Most agents try to be all things to all people. When it comes to generating leads, they focus on pretty much anything they can get; but, there’s a ton of power (and money) in finding a niche, focusing on it, and getting better real estate leads as a result.
Identifying and leaning in to your niche is a great idea. Not only because it positions you as an expert to your market, helping you get more deals, but also results in better-quality deals that run smoother transactionally.
Focusing on Specific Types of Properties
As part of the natural progression of being a real estate agent, most begin their careers focusing on condos. As an agent starting out, you’re bound to take whatever you can get, and getting leases and selling less-expensive condos is the place where most agents begin. After a couple of years doing that, and touring hundreds of condo buildings in their market, it’s only natural to become the local condo expert.
But, it doesn’t need to end there. In fact, a lot of agents regret going all in as the condo expert later in their careers when their clients and sphere of influence are all looking for single-detached homes with their newly expanding families. They often then look for ways to transition their expertise but find it difficult because their sphere-of-influence is transacting.
After all, losing out on a detached property listing because your client thought you were the condo expert is a bit discouraging. But, it’s one of the risks of going niche. At the same time, though, it is proof that you can carve out a niche for yourself even by accident, and build a solid business out of it; there is still plenty of business to be had focusing on specific types of properties even if you do lose out on other deals because of that expertise.
By becoming an expert on lofts, Victorian homes, older homes, newer homes, or any other type of niche property, you can easily establish yourself as the agent people know to call when they want to buy or sell, and for good reason, because as you do more deals involving those types of properties, you actually will become an expert in them.
Focusing on Types of Transactions
As an agent, there are a lot of different transactions you’ll do as part of your career. If you happen to come across a transaction that you excelled at, it’s likely because you enjoyed the transaction, the people involved in it, and it went smoothly; that’s a great place to stop, identify, and build your niche.
So what types of transactions can you focus on? There are plenty out there: FSBOs, divorces, downsizing, up-sizing, the list is endless.
Most of these types of transactions require specific knowledge. For example, when a couple is getting divorced and needs to sell their primary residence, it often isn’t as simple as a straight-up sale for a number of reasons, like maybe the couple no longer gets along and you need to work both sides of the deal and fill the role of a therapist in addition to real estate agent. If someone is going through a situation like that, and they know it isn’t going to be easy, they’ll likely want to work with someone that understands the subtle nuances and has built years of experience (rather than simply the local neighbourhood expert).
If someone finds themselves in a situation where the type of transaction they’re doing fits your expertise, and they know that you’re an expert in it, they’re likely to call you when it’s time to make a move.
Focusing on Neighbourhoods
I left this one for last because it’s really obvious, and a lot of agents do it, but it’s harder to compete in for those 2 reasons. That said, it’s still a fantastic place to build a niche if you put in the effort.
Most agents will build their neighbourhood expertise around the obvious: the neighbourhood they actually live in, and that makes a ton of sense. If people see you and your marketing over and over in the area, they’re likely to see you as the neighbourhood expert.
There’s a lot of ways to get involved in your community, and blanket your community, to have people think of you as the neighbourhood expert (even if you’re not). Whether that’s sponsoring community events, creating social accounts that focus on the area, or plastering the neighbourhood in bus ads, billboards, or postcards. The more people see you, the more people recognize you, and the more they’ll think of you when they’re ready to make a decision about buying or selling. Another often-missed strategy around establishing yourself as a community expert is to build your local Google review strategy as it directly contributes to your local search strategy in the area.
3 Ways to Get Started Building your Niche
If you want to get started building your niche, here are 3 solid ways to begin:
- Curation: On your website, social media, or anywhere else you can, you can post other agents listings (with their permission) or even just pictures of listings, that fit your particular niche, until you build a nice little database of properties. It gives the impression that you’re focused on a particular type or style of property and helps position you as an expert.
- Blog Strategy: Your blog is a powerful tool; it’s an important part of your overall marketing strategy, and you can easily build your strategy around your niche. To focus on a niche, just blog about it; you can post about particular properties, build a weekly curated post about the properties in your niche that are for sale, or post about problems and things of interest that fit the people within your niche.
- Social Strategy: You can easily build out a social strategy around your niche by posting content that these types of people will respond to. For a neighbourhood focus, post community-related content; for a property focus, post property-focused content. You can even take this a step further and create additional social media accounts exclusively around your particular niche, and then associate it with your overall brand; and while that may seem like a lot of work, usually, the things that are the most work are the most effective strategies.
While building your niche can help build your business, it also comes with one big risk: if the market changes, you could be left out in the cold. If you focus on condos for example, and the condo market isn’t performing well, you could be left with fewer deals than ever. But, at the same time, in a healthy market, or by focusing on a specific type of transaction that the market may favour later, you can build a solid business that results in more leads than ever.