Philadelphia Real Estate Helpful News and Views : Looking for Local Information Expertise is the Key to Success

Looking for Local Information Expertise is the Key to Success

local info to succeed  

Advice for new agents: When I first started selling real Estate I picked an area to farm. Way back in ancient times when I started there wasn't Internet.We had books ----- We called them MLS books


What ??? No Internet ! You may say ... 

Yes that is true and not many people had cell phones either .

What no Internet or cell phones ?  What?  You think I am kidding ?  Nope !


What I did was mail out to my area and cold call.

"Hello, are you interested or know anyone who is interested in buying or selling now or in the near future?   People would either hang up on you or start a conversation with you. 

I had a little metal box with 3x5 index card in front of me. The people that talked to me would be on the card with name, address and phone # and the date I called. I would call them again once a month. I would also have notes about what we talked about.


Some people knocked on doors. I never felt comfortable doing that. With this system I managed to obtain listings. I also had a small area I called my farm.  To this day, I still have a few clients from this area from over thirty-three years ago.


Times were different  in the 80's & 90's.
It was really fun being in Real Estate there were parties all the time.
- Big Fancy parties at Country Clubs  -

You went dressed to the Max and the food was Top Notch too . 

It was a time of Face to Face Social - Real People to People


You would not think of dressing casually to the office or on an appointment.  Men dressed in suits and ties and women wore dresses or suits.
Some companies wore gold jacket attire and they were known for that .
There was an air of professionalism.  


 Today  I write about local areas. I give local information about a specific neighborhood. People looking to buy or sell in this area actually find or follow me. They call me to help them list or buy a house or condo. 
I call it Blog time.


  • 1. Local Knowledge is now the key -
    Real Estate Professionals thrive if they demonstrate their local expertise  
  • 2. Joining Active Rain -
    there is a wealth of knowledge and information about other sites
  • 3.Blogging  -
    I am surprised they do not teach everyone in real estate school but ...
    I guess I have a jump on those who don't.
    Funny, even my 10 year old grandson knows it is the thing of the future.

local area information


The only time I questioned if I had made the right decision was when the market crashed around 2008. My bank account dwindled as I really was not prepared. The good thing that happened was I joined Active Rain. Went to Rain Camps and learned awesome stuff.

Guess what?  I survived and am stronger then ever. You need to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and continue on and learn new techniques.

Keeping up with all the local information is the key to success:
I am the local expert in my community. I check the values in my local area.     I know my local market. 

Know your local market.  Know the local values in your community. 


Thanks to some wonderful people, I learned to Dance in the Rain and make my blogs Shine and Sparkle. Which made my phone go Ring.  Things change daily  - be informed.

It is a world of Social Media -  

The party is online! 

hannah williams

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Re/Max Eastern

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215 953 8818

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Comment balloon 41 commentsHannah Williams • January 08 2018 12:40AM


Everything was different in the 80's and early 90's - and somehow we got along just fine without cell phones, email, listings on line, and electronic signatures.

People actually called on the phone or walked into our offices!

No fancy parties here, but we did have monthly breakfast meetings with all the agencies in 2 small towns.

And now - I absolutely agree with you. Knowledge of your local market and/or expertise in your niche is the key to success. Of course it does have to be combined with blogging and other marketing activities so people know you are the one "in the know."

Posted by Marte Cliff, Your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) 11 months ago

Marte Cliff  Local information is what people are searching for .  Glad you agree We are also lucky in the sense that once we write our blog we can push a button and send it to multiple media sites

Thanks for taking the time to comment


Posted by Hannah Williams, Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818 (Re/Max Eastern inc.) 11 months ago

Your informative blog is essential reading.   The "way" we dd it was not the important was  our local knowledge.

Posted by Li Read, Caring expertise...knowledge for you! (Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring)) 11 months ago

Hannah you and I started even before the now little used Fax Machines ...... LOL

Posted by George Souto, Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert (George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages) 11 months ago

Love this post, well done. Not afraid to face a challenge and overcome it. A necessary requisite for real estate agents and you have it. 

Posted by Nick & Trudy Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtors, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) 11 months ago

Li Read  - I remember getting called into my brokers office because my two monthly ad bill for the local paper was $2000  - She let me slide but told me to cool it -You know what? everyone in the neighborhood knew my name  and thought I owned the office - To this day people still know me from those ads and flyers ----NOW there are blogs ----

Thank you for your kind words


Posted by Hannah Williams, Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818 (Re/Max Eastern inc.) 11 months ago

Hannah Williams I joined AR when the market was tanking.... 2009...

Posted by Barbara Todaro, "Franklin MA Homes" (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) 11 months ago

Oh so true George Souto  ninety day settlements were quick ones . I remember car trips to the mortgage companies and fun lunches after delivering the paperwork

Nick & Trudy Vandekar, 610-203-4543  funny how quickly times change 

Thank you both for your comments


Posted by Hannah Williams, Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818 (Re/Max Eastern inc.) 11 months ago

Great minds think Barbara Todaro alike - I think I joined in the beginning of February  - learned so much- didn't we have fun

Posted by Hannah Williams, Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818 (Re/Max Eastern inc.) 11 months ago

Congrats on the feature, Hannah. You are smart cookie and have evolved with the changing times. That's what it takes.  D 

Posted by Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD, REALTORS® in Clark County, WA (ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors) 11 months ago

Should I admit to having been a child (of real estate) in the 80's and 90's with no internet or cell phones? And, when did e-mail come into vogue?  Well, actually I did get a cell phone in '85 and was quite ahead of the crowd on that one.  The way business is done now is very different but being the local expert is still the primary key to success.  I don't forsee that ever changing. 

Posted by Carol Williams, "Customized Mentoring & Marketing Services" (U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business.) 11 months ago


What a great post.  In commercial real estate, we did not have MLS books.  We depended on seeing signs, and other companies sending us their listings.  We were out looking at places, talking to people and getting listings.  When we did get cell phones (installed in my cool console), and it was hands free, I loved that our assistant would call to say someone was going to be late, canceling, or forwarding a call...A

Posted by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy (Napa Consultants) 11 months ago

Good afternoon Hannah Williams ,

Glad to see your post featured! I joined Active Rain at the end of 2008 when things were slowing down..we never tanked like the rest of the country but we did find we dropped a couple notches. Today you are right the party is on line but our builders like to court Realtors..we sell 85% of their homes so there are some pretty lavish parties to attend!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899) 11 months ago

marti garaughty, abstract art, graphic design, marketing, WordPress consultant

Posted by marti garaughty, a highly caffeinated creative type... ( 11 months ago

Hannah, we had those heavy MLS books when I started too, and had to stop at pay phones to make calls.  Those were the days.  Hope you are thawing out, and getting warmer! 

Posted by Joan Cox, Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time (Metro Brokers - House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373) 11 months ago

We got rid of our MLS books about 20 years ago and I thought, How are we going to survive? I too believe in writing about local markets. That is how we will compete with the big guns, ZTR.

Posted by Debbie Reynolds, Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent (Platinum Properties) 11 months ago

Congratulations! You are so right, things have changed so drastically in just a few decades. Every industry needs to keep up with modern technology and Real Estate is no exception. Thank you for sharing!

Posted by Corey Martin, Real Estate and Management Solutions (Martin Presence Group) 11 months ago

Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD  Glad I am looking back and moving forward

Carol Williams  I had an Alex phone in my car  what a giant phone . Remember how big the first cell phones were

Ron and Alexandra Seigel  I remember driving around looking for new listing signs before the books came out

Thank you for walking down memory lane


Posted by Hannah Williams, Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818 (Re/Max Eastern inc.) 11 months ago

Dorie Dillard  How lucky are you --A local builder does do luncheons but no one shows up except me and who ever I drag with me

OH marti garaughty  you are wonderful  -- Wait until I tell Cleo she will be jealous as I was going to use her picture

Thank you I do appreciate your kindness


Posted by Hannah Williams, Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818 (Re/Max Eastern inc.) 11 months ago

Joan Cox  Superman booths are gone now --- Today is an ice storm - tomorrow will be 40

Debbie Reynolds  Used to love your Videos  - I do love your local blogs also You are a Local Expert

Corey Martin  Thankfully things are so much easier now . We can do so much with a click of our mouse .  People say to me "oh you not going to work " they have no idea how much work I can get done from home on my computer and on the phone .... technology is wonderful

Thank you for taking the time to comment


Posted by Hannah Williams, Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818 (Re/Max Eastern inc.) 11 months ago

Things were different in the 80's & 90's, I'll have to believe surely.  However, some things are still constant today as then.

Firstly, people wanted to know about the neighborhood.  The realtor knows.  That remains true today.

A champion has skills & stick-to-it-ness.  That was true for you then and for today.

Posted by Claude Labbe, Realty for Your Busy Life (Real Living | At Home) 11 months ago

Hi Hannah

I really enjoyed your story and there is some good learning here for new agents coming into the business. You are so right about knowing the local community is a key to success! And I bet your clients know this about you and appreciate it!!


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) 11 months ago

Hannah, many of us established ourselves through fierce blogging during the market downturn because we found ourselves with some extra time at hand. It's definitely been a good thing!

Posted by Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES, Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living (Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch!) 11 months ago

Great post! I remember the days when I had limited minutes on my cell phone. When I needed to make a call and was out of the office I used pay phones. The days the pay phones are gone.
However, being behind a computer all day is not good. We still need to be out talking with people. Even if it is just to have a cup of coffee together.

Posted by Bert Spangenthal 11 months ago

It always will come down to people interaction followed by results. Tools help

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) 11 months ago

Whether selling homes & land or lawn mowers, we must know our market. Being an expert in our market is "one" step in the right direction for long term SUCCESS. 

Posted by Robert Hicks (United Country River City Realty) 11 months ago

Good morning Hannah. I think we grew up in the industry at the same time and your history rang true for me too.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) 11 months ago

Claude Labbe  People want local information .They want to know what the value of their properties are . Best you are the one to give them the info

Jeff Dowler  So glad you enjoyed it . Makes me quell

Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES  It really taught us more then we thought it would ..but it did not happen over night it did take time to cultivate

Thank you for taking the time to comment


Posted by Hannah Williams, Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818 (Re/Max Eastern inc.) 11 months ago

Bert -- Yes this is true . Where have all the people gone ?  I love going to the Super Walmart and seeing people I know . I love sparking up conversations with people even people I don't know .

Richie Alan Naggar  People  - People who Love people

Robert Hicks  You said that so well -- it is so true

Sheila Anderson  Yes I think we did --

Thank you for all your wonderful comments


Posted by Hannah Williams, Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818 (Re/Max Eastern inc.) 11 months ago

Hannah, great post on sharing the changes that have taken place from your viewpoint.

Your post should also be a pre-warning, things will continue to change and we must flex and prepare for those changes.

Posted by John Wiley, Lee County, FL Real Estate GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA (Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty) 11 months ago

Hannah, I always had a few key!clients that wanted copies of the book. It is a different world and local info is a real key.

Posted by Michael Eisenberg, Bellingham Real Estate Guy (eXp Realty) 11 months ago

Hannah Williams the only constant is change, that never changes.  Great post!

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) 11 months ago

Hannah, thanks for sharing. I love seeing people adapt and in this industry, we must adapt daily. 



Posted by Stephen Turner, The BIG Guy of NEW HOME SALES (TriCorner Homes (TriCorner Realty)) 11 months ago

We have a couple of old timer agents in the office who remember the MLS books...of course I can't even think of what it was like back then!  Looking into the future, my kids may be pressed to remember a time before self driving cars!!

Posted by Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR, Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes) 11 months ago

John Wiley Change so glad it did .   We re-invented the wheel thankfully

Michael Eisenberg  You reminded me of the cards that reminded me of the cards that came with the books . The smaller version of the books that vendors stood in line for .

Lisa Von Domek  I am looking for forward to the next big change

Thank you for your valuable input


Posted by Hannah Williams, Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818 (Re/Max Eastern inc.) 11 months ago

Stephen Turner  I just watched the movie the "Big Short " which reminded me of what happened  when I first joined Active Rain .

Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR  Are you calling me Old ???    Just kidding  compared to many I have put in my time --I would say experienced ...

I do agree with you . There will come a day when cars will drive automatically and robots will clean our homes . I love your comment

Thank you for your valuable comments


Posted by Hannah Williams, Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818 (Re/Max Eastern inc.) 11 months ago

Hannah, I enjoyed reading your post. Thank you for sharing. I would love to have a robot to clean my house.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) 11 months ago

I always say that when I joined the industry in 1989 - and the market promptly tanked - I was too stupid to know that it was a tough market - I just kept going - then I became a full time agent right as the market tanked most recently - again - too stupid to read the tea leaves - and just kept going and adapting! I am glad I have had the good markets and bad - 

Posted by Lise Howe, Assoc. Broker and Attorney Licensed in DC, MD, VA, (Keller Williams Capital Properties) 11 months ago

Gita Bantwal  So would I love a robot to clean my house

Lise Howe I agree with you . There is nothing else I would rather do then list and sell Real Estate .  I just love it . It is in my blood . Good times bad times you know I had my share ..but I LOVE this business

Thank you both for your valuable comments


Posted by Hannah Williams, Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818 (Re/Max Eastern inc.) 11 months ago

Hi Hannah Williams Thanks for the trip down memory lane.  I too started out with the MLS Books printed every two weeks and tear sheets!!  I am sharing your blog with an agent who is just starting her career, Lindsey Haden  and helping me build a new company...MACH1 Realty.

Posted by Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker, Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940 (Mike McCann - Broker, Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska) 11 months ago

Hello Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker That makes me feel really special  . I hope you do well . I hope she learns something even if only one idea  .Best of luck in your new company .Hope to see more of you in 2018

Thank you for your kind comment it is greatly appreciated


Posted by Hannah Williams, Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818 (Re/Max Eastern inc.) 11 months ago