As a REALTOR® you are a huge asset to your community. Housing plays a major role in economic development and you are the professional who can potentially be the “go-to” person for expertise and data that can help position your locality as a desirable community for business to locate and grow. Being part of your local chamber of commerce or economic development council are great avenues to share your expertise.

In order to be in this position you need to be the “expert.” While doing a comparative market analysis for a home is second nature, a comparative market analysis for an entire town is a whole other matter. Companies have this down to a science, but many local officials do not. Housing data and sales statistics are part of the picture, however some of the other things that companies look at are intellectual capital and the pool of labor in addition to the local competition. Having this information in the back of your mind helps when engaging both cities and/or potential businesses that may want to locate in your market area, some resources that you can tap into are:        

• Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Bureau of Labor Statistics can help you understand what the current labor demands may be in your area and help understand what the demand for housing might be.    

• U.S. Census Data –
data gives great demographic and housing data that can provide a framework for discussion of what future trends and opportunities could be.

• Economic Development Administration –
• Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
The Economic Development  Administration and Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity can provide you research and data that can help you analyze the cost of new business development that can help you with both your commercial clients and also as a resource to your local community chamber of commerce or economic development council.

This type of background work and research is relatively easy and should only take an afternoon of your time. This is intended to be coupled with your background and expertise that you’ve acquired from your real estate experience in the community. This extra time and volunteer activity could result in extra business that will make the research and volunteer commitment pay off.