San Antonio's Rockstar Turned Realtor®: Wrapping your head around the phrase "all real estate is local."

Wrapping your head around the phrase "all real estate is local."

Lucy The Elephant - Margate, New Jersey

photo courtesy of Tony The Misfit

All real estate is local.

Its a mantra repeated daily.  Especially here in San Antonio, where we have fared better than some other spots in the country.  Whenever I'm speaking to people about real estate, you can sense the elephant in the room and eventually someone says it.  Foreclosure.  Short sale.  Listings aren't selling.  The bad news.  The news that is on the news every night.  Night after night after night.  Twenty four hours a day if you turn to the news channels.  Its permeated every corner of the globe and is the topic on many lips in many languages.  We deal with it everyday and try to explain why our local area is different than the one's they see on the news.  Its an uphill battle sometimes as evidenced by Amber Noble-Garland's recent blog post on the subject (the photo is actually a nod to her state of New Jersey).

The light bulb over the head comes on after a little bit of reading.

I was flipping through my latest issue of Texas Realtor magazine and reading through the articles, when I saw the most amazing quote, that I actually rushed straight to my computer to write this post.  It summed up everything we try to explain to people (and sometimes spend time on convincing ourselves when we're feeling burnt after watching the news after a long day of talking with consumers on this very issue), but in such a way that it made that little light bulb glow like mad over my head.  I think I blinded myself with it as I sat in front of my computer and it reflected on my laptop's screen (which by the way, needs a good cleaning).

Don't keep it to yourself Matt - what did you read?

Ready for this?  Its so simple, that if you've never thought of it this way, you may just smack yourself in the head in a true "I could have had a V-8" moment.  In an interview with our the new Chairman of the Texas Association of Realtors®, Brooke Hunt, she talks about the her history, the issues we all face, what her goals for the Association are and in the midst of it all - dropped a bombshell of simplicity on this agent's head.  When asked what message she would give to every Texas Realtor® if she could grab our attention for a few moments, she went through the typical "its a great time to buy" stuff and said this:

"Remember, all real estate is local.  You don't watch the weather in Boise, Idaho, to decide what to wear tomorrow, so why watch the national news to make your real estate decisions?  This is the message we need to get to the consumer."

Go back and read it again.  Its so simple and so easy to see when you explain like that.  Its clear as a bell and sums up what we all want to show the world.  Our mantra.  Our way of life that we hope everyone can understand so that we can help them buy and sell the homes of today and tomorrow.  I'm still reeling from the simplicity of it.  Thank you Brooke Hunt.  With that simple quote; you've inspired me, given me a reason to believe in our Association under your leadership, and (hopefully) inspired a few people outside of Texas that may not have seen your brilliant message.

Comment balloon 55 commentsMatt Stigliano • January 27 2009 08:47PM


Love it! I may just have to put that in my next newsletter. Or something very similar. Yet another reason to be happy I am on AR.

Oh- and Twitter which is where I saw the notice you had just posted :)

Posted by Sarah Nopp about 11 years ago

WOW! That is excellent! I will have to remember it. ~Rita

Posted by Brian Burke, Broker & Advising Expert-Denver Luxury Real Estate (Kenna Real Estate) about 11 years ago

That message is so true! Wish they would blast that one across the 5 & 10'oclock news.. I am constantly having to explain to folks what is happening in other parts of the country is not happening here.

Posted by Sherry Scales, Realtor, for Austin, TX and surrounding areas (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) about 11 years ago

Sarah - It just seemed so simply stated to that I imagined it would be very useful in making people think of it in a different way.

Rita - Glad you like it.  Brooke Hunt deserves all the credit.

Sherry - I would love to see a bit more of it too!  Being a neighbor, I'm sure you deal with much the same as we do down here.

Posted by Matt Stigliano (Kimberly Howell Properties (210) 646-HOME) about 11 years ago

Its true and yet all you hear is otherwise about real estate.

Posted by Shane OnullGorman, Eau Claire Wisconsin, Real Estate Agent & Realtor- Buy or Sell (Eau Claire Realty, Inc.) about 11 years ago

Matt...  would you see if you can get US News and World Report to post your post?   LOL    Nice reminder, man!

Randy Hooker

Posted by Randy Hooker, Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, Queen Creek (Dreamcatcher Realty / Greater Phoenix Area) about 11 years ago

Matt thanks so much for referencing my post in your message. I agree; Brooke summed it up simply and accurately. I haven't heard an analogy as great as that in a long a long time. Better believe I am even more inspired now, and will be using that one myself. Great post!

Posted by Amber Noble-Garland about 11 years ago

Matt thanks so much for referencing my post in your message. I agree; Brooke summed it up simply and accurately. I haven't heard an analogy as great as that in a long a long time. Better believe I am even more inspired now, and will be using that one myself. Great post!

Posted by AMBER NOBLE GARLAND - Top Real Estate Expert, Property Tax Appeal Specialist & Author, - The Agent You Can Trust To Deliver REAL Results! (Strategic Marketing Expert & Relocation Specialist Serving New Jersey and nationwide!) about 11 years ago

Perfect. As one working in the relatively unaffected areas, I just wrote a post on the 381 markets measured by PMI, and the FACT that 2/3 aren't doing so badly at all... with minimal or low chance of price loss in the next 2 years. 

I wrote it right after I heard "bet the house on Wachovia" Jim Cramer tell Chris Matthews, breathlessly, that homeprices "had to fall another 20%."

I think her sum up and analogy got it all in one sentence.

Posted by Terry McDonald about 11 years ago

Matt, love the quote. No we don't dress for Florida in Mi. This is a fresh way to look at it. Now if we can just get the buyers to not look at National data and apply it for all the various communities. Even in Washtenaw County we have different stat's for different townships and communities.

Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) about 11 years ago

Hi Matt:

Hey, I know that Elephant!  And I wonder how many people (even in NJ), know her name! -

Posted by Toula Rosebrock, Broker/Sales Associate, Realtor, Lacey Township, (Diane Turton, Realtors, Forked River, NJ) about 11 years ago

Brilliant!  THat woman is brilliant! I love it.  I am memorizing it now!KM

Posted by Kristin Moran, San Antonio,TX - Real Estate - 210-313-7397 (Owner - RE/MAX Access - about 11 years ago

My Colo. Ass. of Realtors mag. said the same thing this month. And my broker have always said real estate is local. Apparently, Colorado has fared better than other states according to this issue of CAR. When I trek up through the snow to take pictures and pound in my sign this afternoon on my new lisitng I will remember those words. I am doing real estate locally and I am producing.

Posted by Sabrina Kelley, Woodland Park Colorado Mountain Homes and Land (ERA Herman Group Real Estate) about 11 years ago

Great advice! You have to look at the national news reports objectively and start analyzing your local real estate market.

Posted by Steve Zarry, Austin Central Texas, Real Estate (House Buying Now) about 11 years ago

Yo! I hear what you're sayin' and I agree. There are indicators in each of our market places that have some relation to Regional and even National trends, yes? Each market is different and it's important for consumers to listen to the message from their local professionals.

Posted by Craig W. Barrett, Hughesville MD Real Estate (RE/MAX 100) about 11 years ago

Shane - I understand the consumers point of view though, they are bombarded with it, so its hard to shake and ignore.  Add a little distrust for the real estate industry as a whole and who would want to believe what we're saying.  Its a hard thing to convince people of, but I think many agents I've met are doing what they can to generate the talk that we all need to have with buyers, sellers, and our own industry.

Randy - That's the thing...if some media would take these posts and run with them, I think we'd see immediate results.

Amber - Between your post (which did an excellent job of showing the process of thought on the subject in a consumer's mind) and the simplicity of the quote, I think everyone can get some ideas on how to help buyers and sellers process the information once they get it.

Terry - I disregard most analysts.  We think they're brilliant when they nail it, but I see too many times where they miscalculate and get it wrong.  Its really a crap shoot (with some knowledge and experience thrown in behind it).

Missy - Dressing for FL in MI can lead to hypothermia.

Toula - Being from PA, I've actually visited Lucy and remember the "Save Lucy" campaign.

Kristin - The good news is that she's heading up our state Association.  Check the article out, I actually enjoyed it and it gave me some good feelings about TAR.

Sabrina - A little positive attitude always helps.  Putting signs up in the snow?  I don't think I could be very positive doing that (brrrrrrrr).  Oh wait, I'd be putting up a sign...I could be positive doing that in a tornado.

Steve - I think you have to analyze a few things.  Your personal situation, your local market, and what you want out of a home purchase.  Analyze those three things and you've got it made.

Craig - Interesting point you made...there are some relations to regional and national trends, that is true.  Perhaps that's why it comes out of our mouths that "its local - ignore the news!" and its hard to convince people.  Perhaps sometimes we try to sell the idea more than we should.  If we cram it down everyone's throats as law without a nod to the overall market, maybe we come off as all "sunshine and roses" which is what many people fear from the real estate industry (such as someone who was told not to worry about their ARM going up because they can just refinance at a lower rate later - oops).  I guess there has to be a balance between them both when offering our opinions.

Posted by Matt Stigliano (Kimberly Howell Properties (210) 646-HOME) about 11 years ago

Exactly. That's where your local professional experience adds value to the home buying process... Relating Regional and National news stories, trends, topics of discussion, etc... (good and bad) to your local marketplace. And offering that information in a way your clients understand so they can make well informed decisions. Don't mean to hijack, just my humble opinion.

Posted by Craig W. Barrett, Hughesville MD Real Estate (RE/MAX 100) about 11 years ago

Craig - I think you know me well enough by now to know that I don't consider a good discussion "hijacking."   I'm glad you brought it up actually, as you're right.  I try to avoid being too "positive" towards potential clients.  There's no good way of saying that, when I read the sentence it sounds wrong.  I just mean that if you play the "sunshine and roses" side too much, you run the danger of sounding like you're just covering for something.  You know what I mean?  I had an agent once who was overly enthusiastic - to a point of farce.  Because of that, I didn't trust her very much.

Posted by Matt Stigliano (Kimberly Howell Properties (210) 646-HOME) about 11 years ago

I can't even find my buyers a decent listing.  We went out this evening to look at two homes - the only two that matched their criteria.  Everything here that is worth living in is selling at or near list price.  Looking at the MLS statistics one would get the idea prices are coming down.  The fact is that there are fewer "excellent" listings on the market.  Those that started too high are coming down to true market value giving the market a false sense of devaluation.  People are holding on to their homes.  When I was building I did an analysis in 2007 to see where all the new construction buyers were coming from.  They were move up sellers that owned homes less than five years old.  That market has dried up.

Posted by Ed McNamara, MBA (Bean & Dunn Real Estate) almost 11 years ago

Great Post!


Posted by Isa Alwazzan (EXiT REALTY GROUP) almost 11 years ago

Matt, Great post...hurray for you and thanks for sharing!  Your analogy to the weather is excellent.  It is time to pay attention to how our weather is instead of comparing and contrasting.  Thanks again

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

I have a buyer who is trying to pay Florida distressed prices for North Carolina mountain real estate. his offers are so low, sellers don't even counter.

Posted by Susie Blackmon, Ocala, Horses, Western Wear, Horse Farms, Marketing almost 11 years ago

I always resume all that in a frase that I have adopted as my own mark:

"We have to think globally in a local way"

Posted by Angel Calzadilla almost 11 years ago

Absolutely. Which I focus on in my blog, mailings, etc - local market conditions. Interesting thing, prices have started swinging back up in my neck of the woods. That's an awesome sign, I think, of things to come...

Posted by William James Walton Sr., Greater Waterbury Real Estate (WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briotti Group) almost 11 years ago

Matt, I love the analogy, thanks so much for publishing it.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) almost 11 years ago

Matt, love the post and that statement is dead-on.  Ms. Hunt deserves a gold star, too.

Posted by Roger Johnson, Realtor - Hickory NC Real Estate (Hickory Real Estate Group) almost 11 years ago

Great post Matt.  Makes so much sense!


Posted by Julie Boyd-Elrod, Realtor®, Broker Associate, and Investor (Keller Williams Realty) almost 11 years ago

That's a great way to state the fact.  I going to remember it. 

I publish market condition reports by zip code and there is difference between them.  Really reinforces the simply statement you published.

Posted by Mark Watterson, Utah Real Estate almost 11 years ago

Halleluhah!!  It is so true.  I wish people would just turn off the news it is all gloom and doom and 1/2 of it or less is true ie....swine flu.  Pandemic???? Isn't everything they talk about these days blown out of perspective...

Posted by Suzanne Gantner almost 11 years ago

This is the phrase that we all should be conditioned to say whenever talking about "real estate is local." Nice work on your post here.

Posted by Scott Sambucci (Altos Research) almost 11 years ago


So true and I'm glad you've re-emphasized it here. I've found it sometimes goes even more local than local--maybe to a particular street or a particular property. If real estate weren't local, there would be no need for us. Everyone could just listen to the news, price their home accordingly, put a fsbo sign in the yard and the deal would be done!

I heard the economy might be turning...


Posted by Kevin Kilpatrick (EXIT Realty Success, Salt Lake City, West Jordan, Utah) almost 11 years ago

Great Info, so simple and so common sense........

Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Curtis Yorki almost 11 years ago


A true statement. I spent 2 hours in my computer yesterday evening, going over properties that have sold in the last 5 months in the $ 200,000-$450,000 range in San Diego, on two different areas, and I was truly amazed that almost 80% of those homes sold in less than 8 days. REO's always sold above their initial asking price and disappeared the same day with multiple offers. Gave me a new perspective on how to advice my Buyers.



Posted by Isaac Bensussen (Pacific Coast Real Estate Group) almost 11 years ago

Elegant simplicity.

If more people thought for themselves and less as directed by the media, this point would be nearly redundant, eh?

Candice (media 3.0 is us) :)

Posted by Candice A. Donofrio, 928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text (Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker) almost 11 years ago

In the market I am in the news is being kind. My market place is hard hit, however we are all affected by the decisions of our White House. It will be interesting to watch the effects of all these bail outs. I think the best bail out is to take your licks and get back up and start fresh. Trillions of dollars of more currency thrown into the market place is a little concerning.

Posted by Rob almost 11 years ago

Great advise.  The mantra of the press is that we are all dying of swine flu in worthless houses.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) almost 11 years ago

Matt, it is so simple, and that is exactly what we need to do to explain this concept to our clients, no mamble jungle real estate jargon! say like it is, the way she put it was the way we all should talk when the subject that is our daily bread comes up. Look at YOU, where YOU are... then be YOU! Thanks for the inspirational quote.


Posted by Antonio & Alexia Cardenas, "The Realtors In Motion" (Alameda County - San Leandro, CA.) almost 11 years ago

Hi Matt,

So true!  Steamboat Springs, CO seems to be a "Last in, First out" situation.  I am enjoying a very busy spring and looking forward to an even busier summer!

Posted by Margie Callahan ( almost 11 years ago

Great Quote Matt,


I will pass this around in Northern Colorado.  We have the same problem even though our market is great and prices are starting to go up a bit.  Trying to get sellers to list is like trying to give a cat a bath. In some price ranges we can not find decent homes for the buyers because of inventory.



Posted by Kurt Albers - Century 21 Humpal, Inc. Loveland, Colorado almost 11 years ago

Fantastic line that I will be using time and again, with your permission of course. Exactly to the point and exactly correct.

Posted by Scott Baker, Realtor Homes for Sale in Cincinnati, West Chester, Mason, OH Area ( Coldwell Banker West Shell) almost 11 years ago

I'm going to keep this one.  Thanks.

Posted by Kelly Liberatore almost 11 years ago

This is great Matt-thank you for posting!  I think buyers are getting the message, we've got really encouraging news from the latest statistics for April here in Fort Lauderdale.

Posted by Jon C. Mumford almost 11 years ago

So simple and so true - congratulations on the feature article!

Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) almost 11 years ago

This is absolutely true, especially here in Syracuse, NY. I really like that line as a great way to make people understand.

Posted by Steve Saleski almost 11 years ago


 Great post, I read that same article earlier this evening and found it as equally intriguing.  Very well written post!

Posted by Frank Bailey Sr. (Keller Williams Realty) almost 11 years ago

Great post, and thoughts---recently used your "weather comment" in a presentation I made this wk. Great analogy!!  Love it -- if only we could make buyers understand it.  I have found to make it work you need to know what is going on nationally--- and you better be a specialist-true proffessional in your community --- and know the numbers of what is happening in your local market---so they realize they  don't/ shouldn't  listen to the weather in "Boise".    --andrea




Posted by andrea re (Mopper-Stapen,Realtors) almost 11 years ago

I loved that quote when I read it myself and I still love it when re-reading it now.  What an excellent way of explaining the current market to consumers...however, as Andrea alluded to, some consumers are more "gloom and doom" oriented than others.  Those we still need to reassure.    Now more than ever it is important to truly be a "local specialist" as well as to keep abreast of the national headlines.  

Posted by Kellie Fitzgerald (Kellie Fitzgerald - Chiricahua Real Estate) almost 11 years ago

Great Post!  and you know, the same can be said for "averages".  We hear on the news the "average price drop in the US is...."   That comment is about as relevant as the average temperature in the US is....  If you're in Death Valley, CA in the middle of August, the average temperature in the US is not important.  If you're in Bismark, North Dakota in the middle of winter, the average temperature in the US is not relavent.  Same for average change of price in the US, each market and sub-market has it's own dynamic.

Posted by Dava Behrens almost 11 years ago

Wow, this all started with a mention in another post that I always liked this post.  Next thing I's in the newsletter and you're all here commenting away.  Thanks.

Just to be clear, the credit doesn't go to me, it goes to Brooke Hunt, the Chairman (Chairwoman?) of the Texas Association of Realtors®.  I just wrote about it.

Those that know me, know I like to "stir things up" as Randy Hooker likes to say (I think he's thinking of other words) and although I do see the need to help consumers understand things, I also wonder "Are Realtors® Too Positive About The Market? Or Are They Not Doing Enough?"  Although my original intent of the post was to see what the consumer/reader would say, I also thought I'd like to hear the real estate community's thoughts on it as well (and I'd love for my readers to see what other agents think, not just me).

Posted by Matt Stigliano (Kimberly Howell Properties (210) 646-HOME) almost 11 years ago

I have been telling people that same thing, They can't seem to believe that houses are selling, they have an even harder time believeing that people are getting mortgages.

I keep telling them Real Estate is Local - forget the media - they would rather report the worst than anything positive anyway.

Maybe if we pound it into enough heads people will get it!


Posted by Donna Galinsky, Make Lake Norman Your Home! (Allen Tate Company) almost 11 years ago


This is so true! I tell people that all the time. Thanks for sharing.


Mary Campbell

Posted by Mary Campbell (Abrams Coastal Properties) almost 11 years ago

Hi Matt,

We have also fared better than the average in the Denver Metro market as well.  But as you pointed out, in all markets there are 'pockets' of real estate where some do well and some do poorly.

It's always important to keep the mantra in mind.

Posted by Stuart Dobson ( almost 11 years ago

Great post and nicely written. I always tell people that real estate is local. Why would it ever be national?

Posted by Kelsey Barklow, 423/948-9154 (Hurd Realty) almost 11 years ago

Her message is brilliant...I can see why she heads your Association!!!

Posted by Sonya Loose, Helping Buyers & Sellers of Waterfront Property (Modern Realty) almost 11 years ago

Sonya - I'm very proud to have someone with real insight and wisdom to lead our state association.

Posted by Matt Stigliano (Kimberly Howell Properties (210) 646-HOME) almost 11 years ago