Published by Kartik Subramaniam
By far, one of the most common misconceptions that new agents make when entering the real estate industry has to do with the assumption that they need to be targeting the widest possible audience of potential buyers and sellers at all times.
There may have been a time when this was true - but it has long since ended.
Instead, success involves targeting the right audience with the right message at exactly the right time - which is what building a niche in real estate is all about.
Rather than assuming that you're speaking to "anyone and everyone," you need to develop a niche - meaning a specialty in your business - and use it to gain leads. Once you've decided on this niche, it should inform a large part of most of your daily activities.
Thankfully, getting to this point is a lot more straightforward than most people assume it to be. It simply requires you to keep a number of key things in mind along the way.
For most new agents in particular, one of the best ways to develop a niche in real estate and gain leads involves specializing in a certain neighborhood.
This could be an area that you're already familiar with, or one that doesn't have too much competition from other agents. Regardless, you need to pick a location and become a subject matter expert in it as soon as you're able to.
Research absolutely everything you can about this particular area. Off the top of your head you should be able to quote the prices that recent homes have sold for. You should know what types of homes are in the area and what their distinctive features are. You should be able to talk about local features and points of attractions, like the quality of the schools and the distance to interesting entertainment venues.
In other words, you need to know this area as well as you possibly can - all so that you can establish yourself as a legitimate authority and build as much trust as possible at the exact same time.
Obviously, getting to this level of knowledge isn't something that is going to happen overnight. It's going to take a significant amount of hard work and dedication. But when you consider that you'll quickly start to build a reputation for yourself as a real estate agent worth paying attention to, all of that effort will be more than worth it.
Once you've honed your specialization in a certain neighborhood, you can focus on the next most important part of building a niche in real estate: marketing.
Again, you should focus your marketing efforts on a specific group - meaning people who are A) already looking to buy or sell, or who B) may be open to the idea within the next year or so.
At a bare minimum, you should send out marketing collateral introducing yourself and letting people know a little bit about who you are and what you do. This doesn't necessarily have to mean that you're "selling anything" - really, you want people to know your name and you want to pop up on their radar.
Over time, you can expand your offers in a variety of strategic ways to continue to stay at the top of their minds. Whenever a home sells in the area, use it as an opportunity to send an email (or consider using direct mail) letting people know about it. If there are any interesting market trends that you feel people need to be aware of, send them information about it and provide your own unique perspective. Even holidays can be a great opportunity to just send out mailers, wish people a wonderful season, and remind them that you're out there.
The more often you're able to do this, the more likely it is that you'll begin to develop your reputation as the go-to realtor in the area. If someone decides that they want to sell their home, the chances are high that the first person they call is you. Even if people aren't ready to buy or sell today, they'll remember you so that when that day does come, they pick up the phone and give you a call. They'll likely also recommend you to friends and family members who they know are interested in beginning this process.
Beyond that, you'll always want to develop your specialty as much as possible. There's more than enough room in the real estate industry for everyone - you just have to find your own special corner and capitalize on it at your earliest opportunity. Some people choose to build their niche around the purchase of historic properties, for example - something that there are certainly a lot of in California. Others choose to focus on luxury properties, or condos.
Others still choose to focus on distressed properties that can be quickly sold to development companies. Vacation properties, senior homes, it doesn't matter what you choose so long as you make a selection and commit to it.
In the end, building a niche in real estate isn't just a great way to get your career started. It's also a way to gain leads and develop a steady, reliable stream of business for yourself - which in and of itself may be the most important benefit of all.
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