VOLUME VIIIRealtors: Finding a Niche
By Jonathan Pressman
Some Realtors choose to become experts in a particular geographic area, price point or home type. Choosing that niche can help them master a specific expertise, build a reputation and provide a better experience for clients. The idea of a niche might sound great, but how can Realtors decide on one?

Consider the Options
The first step for Realtors trying to find their niche is to consider the options. Realtors should choose a niche they feel passionate about or have an interest in. Consider a variety of niches, including single-family homes in specific neighborhoods, condominiums, luxury homes, expired listings and lower-priced properties.

Pay Attention to the Natural MarketRealtors can start their search for a niche in their natural market—social and professional groups or a Realtor’s neighborhood. The benefit of Realtors using their natural market to find their niche is that there is already a higher level of expertise and trust. There may be a ready-made network, too. For example, Realtors who live in waterfront condo buildings can specialize in their building and similar properties nearby.

Become an Expert Researcher
According to Investopedia, Realtors may be unable to overcome the initial challenges within their first year, a likely result of inadequate prospecting. It takes time to first understand the market and build a client base, on top of weathering the highs and lows of clients that may not be the best fit. Being forward-thinking by researching that market—identifying nearby schools, knowing commonly requested amenities, scoping out nearby local businesses, keeping track of competitor rental rates—can help make cold-calling and established renters feel more confident in working with Realtors who are new to them.

Avoid Casting a Wide Net
Realtors who choose a niche that’s too broad risk spreading themselves too thin, competing against too many other agents and failing to build relationships with their clients. Realtors using paid advertising online want to target relevant customers, which is easier to achieve with more specific search terms.

However, having a niche doesn’t mean automatically turning down business or limiting work solely within a specialty area. Niche Realtors who have opportunities outside of their expertise can—and should—partner with other Realtors in their brokerage. This type of networking may help both parties find ongoing opportunities.

Establish an Online PresenceHaving an online presence should be a priority for all Realtors. According to the National Association of REALTORS (NAR), more than 90% of real estate firms have websites, and the most common feature on their websites are property listings.

Those online listings can be used to do the following:

  • Clarify where their rental interests are most apparent
  • Improve their search engine optimization (SEO) in those categories
  • Build an established brand before (and after) starting any cold calls
  • Help renters use keyword searches to find them

While Realtor follow-up is a common complaint among clients, being able to find a Realtor who fits the renter’s initial needs can be resolved by both groups being on the same page at the start of the rental search.

Finding a niche should reflect Realtors’ natural market, abilities and passion. Regardless of the niche Realtors choose, staying focused, utilizing natural markets, being a top-notch researcher and establishing an online presence can be useful tools in having a successful career.