insider aspect of Relola due to the changing nature of real estate.
“People don’t want to engage a Realtor unless they’re at the point where they feel they need to,” he observed. “That’s why open houses have become more popular -- because you don’t need an agent to see the house.”
With Relola, Matthew notes that buyers can get a professional’s opinion without committing to the agent just yet. Which means the Insights are a pre-screening for the property as well as a casual introduction to him as an agent they want to work with.
And whether they’re north or south of the border, we know they’ll be in good hands!