Find Your Niche in Real Estate
Photo courtesy flickr user "[thinkpanama]" under a Creative Commons 2.0 attribution license.
Dona DeZube, Monster Finance Careers Expert
If you’re in real estate sales or mortgage lending, your success may lie in a hobby, second language or even your religion. Real estate agents and loan officers across the country have used such interests to build successful niches. Here are three examples of how people found their specialties.
Reconnecting to the Faith
Shalom Home National Relocation Service in Colorado Springs specializes in helping Jewish families reconnect in a new community. It maintains a list of real estate agents who know where to find synagogues, kosher food stores and butchers, secular and religious day schools and preschools, senior activity centers and community centers.
Shalom Home doesn’t make its money selling real estate. Instead, it collects a referral fee from agents in its network who deliver services. If you’re an agent who knows the local Jewish scene, you could sign up for referrals from Shalom Home or market yourself as an expert in local Jewish newspapers and temple newsletters.
Golf to Gulf
Realtor Maggie Sanders bills herself as “Your Naples Golfing and Waterfront Community Specialist,” focusing on two hot areas for homebuyers on Florida’s west coast.
Having sold real estate in four states, Sanders knew the value of finding a niche. In Arkansas, she sold large tracts of rural land to hunters and horse enthusiasts. In South Carolina, she again focused on the horse set when she sold antebellum homes. Working for Arvida Realty Services in Florida, Sanders saw that golf and beachfront properties were popular.
“I started thinking about where I do business and that a lot of people are either golf or beach people,” she says. “I created a Web site that would give people helpful information about golfing communities and to let them know I’m not just a specialist in one community.”
Surprisingly, Sanders doesn’t really play golf (and she didn’t ride horses, either). “I’m a wannabe golfer. I’m candid about that with my clients,” she says. “You run into trouble if you go out there and pretend you know what you’re doing when you don’t.”
What she does know is the number of holes, designers, membership prices and golf pros for many area courses. “When people narrow down to a few golf communities, I recommend they get on the courses and play them,” Sanders says. “I make arrangements for them to ride the course with a pro.”