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In turbulent times, real estate professionals have a unique opportunity to step up and successfully guide buyers. You will be ahead of the game if you help clients separate the facts from the hype and clarify how national real conditions affect local markets. Buying a home can be stressful under the best of conditions. When you add in general anxiety and confusion about the housing market, you’re bound to have buyers waiting on the sidelines for a better day.

Go local. The Internet puts today’s consumers a click away from a world of real estate information. You can’t know all the news that’s available to your clients, but you can maintain the information advantage by becoming the expert on local markets. Focus on information your clients don’t have. Local market information gathered from your experience, your MLS, and your network of local contacts is unique and provides value to your clients that other sources can’t match.

Do the math. You don’t need to be an expert in statistics, but you should know what the key numbers mean and how to explain them clearly. Numbers like days on market, units closed, list-to-sales price and pending sales can provide great insight on where your local market is headed. It’s also impressive to clients when real estate pros know how local trends stack up against national numbers.

Show and tell. Using your MLS and marketing tools such as, you can provide personalized reports that show current neighborhood information and local demographic information such as schools, crime, employment and education. Provide branded leave-behind reports and materials homebuyers can reference later. When you become the local source who can explain market conditions with current statistics and visual summaries, you gain an advantage over less-prepared agents.

Bring the bad news. Yes, prices are falling through the floor in many areas, particularly where activities like sub-prime lending, overbuilding and investor speculation occurred. The media tends to focus on areas where these abuses occur, bringing the bad news into sharp focus. You can help clients understand that falling prices in these areas are part of a natural – and necessary – market correction. As prices continue to fall, the real estate market will begin to recover as part of its normal cyclical process.

Be sure to keep your prospects and clients engaged throughout the recovery process. Changes in local sales, home prices and inventory are good indicators of your local market’s health. The national real estate market will inevitably recover, and those buyers who are on the fence now may be ready to purchase in the near future as some sunlight begins to emerge from the market’s dark clouds.