These days, it’s not enough to market yourself as a “local real estate expert.” Consumers have unprecedented access to experiences that match their unique needs and preferences, and real estate is no exception.
In this competitive environment, successful agents know that the key to succeeding is not to compete at all. By focusing on a highly specific segment of your market—your real estate niche—you can reduce competition and build trust with motivated consumers who are interested in what you have to offer. Here are some tips for discovering your real estate niche.
Shrink Your Audience
Many agents and brokers balk at the opportunity cost of committing to their real estate niche. They’re afraid that by limiting their audience, they’re missing out on a lot of valuable business. But it’s important to consider the quality of and competition for that business.
Consider SEO as an analogy. When choosing search keywords to target with your website, general phrases like “Los Angeles homes” are difficult to rank for as a small or medium-sized business. Perhaps more importantly, many of the consumers typing these phrases into Google are not ready to buy a home or talk to an agent, which begs the question: why compete for them in the first place?
Instead, a great keyword strategy is built on winnable terms that demonstrate a high purchase intent (for example: “homes below $1 million in the Pacific Palisades”). Similarly, when searching for an audience to build your real estate niche on, focusing on a smaller but highly motivated group of consumers will yield better results.
You may be tempted to seek out a real estate niche based on its economic upside—but if your heart isn’t invested, your audience won’t bite. Instead, start by asking some fundamental questions about your strengths and passions. What are you good at? What keeps you up at night? Where, how, and with whom do you spend your off hours? Spend an afternoon brainstorming on your own, then ask your spouse, children, and friends what they find most interesting about you. Put everything on paper, even if it seems silly or unrelated to real estate.
One example of a real estate agent who has turned an authentic passion into a successful niche is Marguerite Martin, “The Skydiving Agent.” Marguerite’s niche isn’t about taking advantage of a profitable audience (after all, how many of us have gone skydiving?). Instead, it’s about building a unique brand engaging homebuyers who are drawn to her fun, informal approach to real estate. “So much of the training around our business is how to get strangers to like you,” Marguerite told us on the Marketing Genius Podcast. “If strangers already like you, your job just gets really easy.”
Finding a potential audience in your market is just the first step in carving out a real estate niche. What’s most important is how you’ll capitalize on it—and that approach may not be so obvious. Take a second look, and you may discover opportunities you didn’t know existed.
If you work in an area with an aging population, for instance, senior living communities may seem like the clear route to success. But go deeper, and you’ll find a host of other niches that serve or benefit from the same group: probate sales; ADA-compliant housing; medical office space. Have a previous career as a nurse or care worker? Incorporate that experience to build a niche brand that resonates with your target clients even more.
Get (Hyper) Hyperlocal
Experts have been talking for years about the value of going “hyperlocal” with your real estate marketing. But going hyperlocal doesn’t just mean going after one city or zip code. In fact, you may get even better results by setting your sights on something smaller: a neighborhood, a planned community, a subdivision, even one or two streets.
Take Mark and Linda Porter of Castle Hills Real Estate, for instance. Located in Lewisville, Texas, Castle Hills Real Estate focuses on a single golf course community. At 2,500 acres, The Castle Hills subdivision makes up less than 10 percent of Lewisville’s total area. But by committing to their niche, Castle Hills Real Estate has built an impressive record of results for clients in the area, enabling them to dominate the market and grow their business.
PRO TIP: Market Your Real Estate Niche with Placester’s Area Pages
Interested in pursuing a niche? Our websites can help. Placester’s advanced websites offer Area Page templates that help you promote your niche with image slideshows, maps, and pre-filtered listing search results. Going hyperlocal? Filter listings by a variety of data provided by your MLS, including neighborhood, subdivision, community name, or school district. If you have a different kind of real estate niche (midcentury modern homes in Phoenix, for instance), you can use keywords and other criteria to build an Area Page to suit your needs. Click here to learn more about Placester’s advanced Area Pages.
Invent Your Own
If you’re having trouble finding a suitable real estate niche, it may be because it hasn’t been invented yet. Take, for example, Stephanie Lanier of Lanier Properties in Wilmington, North Carolina. A passionate advocate for her community, Stephanie noticed that one of her favorite areas of Wilmington, Midtown, didn’t get the attention it deserved. One of the major reasons, she realized, was that it wasn’t clearly marked on any map.
With that in mind, Stephanie took it upon herself to define the boundaries of Midtown and raise awareness of the neighborhood’s distinct character. Her initiative brought the city government, local businesses, and other local institutions together. In the process, Stephanie established herself as a clear authority on Midtown and generating renewed interest in the district, inventing her own niche in the process.