Finding Your Focus: Real Estate – It’s Not a One-Size-Fits-All Business
As a Licensed NYS Real Estate Instructor I have had the opportunity to observe many new and seasoned agents in classes over the years. I am always amazed when I have the students introduce themselves and where they work and I get the reply: “I can list or sell property anywhere on Long Island”. Technically, yes they can, but realistically having a specific focus – a niche that you can cultivate and grow - is the best way to build your career in the real estate industry.
First of all, for those just starting out you might think that creating a niche market might be limiting, too small of an audience for your services or not able to generate enough business for you. An old school real estate mindset is that it’s a numbers game – the more people you target the more business you’ll get. The truth is that you’ll only attract customers interested in what you are offering – your services, your niche. More isn’t always better. With all the competition out there, it isn’t what you can do; it’s how well you do it. When you focus on a specific service or area – buyer agency, listing specialist, foreclosures, short sales, investment properties etc., you can become the expert, the go-to person, which in the long run will generate lots of business.
The lists of niche markets in real estate are endless. Finding your focus is the key. You need to consider these 3 key points:
- Knowledge of your niche – whether it’s a geographic area or a specific market type (rentals, condos, investment properties, etc.), you must learn all there is to know about the make-up of that niche.
- Identify the needs, wants and requirements of customers that are currently not being addressed in that niche and then develop and deliver services to satisfy those needs and wants.
- Do a self-evaluation to determine how you fit your niche by asking these questions:
- What part of your business do you most enjoy?
- What parts do you really do well?
- Who are you current clients? Where do they come from? What are their needs?
- What area of real estate do you find yourself selling the most?
Once you complete your self-evaluation you should have several possible niches to consider. Now you need to do some market research for your niche to determine the specifics. There are several places to get the data you need. For starters, your local MLS database can give you insights to what is happening in your area. For example:
- Are there a lot of foreclosures/short sales? Who handles them?
- Is there a good rental market? Are there investors in the area that buy homes and rent them out – perhaps you can help them find more properties?
- Or maybe builders and investors are looking for older properties to knock down and then build new homes?
- Where are the buyers in your area moving from? You can target that area on Social Media with your ads for local listings.
- Also if your MLS provides public record information on all the homes in your area, you can review neighborhoods to find the homeowners who’ve lived there the longest – and are the most likely to be selling soon.
The possibilities are endless – you just need to know what data is available and how to access it!
The next area to look at is the Internet and Social Media. I follow many of the local community groups on Facebook. They can provide you with local insights to community concerns regarding real estate as well as other things going on in the area. Sharing opinions and answering questions can set you up as a local expert. Also local news sites and blogs often contain local real estate information and questions. Again it’s an opportunity to become the Local Expert!
Choosing a niche shouldn’t be stressful, but it should be fun! Determine how your passion fills a need in your market and then go for it. Develop it. And have a successful and fulfilling career!
About the Contributor
Marilyn Urso has been a Licensed REALTOR® since 1993 and a member of the Women’s Council of REALTORS® for most of her career. She is an Associate Broker working at Homes by Mara Realty in Syosset, NY. She is actively involved in listing both buyer and seller clients on a day-to-day basis. Marilyn is also a NYS Licensed R.E. Instructor and has been certified to teach several NAR designation programs.
Marilyn’s commitment to and involvement in the Women's Council as well as her Local Board has strengthened her real estate career over the years. She is active in her local community and committed to providing outstanding service to all. She is dedicated to helping other agents ‘Raise the Bar’ for our industry.
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