Even though there are still three journal entries left to publish in the Spheres & Farms™ design journal, perhaps it isn’t too early to harvest some practical lessons for brokerage brand strategy. These are lessons for brokerages, not brokers themselves, although brokers would benefit by studying them. They start with an approach that treats residential listing and selling data as business intelligence, rather than merely as enticements to prospective sellers to list.

Divide markets into coherent, discrete, targetable communities. The divisions that are used by data vendors may not suit this purpose, and may require further selection or screening. For example, the boundaries of “areas” commonly referenced in reports by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, the regional MLS whose data were used for Spheres & Farms™, were set decades ago. They vary widely in size and shape, with inadequate similitude for comparisons. Urban communities, suburbs, and smaller towns are better subjects of analysis.

Among these communities, know where your current agents are listing. Know all the attributes of those places, and what is selling in those places. In Spheres & Farms™, this information is handily printed on 178 cards. In real life, some brokerages will have more, others fewer. Learn them all.

Compare the attributes of these communities with the priorities for development of the brand. Keep an eye on the visibility that each of these communities offers to the brand. Amalgamate prioritized communities as needed so that there are enough regular listing and selling data for reliable observations.

Break down listings and sales by percentile price bounds, then align neighborhoods within those bounds to discover which neighborhoods are most closely aligned with your brand. Now you have the information you need to prioritize broker management, recruitment, project selection, promotion, and events.

Identify your own brokers who are listing and selling in these prioritized locations. Consult them for insight that will supplement or contraindicate the findings from data.

Next, identify agents of competing brands with strong listing and selling performance in your targeted locations. Use your accumulated insight about their own markets to target these agents for recruitment.

Evaluate recent projects listed by these brokers and in these targeted locations, their alignment with communities nearby and with your brand, and their absorption rates. Identify relevant homebuilders and solicit them for project marketing opportunities.

The familiar use of residential real estate selling data as bait for sellers leaves many strategic insights unexplored. As described above, a wargaming approach to residential real estate brand strategy and development structures the use of data in ways that benefit the entire business.

Schedule of entries

  1. Spheres & Farms™ design and strategy journal: Introduction
  2. The agent and brokerage as real estate brands
  3. How price and place matter
  4. Visualization, testing, and learning
  5. Spheres & Farms™ game summary
  6. Game procedures and routines in the context of agency law and practice
  7. Game components; agent counters and cards
  8. Farming methods; market selection
  9. More about marketing spheres; the economic cycle track (ECT)
  10. Economic cycle effects on marketing spheres
  11. Location cards: the Spheres & Farms™ "game map"
  12. Location card contents, office locations and maintenance
  13. The prospecting/event card deck
  14. Prospecting for listings and incurring events
  15. P&CR points: promoting and selling listings
  1. Construction projects and pre-sales
  2. Visibility points: accumulation and scoring
  3. Sequence of play