Apple Valley Ohio Lake Community by Sam Miller


Marketing In A Small Town

Selling real estate in smaller real estate communities like Mount Vernon, Ohio and Apple Valley, Ohio can be very rewarding if you understand your market.  There are some unique key factors you will want to consider before you launch your marketing plan into high speed.  The benefits of a smaller market can make you a market leader quickly if you do the right things and if you are not likeable and approachable in a smaller market you can end your chances for success very quickly.

If you are in a market where you are selling homes ultra affordable homes or you are working in a market where the average income is modest it is not smart to show up at the listing appointment driving a new Mercedes,  BMW or Lexus (even if it is a cheaper model).  Sure some people will think you are successful but often you will create a barrier between you and your client because that car may cost twice what that household family may earn in a year.  If your smaller market has any American automotive suppliers or manufactures it is generally not wise to drive a foreign car even if it is a Honda because many from smaller markets frown on this.  You may find this strange that an agent can get away driving a $60,000 Caddy or Lincoln but are frowned on for driving a $30,000 Honday.  It is not about the is about small town values.

Your professional image in a small town can make or break your business and the swing can happen very quickly.  In a smaller market people notice your success if you have any marketing skill at all.  One mistake many agents make in a small market is they preach they are number #1 instead of focusing on their client.  In a small town being number certainly has it's advantages but unless you can help the market understand that by you being the best in your market actually adds value to their transaction.  If they think you are bragging you can quickly chase away more business than you will attract. 

Saying you are the #1 Realtor in Mount Vernon, Ohio with more than $30 million in home sales in 2006 doesn't work nearly as well in a small market as saying "I would like to thank all my Mount Vernon clients and  customers who helped me become the areas top home seller in 2006".  Even though they sound similar the second one will attract far more consumers in a small market.

Feel free to share your small market successes here.

Comment balloon 22 commentsSam Miller • March 01 2007 07:15AM


Living and working in a small town, you can never run to the grocery store before you take a shower and get dressed for the just never know who you may run into!
Posted by Don Fabrizio-Garcia, Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate (Fab Real Estate) over 13 years ago

Don, I totally agree because in a small town word travels fast. 

Posted by Sam Miller, Knox County Ohio Real Estate Specialist (RE/MAX Stars Realty) over 13 years ago
I live in a town of 117,000 and I hesitate to go to the store unless I am cleaned up.  Unless it is the car parts store...
Posted by Mike Jaquish, 919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate (Realty Arts) over 13 years ago
Small towns create their own unique problems.   Marco Island has 35,000 year round residents.   So everyone knows everyone else.   I am constantly finding that is a problem.  Good news travels quickly, bad new and negative stuff -- ten times faster.  Incorrect information even faster.  Corrections slower.
Posted by Colleen Irwin, Creative Real Estate Solutions... (Retired) over 13 years ago
I would think that your competition would be limited and if your up on your game it would Be pretty easy to corner the market in a small town!
Posted by Danny Smith (DISCOVER TEXAS HOMES) over 13 years ago

Great advice Sam, I also feel dressing for the client is important. If you are selling high end property some dress the part; however, here in Pacific NW, where boating is king, most people dress casual. Some agents think it's nothing to show waterfront properties in shorts. I'm all for that as long as it is tasteful.

I'd be remiss if I'd wear a three piece business suit to show my mobile home clients. That's not who they are.

Posted by Karen Villa Schweinfurth, ABR, CRS, SRES, CyberStar (RE/MAX Northwest Realtors, Inc. 425-308-3669) over 13 years ago
Colleen, You are right about the speed in which rumors spead in a small town.  This can be an advantage in a small community if you are doing really good things.  If an agent does something negative it can destroy their business very quickly.  There was an agent who went through a touch divorce and their spouse didn't pay their bills after the divorce and the agent lost her home through foreclosure.  That foreclosure put that agent essentially out of business even though it was primarily the fault of her ex husband.  In a small town you want people spreading good rumors about you.  Sam Miller
Posted by Sam Miller, Knox County Ohio Real Estate Specialist (RE/MAX Stars Realty) over 13 years ago
Danny, I have found it can actually be harder in a small town to get your business really rolling because there are so many folks that are already connected to a Realtor through a friend, a church or a service organization.  The other challenge is in a small town you are limited by some very specific demographics so your ability to grow is somewhat restricted without growing outside of your community.
Posted by Sam Miller, Knox County Ohio Real Estate Specialist (RE/MAX Stars Realty) over 13 years ago

Sam, great really seems you have invested some time understanding the clientele you work with. Having traveled much of America I can certainly agree with your points about small town interpretation.

This is a good reminder for everyone to think about how their demographic views professional behaviour.

Cheers, -B


Posted by Bryce Mohan (Bryce Mohan Photography) over 13 years ago

I agree completely!  Do the work and it is my firm belief, you will reap the rewards.  Bradski

Posted by Brad Patshkowski, Home Loans Spokane, WA (Heritage Home Loans a division of Mann Mortgage LLC) over 13 years ago

Well said Sam -  BTW I have read about you on Howard Brintons Star Power newsletters and congratulations on all your well deserved success.  P.S. I added myself as an Associate on your profile :-)

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) over 13 years ago
In a small trade area word of mouth is the best form of advertising.  So being a nice guy and knowledgable does pay off.
Posted by Michael Roberts (Real Estate Professionals of Glynn) over 13 years ago

George,  Thanks for your comments about my involvement with Howard Brinton and Star Power.  I have been actively working with the Howard Brinton organization since 1993 and he is a truly wonderful person.  Thanks for adding me as an associate also!  Happy Selling, Sam Miller

Posted by Sam Miller, Knox County Ohio Real Estate Specialist (RE/MAX Stars Realty) over 13 years ago
Michael, You really are on target with your comments about "being a nice guy and knowledgeable does pay off".  I have found that if you treat people well and make sure they know you appreciate them you will continually grow your business.  You need to be on the client's level more than in any other market and the client needs to be able to relate to you on some level so having common interests or a common bond can be extremely helpful.
Posted by Sam Miller, Knox County Ohio Real Estate Specialist (RE/MAX Stars Realty) over 13 years ago

Do you find that the average sales price in your small market are higher than neighboring marketings or are your prices lower because you are in a smaller market?  Sam Miller

Posted by Sam Miller, Knox County Ohio Real Estate Specialist (RE/MAX Stars Realty) over 13 years ago

Lower wages, fewer people and off the beaten path add up to real real estate values.  More for your money as less money going around.  But with internet and 911, folks are looking for Mayberry's to get lost, get healed, get retired or get family raised in.

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) over 13 years ago
Small towns are more friendly than the bigger cities and that is the lifestyle I have grown to love.  I am all smiles in Knox County Ohio.  Sam Miller
Posted by Sam Miller, Knox County Ohio Real Estate Specialist (RE/MAX Stars Realty) over 13 years ago

Why are small towns friendlier....(pulling out magnifying glass) ..main reason? Elbow jam ten adults in a Hugo and take a spin...and soon a fight will erupt.  If that guy that eat onions with his subway sandwich an hour earlier puts his sharpened elbow in my side one more time....(tempers soaring).  SPACE.  Second reason, simple life.  When it come time to say let's grab the kids and go put  the feed bag on somewhere other than home...there are not 100 options on where to eat.  When you need a new faucet for the tub, there are not 100 options at the local hardware store.  You tend to just be grateful they have two faucets to pick from.  You are not overwhelmed with choice...simple...chocolate or vanilla.  Or a twist...whoooo hoooo.  But in many rural areas, keys to locks are not needed.  Kids are brought up not destroying other people's property for fun...because it is not funny.  They  know when Dad and Mom find out...oh for cover.  And they were not handed crisp new twenties on a regular basis.  They earn what they have and they don't get paid for everything or praised to the hilt for every action.  In a family, you have chores.  Everyone works and knows the role.  Because they contribute, they feel more a sense of family or cohesive "unit".  In a small town, folks grow up knowing what life is all about and everyone is on the same page.  The awareness of the little things..what a sunset, aren't the stars bright, hey look a moose all come into focus and become clear as a bell.  Every day is special and the beauty of unspoiled rural america rings loud and clear each day. structures!


The best things about a small town rural setting is what we don't traffic, low crime, a sense that the village raises your kids and vs versa.  Low cost real estate.  Home made not store bought.  Not gobs of money kicking around so when you sponsor the little league, you feel a part of the team.  Scenery without subdivisions spoiling it.  Lakes you can see to the bottom in places...clear, unspoiled.  It is like being at Space Mountain at Disney...and no line.  Grateful for what we do have because there is not an over abundance of material things so material stuff does not become the source of happiness.  You can not afford in a small town a 35' Scarab Wellcraft with two 454's or a Lamborghini.  The old rambler that is paid for with the same milieage it takes to get to the moon (240,000 miles) is fine and dandy.  Kinda attached to the old girl.  In a small town, it is not a revolving door of upgrades and purchases.  Hanging on to what you have, taking better care of it an attitude that everyone locally adopts and prescribes to. 

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) over 13 years ago
You are right Lea.  In a small town everyone knows if you are messing up or if are  consistently do a good job! They also say it is hard to get rich in a small town...everyone is watching.  Get ahead...just not too far ahead.  In a city the shady characters can get lost in the crowd and little by little they still eek out an existence from customers that don't know any better.  In a small town, they are quickly looking for a different employment because their bridges are burned quickly.  The other downside of a small town is a restaurant ask your friend what they think two days after opening.  Friend had a bad piece of buffalo there.  Suddenly the word spreads..and very quickly opinion of the place based on Jimmy's bad piece of spam can be the critic's gospel for area...."I heard their buffalo is like shoe leather Martha"...I tell folks...give 'em a chance to break 'er in...and decide for yourself how the fare is.  If you do a good job early on, that first impression is very important and lasts until you really mess up repeatedly.  Are you going to make everyone happy?  No..misunderstandings, miscommunication...series of circumstances.  Pass the taters Lea.  Hey do you own this joint?? Have the right name for the site!
Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) over 13 years ago

Thanks to everyone who has posted in this thread and I want you to know that I do appreciate all your  positive comments!

Sam Miller

Posted by Sam Miller, Knox County Ohio Real Estate Specialist (RE/MAX Stars Realty) over 13 years ago

Just found this thread.  Many truths here.  However, I do smile at the idea of 35,000 being considered a small town, given that our community grew by almost ten percent last year (we're in the middle of a growth boom), up to 1400 souls! 

And the nearby "big town" is about 25,000. 

It's all relative. 

You CAN find out just about anything you want to know about what's going on in town and who's doing what (and maybe even where they are) by dropping by the local feed store, though.  Even the local law enforcement does that!


Posted by Tricia Jumonville, Texas REALTOR , Agent With Horse Sense (Bradfield Properties) over 13 years ago
Don't have 35,000...Houlton Maine is 6700+/- and you have bedroom communities around it like Hersey Maine...63, Haynesville 136, Moro Plantation 45...and these are each six by six mile towns!  Not a ton of people to gossip about and usually on a working farm, you have to get your chores done rather than meddle in someone else's affairs!  The weather clock is always ticking...get those seeds in the ground, get the hay in before it is ruined by rain, get those crops out before frost spoils them...become pretty efficient with your time!  And above all else..."Just grateful to be here." Feel very fortunate and lucky!
Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) over 13 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments