It can mean the difference between a full client load and an empty calendar.
Although the advice to choose a niche as a real estate agent is quite common, many new professionals don’t do so. Whether it’s due to the fear of making the wrong decision, a lack of understanding of the market, or a lack of faith in the “why” behind the advice, very few realtors start off strong with a niche.
However overwhelming the choice may be, it’s well worth it. The importance and impact of strategically choosing — and marketing to — a specific real estate niche simply cannot be understated.
What is a Niche?
A niche is a subset of the market you will focus on in your business. Choosing a niche means defining the specific group of people or types of properties that you will zoom in on as a real estate professional.
Endless niche options exist for realtors because niches can be narrowed down based on the types of properties you focus on, on location, or on qualities of a subset of clients. For example, some realtors specialize in working with first-time homebuyers or clients who are actively serving in the military.
Others zoom in on luxury real estate, mountain homes, farms, or oceanfront properties. The options are endless, and there are no wrong answers; what matters is getting clear about what your specialty is and who you serve!
Why Choose a Niche?
Choosing a niche or specifying a niche is often called “niching down” and can feel counterintuitive at first. Anyone in professions meant to serve people, realtors included, naturally tend to believe that the best approach to their business is to help anyone and everyone. After all, why would you want to “rule out” any portion of the population that’s in search of a realtor?
In reality, instead of ruling people out, strategically choosing a niche means you draw the right people in. Choosing a niche helps you position yourself strategically and intentionally to potential clients — the right potential clients for you. When you get specific about who you serve and how to do so, you instantly stand out from the sea of qualified real estate agents in your area.
Additionally, choosing a niche allows you to optimize your time and deep-dive into the knowledge and skills needed to best serve your clients. There are countless nuances, specialized documents, and small bits of information that are pertinent to any niche, and trying to serve all niches equally well can quickly lead to burnout.
For example, realtors who specialize in helping military families can serve them best by learning all there is to know about VA loans and the best local lenders. On the other hand, if you’re a “generalist” and only take on one or two military clients each year, it’s likely that you’ll end up doing research on VA loans on the fly without being able to do a true deep dive. Choosing a niche frees up your time and energy while also allowing you to provide the very best service to your clients.
While remaining general and marketing yourself as a great real estate agent can work to bring in clients, you instantly cut through the noise when you position yourself as a specialist for a particular type of transaction, home, or person. Many people know what they want out of their real estate experience, so quickly identifying yourself as someone who can provide that specific result will go a long way in filling your inbox with qualified leads.
Choosing a niche and producing online content focused on that niche will also boost your SEO considerably, making it much easier for anyone searching the internet to discover you. SEO for realtors can work as an ongoing source of leads and revenue without much manual effort.
Once you’ve narrowed down your target market and begun producing content relevant to them, your web content will rise to the top when prospects search the internet for the solutions to their problems! As great as it feels to receive a referral or recommendation from a former client, optimizing your web presence will prevent you from leaving money on the table when clients without connections go to search for an agent.
Beyond that, niching brings some ease into your marketing and processes. It’s much easier to create relevant content and provide value when you know who you’re talking to! You’ll quickly establish yourself as an expert in your niche, even if you’re new to the real estate profession.
How to Choose a Niche
First, it helps to take the pressure off by remembering that the niche you choose doesn’t have to be the end-all-be-all. It can change and shift over time, you can adapt as you grow and learn, and you can always pivot. Choosing a niche early and tweaking it later on always leads to better results than waiting to niche because of a fear of making the wrong decision.
To choose a niche, evaluate your preferences and strengths. Think about the clients you’ve helped so far. Consider the reasons you decided to pursue a career in real estate. Who did you want to help? Who do you imagine serving?
Many agents start by narrowing their specialty down to buyers or sellers, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be part of your decision. If you do have a preference on which end of the contract you’d like to stick to, determine that early on. Getting into the mindset of either buyers or sellers can help you clarify what your marketing strategy needs to look like and evaluate other aspects of the current real estate market from a strategic viewpoint.
Then, evaluate your local market and the demographics in your area. Are there lots of beachfront properties where you live? A high demand for luxury homes? Multifamily housing? Taking stock of the market requires research into what’s common in your area and what will be profitable for you.
In some areas, it makes more sense to niche down based on demographics. Using tools like City Data can give you a great bird’s eye view to start with, especially if you’re new to the area or are still getting to know the general population.
The best course might not be to choose to specialize in what there is a lot of, but rather what section of the market is untapped or underserved. Do a few quick web searches with location-specific keywords to find out if anyone in your area is already serving the niche you’re considering. If you can’t find someone quickly, you’ve likely found a great gap to fill! If there are already a few big names in that niche, consider how large that slice of the market is and whether you can still be successful with a bit of competition.
Consider your own background and skills. Think about your current network and the experience and connections you already have, and define your niche from there. For example, if you’ve served in the military, you’ll have a leg up in earning the trust of veterans. If you’ve found your love of the real estate world later in life, you could define your niche as “retirees” or “empty nesters,” both of whom often find themselves ready to downsize or relocate. You might consider focusing on employees who are being relocated by their companies and seek out partnerships with large headquarters or office buildings or on people looking to purchase real estate as an investment property instead of a primary residence.
Each of these options corresponds to different skills and personalities. Your required level of income will play a role in your decision, as will your comfort level with varying types of marketing and promotion. Use your connections, background, and true desires as your guide! Part of the beauty of choosing a niche is picking exactly what you get to do. Make it something you enjoy!
Marketing to Your Niche
The main benefit of identifying your niche is to better understand and market to your target audience and clients.
To effectively market to your niche, first get clear on who your ideal client really is. Many professionals call this your ideal client avatar. The more specific you can get, the better — that’s the whole point of the niche! Some types of real estate niches will give a head start on the client “avatar,” but think beyond what you’ve already defined. For example, if you’ve defined your niche as “first-time homebuyers,” consider whether your ideal client is moving from in-state or out of state, what their budget range might look like, and how large of a home they might want to look for. Get a picture of them, as clear as possible, in your mind. Defining this with specificity is the only way to ensure you’ll be able to market effectively to your niche!
From there, brainstorm how you can provide value and solve problems for that ideal customer. In the first-time homebuyer example, the value you provide might center around basic education on real estate terms, debunking common myths, and outlining general processes. Marketing to a very specific client avatar doesn’t mean you won’t ever take on clients who don’t fit that exact description; it simply means you are getting your name in front of more people who do share those qualities and whom you can help best.
The more content you put out there that helps your ideal client in particular, the more you will establish yourself as the go-to professional to help that subset of clients! That means more leads, more sales, and more referrals, all while zooming in on the exact real estate services you truly enjoy providing.
When it comes to establishing your expertise, serving clients with excellence consistently, and marketing yourself effectively, nothing beats the clarity and specificity of defining your niche. Reach out to industry experts, like those at Luxury Presence!