First – Why should you choose a niche? Why not serve everyone?
Because having a niche is a smart business move. Unless you’re working in such a small community that one niche, or even two, would not support you, having a niche and becoming known for your expertise is a sure path to success.
You cannot possibly learn enough to be an expert in every type of real estate or to competently serve every type of buyer or seller. You CAN become an expert in a niche – or even in 2 or 3 niches.
Your niche gives you focus – for the self-education you need to serve your clients well, for growing into a true expert, and for marketing your services.
Focus is also useful in adding hours to your day. If you’re not driving from one side of the town (or the County) to service your listings, and if you’re not scrambling to get answers to questions about an unfamiliar area or type of home, you’ll have more time to spend with clients – or your loved ones.
Next, it helps you conserve your marketing dollars while appealing to the prospects you want most. In addition, attaining “expert” status in your niche leads to more and more referrals.
And… it helps bring visitors to your website. You can’t compete with “the big guys” for keywords such as “Homes in Mytown,” but when you begin adding details about your niche to your website, you can put yourself on page one of a search. When you follow up with blogging about events, attractions, neighborhood amenities, zoning changes, planned construction projects, or even hours of operation at the community pool, you’re offering information people want – and the big guys don’t have.
Remember – just because you develop a niche doesn’t mean you can’t help people outside of that niche. You can. You’ll just have to spend more time getting the answers to people’s questions.
But how should you choose that niche?
Over the years I’ve known many agents who chose a niche based on the money. They wanted to list and sell the most expensive homes in the market because they wanted larger commission checks.
Unfortunately, that choice didn’t work out well for them, for a couple of reasons.
First, most of them were a bit resentful of the people who could afford to own those homes. They described their buyers and sellers as arrogant, snooty, and unfriendly. They said they were treated with no respect – much as those folks would have treated someone they hired to wash the car or mow the lawn.
The bottom line – these agents and their would-be clients simply didn’t mesh, and they had no respect for each other.
Second, the agents didn’t know the markets they hoped to dominate. They didn’t know what they needed to know about high end properties (or the likes and dislikes of the people who own them). In our area, most of the high-dollar real estate is on a river or one of the lakes. There’s a lot to know about everything from land regulations to insurance and taxation. But these agents didn’t take the time to learn.
A better way to choose… Focus on what you know and/or enjoy.
- That might be your own neighborhood, if you’re thinking of developing a geographic territory.
- It might be a category of homes, based on price range, style, or even age.
- It might be people in specific price ranges or situations.
You may be in love with historic homes and know all about how to restore them, how to modernize them without destroying the original style, and even how to get them listed on the Historic Register.
Or, it could be that you don’t care for resale homes and want to deal primarily with new construction.
Maybe you love condos and are expert at dealing with the governing associations.
Perhaps you’re most familiar with homes on acreage – possibly equestrian properties.
Or maybe you’re just interested in a specific type of home and are willing to dig in and learn all about them.
Would you have more fun selling four moderately priced homes to young couples starting out than selling one high-end home to a move-up buyer? Then focus on marketing to buyers and sellers in that moderate price range, because you’ll have more success.
You may love helping people who are downsizing or people who are moving up. You may get satisfaction from helping those facing foreclosure, dealing with divorce, or handling a home in probate. You may thrive on navigating the regulations for foreign buyers.
Real estate offers dozens of ways for you to specialize, so choose a niche you’ll love.
Whatever you choose, be prepared to learn everything there is to know about the properties. Your goal should be to have the ability to answer any question a buyer might have about the taxes, the insurance, the services, the nearby amenities, changes in the market, etc.
Then you need to learn about the people who buy and sell those homes. Who are they? What motivates them? What worries them? What pleases them?
Liking the people who will be your buyers and sellers is important to your well-being.
That, by the way, is why seasoned agents do sometimes turn down clients or “fire” them later. There are unpleasant people in every category, and you don’t need to let them drain your joy or your productivity.
As you know, successful real estate professionals work in excess of 40 hours per week. When you spend those hours doing things you love and interacting with people whose company you enjoy, you will naturally do a better job and be more successful.
Conversely, when you spend your days with people or properties you don’t like, you’ll be miserable and your work (and income) will suffer. Your home life could suffer as well.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
“Specialization, concentration and consistency is the key to outstanding performance… Love your zone!”
Israelmore Ayivor, the Great Hand Book of Quotes
“If you want to succeed, limit yourself.”
Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve
One last thing – Before you make a decision, research the turnover.
Before you settle on a niche, find out how many homes in that category or neighborhood change hands each year. You don’t want to find yourself farming a neighborhood or a niche where only 1 or 2% of the people are likely to sell in a given year.
Remember: When you need letters to prospect to members of your niche, check out the selection I offer here.
Graphics courtesy of Stuart Miles @ freedigitalphotos.net