As a real estate agent, is it better to be a generalist or a specialist? We break down the benefits to help answer the question, should I be a niche realtor?
The Benefits of Specializing
One of the main reasons why niching down into a specialty in real estate holds so much appeal is that it takes a huge industry and breaks it down into manageable pieces. Focusing on one sector allows you to become more of an expert, and ultimately an authority, on a specific area. You’ll have a clear path laid out for who to connect with and the information you need to learn. Instead of being all over the map, your efforts can all be directed toward one compass point. This also makes marketing that much simpler. Maybe you want to be known as the “East Shore Expert” or the “Empty Nest Selling Guru.” By niching down you can create a persona that’s easily understandable by the outside world.
Ways to Specialize in Real Estate
There are many types of specialties in real estate. These opportunities to niche include:
Geography: Choosing to focus on specific locations, neighborhoods or districts
Market: Focusing on lower to higher end property values.
Property: Such as residential, commercial, condos, retail, office space.
Situation: Potential to become an expert in specific situations like first-time buyers, estate sales, etc.
Way to Get Your Specialization Going
So you want to be an expert in a specific region, market or property? What are some easy ways to get started specializing in your real estate career? Here’s a quick checklist.
Before promoting yourself as an expert, spend time learning your niche. This can mean taking the next year to learn all you can about a niche and taking on as many clients in this area as you can manage.
Devour resources. Read up on the topic of your choice as much as possible. Get to know the influencers. Study your competition.
Plot out the topics clients want information on. Develop a content strategy that promotes you as an expert in this field.
Network to your niche. Identify the people you need to connect with. Use LinkedIn to find new people within the niche to learn from.
Target your marketing to your niche. Develop a slogan based on your niche. Have your blog content, social media and outreach all focus on becoming “known” for your niche.
Don’t Overlook Opportunities Outside Your Area of Expertise
Sometimes we can become so set on being “known” for a niche that we discount opportunities that don’t neatly fit into this specialty. Flexibility is the best counterbalance to specialization. Although you may be focused on being an expert in the north side of your city, if someone comes to you seeking out a property in the south side, it’s worth opening yourself up to the possibility. The keys to balancing the two efforts are transparency and time management. If showing properties in another region is going to consume your time, cause you to sit in traffic all day and stress you out, it’s an opportunity worth passing up. But, if after analyzing the situation, it seems feasible, you can dive in with a clear conscious by providing full disclosure to the client that this is not your area of expertise but you’d still be happy to help.
Sometimes Your Niche Finds You
Many new agents stress about finding their niche and getting the clients they see as the most financially attractive. But as many veterans to the industry will attest to, many times the niche you first set out to conquer doesn’t turn out to be where your specialty actually lies. The biggest lesson to learn from this is to keep possibilities open, take stock of what is really working for you and dig into the areas that take the least amount of time for the most reward.
Remember the 80/20 rule, which states that 80% of your results come from 20% of all of your efforts. It implies that 80% of your efforts may be wasted. Taking regular assessments of where your time and outcomes can help you identify where the best use of your time is spent. It may surprise you.
Know Yourself and Let Your Interest Guide You
Although there are many real estate business analysts that will run endless numbers and project the appropriate direction to focus on to generate the highest profitability in real estate, what looks great on paper may not translate into real life happiness. Like most sound career advice, the answer to the question of whether to be a real estate specialist or a generalist begins by asking yourself what matters most to you.
If you find yourself gravitating to a certain type of market, If you feel you’re best in your zone when you’re working with a specific type of client, that’s worth noting. If however, you begin to feel trapped at the thought of limiting your options, feeling pressure to choose a niche can be counterproductive to your work style.
In the end, it is a personal choice that requires significant research and introspection. Trust your gut is always the soundest advice there is.