All politics is local. All real estate is local. Doesn’t that mean that all real estate is politics?
Maybe not, but the spheres and relationships that define both often mean they interconnect and overlap. Decisions by county or municipal policymakers have an outsized effect on housing markets, small businesses and many other factors that influence a real estate enterprise. Along with informed voting, deeper involvement in these decisions is the best way to make sure your interests are represented in the place that means the most to you–your country, neighborhood and your town.
Here are three ways to make sure you’re aware and involved in your local political landscape:
Nearly every library and community center is looking for people who want to spend a few hours a month beautifying, cleaning up or learning about their town and neighbors. Everything from helping research town history to interacting with seniors not only helps you grow your network but can give you valuable insight into the issues most important to your neighbors. Use these opportunities–which are often flexible and low-pressure–to learn about what perspectives, decisions or movements are currently affecting or are likely to affect your business.
Start Your Own Interest Group
Most (not all) local leaders are ecstatic to meet more people who want to be involved. Find an issue or arena that does not yet have a local advocate and become that person, inviting other like-minded individuals to join you. Anything from protecting local wildlife, boosting arts programs or planning more transportation options are the purview of your local policymakers, and they will often happily provide resources or guidance to a constituent who wants to put in some work.
Become a Public Servant
Most real estate professionals don’t have the ability to take on the responsibilities of a mayor or town manager (though some do). But joining certain boards, councils or commissions often translates to a part-time commitment but also gives a lot of insight and influence into local decisions. Planning, parks, local history, environmental preservation and education are all issues real estate professionals should care about. Since every town has different processes around serving, reach out to a party committee or town clerk to find out what opportunities there are for you.
Though politics can be complex or controversial, even at the local level, not being involved in something that can have such a big influence on your success could inhibit it. Whether you want to dedicate a lot or just a little bit of energy, making sure you have a voice in your local government can be a win for you and your clients.
Jesse Williams is RISMedia’s associate online editor. Email him with your real estate news ideas, email@example.com.