Having worked with numerous real estate agents and investors, one thing I am absolutely certain of is this: Neighborhood guides work.
This is especially true if you are targeting a hyper-local real estate market such as a county or township.
While doing research on neighborhoods for my clients in different property markets, I stumbled upon the websites of some real estate agents who are doing an awesome job of leveraging this content marketing strategy. In order to give you a perspective on what types of neighborhood guides I am talking about, let’s begin with an example:
Sugar Land Real Estate
Sheila Cox is a real estate agent in Sugar Land, TX. Her website pages rank on page 1 in search engines thanks to her comprehensive and in-depth neighborhood guides. Her website – https://www.sugarlandtxhome.com/ – is entirely focused on educating her prospects about Sugar Land, TX neighborhoods.
Some of the features I really like about her Suglar Land, TX guides are as follow:
- Maps and graphs,
- A prominently displayed Call-to-Action prompt (Instead of browsing multiple websites pages, the visitors can download an ebook in pdf format. She repurposed the existing content into an ebook. The visitors are asked to share their email address in exchange of the ebook. She can target these leads through an email drip campaign),
- Nice design, layout and fonts.
Table of Contents
10 important components of a good neighborhood guide
While a neighborhood guide can be structured in any way you want (depending on which features you want to show prominently), here are a few components that a guide should absolutely have:
Real estate market trends
This section may include median home prices, median rent, rate of appreciation in property values and future projections, percentage of owner occupied properties, number of homes on the market, types of homes most commonly available (single family, detached, condominiums etc.) and an overview of the factors that dictate the local property market.
Cost of living
The average cost of living and household income should be prominently mentioned.
Your guide should have information about which types of jobs are easily available and the current condition of the local job market.
A lot of information such as the percentage of population that is married, percentage of population that has kids, migration rate, population growth rate, ethnic background, percentage of population that is foreign-born etc can go into this section.
Schools and colleges
The quality of school district is a big factor in a family’s home buying decision. If your target neighborhood is located in a good school district with top ranking public and private schools, you should prominently feature it in your guides.
Prominently feature the most popular amenities such as club, restaurants, parks, sports facilities, hiking or bike trails, shopping malls and other commercial establishments.
If the neighborhood is located in close proximity to a downtown area, it should be prominently featured in your guide. Provide details of transport facilities and commute time.
If a neighborhood has won any awards, it should be prominently mentioned; for example – best school district award, best place to live, safest place to live etc.
A low crime rate is something you will definitely want to boast of.
Many home buyers struggle to decide which neighborhood they should pick. You can compare amenities that a neighborhood offers compared to other neighborhoods.
Important things to consider when writing a neighborhood guide
- Don’t copy or simply rewrite content from other neighborhood guides. Though take a look at the neighborhood guides other real estate agents have on their website, try to go above and beyond. Write more in-depth and comprehensive guides. Carry a camera with you when you take your clients on neighborhood tours. Using a lot of original images will make your guide more authentic.
- Keep the intent of the searcher in mind when writing a neighborhood guide. Why would someone want to search for information about a specific neighborhood? Is he or she relocating to the area? Is the person looking to buy a home? Does he or she want to know more about the real estate market trends to determine whether investing in a particular neighborhood is a good financial move or not? Your focus on the searcher’s intent will help you avoid boring your site visitors with needless information. Since your objective is to attract real estate buyers, sellers and investors through your neighborhood guides, providing useless information won’t serve any purpose.
- The guide should establish you as a neighborhood expert. You can include a short bio (with your professional image) or CTA in the sidebar or in the middle of the content. You can also publish reviews, data of property transactions and testimonials to boost credibility of your services as a neighborhood export. Home buyers love to work with neighborhood experts.
- The guides should help your readers imagine how his or her life would change for the better after buying a home in your target neighborhoods. You should prominently feature important details such as nightlife, sports facilities, parks and other amenities.
- As already mentioned, a CTA is an absolute must.
- Most real estate agents publish neighborhood guides and then simply forget about them. Keep updating them with new information from time to time. Fresh content will not only keep the information relevant, but also help you improve search engine rankings. Add new sections and remove the ones that are no longer relevant.
- Wherever possible, validate the source of data provided in the guide. For example if you have sourced the median home price from NAR, you should link to the page on the NAR website where the data is validated.
Mistakes to avoid when creating neighborhood guides
Neighborhood guides is a great way of generating leads for your real estate business, but they can also become a conversion killer if you do it wrong.
Here is how a wrongly executed ‘neighborhood guide strategy’ will harm your conversions rather than boost them:
- If the content is shallow and don’t provide answers to the questions your prospects are searching for on Google, they won’t stay long on your website. They will leave your site, go to the Google search page again and look for a more comprehensive neighborhood guide. It tells Google that your content is not good enough because the visitors are bouncing from your site without spending any time. A high bounce rate is bad for real estate SEO. Your guides won’t rank on top of search engine results. If you are already ranking high, it will be easier for your competitors to knock you off the top – believe it or not.
- The lack of a call-to-action (CTA) prompt is also a big conversion killer. The site visitors should be encouraged to share with you their email address or give you a call. For this, you should have a call-to-action prompt displayed prominently. You can repurpose the content into an ebook and offer it to your prospects in exchange of their email address. The CTA can also be a property search widget that pulls data of homes listed for sale in the neighborhood.
- The design and lay-out of the page also play an important role. I have seen many real estate professionals go to the extent of hiring designers just for creating neighborhood guide pages. You should use headers, sub-headers, data tables, infographics, images and attractive fonts (with proper size and spacing) to make the information easy-to-consume and navigate.
Go through the examples of neighborhood guides and try to follow the tips I have provided in this post.
Believe me any effort, time and money you invest in creating neighborhood guides are absolutely worth it. They will help you build trust among your prospects and establish your authority as a neighborhood export.