In a 2019 Realtor.com consumer survey, 97% of respondents answered that an agent's local market expertise was important; for 25% of respondents, it was the most important trait overall.

The three most important factors in real estate are “location, location, location.” But location isn’t limited to neighborhood; location within a neighborhood also matters.

Good local agents consistently take time to tour neighborhood homes for sale, noting things like floorplans, features, and price changes, developing a granular depth of understanding of sold homes over time, accumulating knowledge to gain insight and context for those homes that are for sale.

But more, because they know local people and other agents, good local agents will also know about homes that will be coming to market, and when, before they’re listed! This information can help you decide when to put your home on the market, or whether to wait before putting in an offer. Good local agents should have substantial knowledge of all of the properties sold, and those that will be selling in their geographical area of expertise.

Without a good local agent’s in-depth local knowledge, both sellers and buyers may not know how a particular home compares with another seemingly similar home just a block or two away - eg. because of different schools, property tax assessments, neighbors, traffic, flight paths, or what may be important to buyers looking in your neighborhood.

Without in-depth local knowledge an agent may be unable to accurately account for price differences between seemingly similar homes. Practically speaking, a good local agent can rely on their in-depth neighborhood knowledge to justify counteroffers, and negotiate a deal from a truly informed position.

The area a good local agent covers must be limited because time is limited, and getting, maintaining, and adding to their knowledge base takes a great deal of time spent “working” the area. It takes time to get to know the people in the neighborhood and then stay current by talking to: homeowners, agents, real estate appraisers, buyers, prospective buyers, escrow officers, mortgage brokers, insurance agents, school personnel, business owners, government workers, and politicians, etc.

A good local agent adds value to both sellers and buyers by knowing about what’s going on locally, like reading local news, going to local committee meetings, eg. local zoning and planning meetings to keep abreast of local government requirements and upcoming changes affecting development or land use.

An agent with depth of local knowledge has key insights that aren’t obvious from searching online, which can be very valuable for a seller - for instance - when your agent talks to out-of-area buyers up about your home and its neighborhood, giving them valuable insights to increase interest, insights which the buyer may be unfamiliar with.