Focusing on a specific niche of real estate can be a great career-booster. It can make it easier to find clients, help maximize your earnings, and make your entire job easier on the whole (you only need to know one part of the market!)

But determining your niche? That’s not always easy. There are dozens of factors you should consider, from local market conditions to client expectations to your own hard-won knowledge.

Are you looking to specialize but aren’t sure where to put your focus? Here’s how to home in on the perfect niche for you.

1. Look at your market.

Before you choose a niche, it’s important to understand your local real estate market. What types of properties are in high demand? What are the demographics of buyers and sellers in the area? Are there lots of first-time buyers or are most of them experienced? Jot down overall trends you’ve spotted in your market, and let that guide you toward potential areas of focus.

2. Know your strengths.

What are you most skilled at in your career? Negotiating? Staging properties? Marketing listings? Finding homes in a specific region or community? You should also take into account your passions in the industry. The right niche should merge your top skills with your top interests.

3. Factor in education.

If you really want to earn clout in your niche, certifications and continuing education courses can help. Once you’ve narrowed down a short list of niches, look into what educational programs are out there. Are there any certifications or designations you could earn to make yourself more marketable? Are there any courses that could improve your skill set or knowledge base? What resources are there to stay abreast of trends in your niche?

4. Consider the competition.

You don’t want to specialize in luxury homes if there are already 25 agents in your area doing the exact same thing. This would make finding new clients difficult, not to mention cut into your commission potential. Take a good look at the other agents in your marketplace, and look for gaps. What specialties aren’t already being covered? What niche would give you a good share of the market without stiff competition?

5. Think outside the box.

There are endless niche options in real estate, so don’t limit yourself to choosing just a geographical area or a certain type of property. Get creative and really think about specialties that could set you apart from the pack and distinguish you in the eyes of buyers and sellers in your area.

You can specialize in types of properties:

  • Luxury properties
  • Vacation and second homes
  • Green and energy-efficient homes
  • Urban properties
  • Fix-and-flip homes and distressed properties
  • Investment properties
  • Commercial properties
  • Rentals
  • Farms or ranches
  • Condos, penthouses, and apartments
  • Co-ops
  • Disability- or senior-friendly homes
  • Vacant properties

Types of client:

  • First-time buyers
  • Investors
  • Buyers only
  • Sellers only
  • Out of town or international clients
  • Millennials, Baby Boomers, Gen X (any generation)

Location:

  • Specific neighborhoods or subdivisions
  • Cities
  • Buildings
  • Blocks
  • Vacation spots

Service or transaction offerings:

  • Reduced commissions or commission rebates
  • High-touch / full-service
  • Home staging
  • Negotiation

6. Think beyond the money.

Your niche needs to come with profit potential, sure, but make sure you think beyond the cash, too. Will you enjoy pursuing it? Will you like the customers it allows you to work with? Will you feel connected to the work you’re doing (and feel that way for the long haul)? In order to really master your niche, your heart has to be in it.

7. Use your past experiences.

Bring your past skills and work experience into the fold when considering your niche. Did you previously work as an interior decorator? Maybe you could specialize in staging vacant homes. Were you a teacher? A specialization in kid-friendly homes or great school districts could be great. Tap a market that leverages your wide variety of skills and knowledge.

8. Reevaluate.

Once you’ve chosen a specialty and started to hone your focus, take a step back to assess everything. Have profits increased? Have you been able to find a strong base of clients? Are you on your way to building a reputation in your niche? If your career isn’t gaining the steam you thought it would, then try to determine why. Can you course-correct and make changes to improve it? If not, could you tweak your niche slightly to open more doors? Your niche doesn’t have to be a hard-and-fast choice — but an evolving one that develops over time.

The Final Word

Whatever niche you choose, it’s always important to have trustworthy, reliable vendors to refer your clients to. Need a great lender to add to your Rolodex? Embrace Home Loans is here to help. Reach out to a loan officer today to learn more about our loan programs.