By Kelly Spors
As the U.S. housing market rebounds, more people are looking to buy and sell homes. While this rebound has surely created more opportunities for agents, it’s also created more competition.
Many of today’s most successful agents have turned to specialization to give themselves an edge. Before focusing on identifying or growing your specialty, however, make sure you have the right coverage and are aware of the real estate agent risks.
Here are some key questions to ask yourself as you look to specialize:
First, does it make sense?
In large metropolitan areas – think New York, Chicago, San Francisco or Atlanta – having a niche can help you stand out from the thousands of other agents trying to make a name for themselves. It also makes it easier to communicate your value in a crowded field. Even in smaller cities and towns, however, having some kind of niche – even if a broader one – can help you focus your marketing and client engagement efforts and showcase your expertise by focusing in on a particular segment of the market.
What kind of niche makes the most sense for you?
Real estate agents can build a niche in several different ways. They can focus on particular neighborhoods, on particular types of properties or on certain ages or types of customers. For example, some agents may focus on helping first-time home buyers, while others may focus on helping baby boomers “downsize” their home in retirement.
Finding your niche involves answering a few other questions:
Geordie Romer, a longtime real estate broker in Leavenworth, Washington and frequent blogger says finding a niche helped him better target his market, become an expert on that market and ultimately grow his business.
Romer developed a niche by helping people buy and sell homes in a popular upscale golf course community in Leavenworth that was underserved by other real estate agents in town. Focusing on this neighborhood intensely – even creating a web site that focused on homes for sale in that neighborhood – led him and his wife (and business partner) to be the sales agents on about two-thirds of the properties for sale in that neighborhood within a few years.
“So often when I hear real estate agents complain about their lack of leads or lack of web presence, I try to explain to them that it might be a lack of focus that is keeping them from success,” Romer wrote on Real Estate Tomato. “It’s so much easier to be a big fish in a small pond than vice versa.”
How do you target your niche most effectively?
Like Romer, you may want to create a web site specifically for your niche. This will likely mean ensuring the site contains the right key words and phrases and is search-engine optimized to come up in the results when someone in your area does a search on Google or another search engine.
Consider how to engage your specific audience by reaching them in the places where they spend their time – whether it’s on social media or the local country club.
Keep in mind that the real-estate market is always changing, and you may need to change along with it. Your best niche today may not be the best one for you 10 or even five years from now.