As Super Saturdays take over and the market once again heats up, now is the perfect time for agents to reassess strategies of the past, and refine, revise or completely re-imagine your approach to real estate, so you can make the most of a new year that promises improved returns.
Lisa B, industry expert, joins EAC to dive into the world of real estate specialisation and to answer the question, is it more lucrative to go niche, or to remain a generalist agent?
To consumers, it may seem selling one property is the same as selling another, but in reality, real estate agents are actually responsible for selling a vast range of diverse products, with different benefits to different buying audiences.
In any given week, a generalist agent may have an opportunity to pitch for a retail property sale, a luxury penthouse, or a common, three bedroom, family home.
The question is, if they pitch against a specialist in those categories, that is, an agent who only sells retail or only sells luxury property, do they really stand a chance of coming away with the listing?
To specialise or not to specialise is a question many agents ask of themselves at one point in their career, especially if they operate in a location where specialisation is a real and promising option.
So, what is the best answer? Will a specialist agent be more successful, make more money and win more business, or will a generalist — with a more vast playing field but less-honed expertise — be the one with the winning career path?
What is specialisation in real estate?
As is suggested, an agent who specialises works with only one category of property. As examples, they may sell only luxury properties, large agricultural properties, or just apartments.
Either way, you won’t find them out pitching for a townhouse before they head off to open up a beachfront, high-end home for inspection.
When you specialise in a particular area within real estate, you will be aiming to be recognised as the absolute expert in that space. Your focus will be to GO OUT OF YOUR WAY to demonstrate that you EXCEL in that area.
The idea is for you to be seen as having a major point of difference in your marketplace and to become the ‘go-to’ salesperson for that particular category of property.
What are the advantages of a single specialisation?
Though it might seem obvious, the most important advantage of selling only one property category is you can focus ALL of your attention on everything to do with that niche. Focusing so carefully can help improve your business, grow your reach and enhance your reputation in a number of ways:
Your network will improve your lead generation
You can align with people in that space and build up a network of buyers, sellers and other contacts, who may offer lucrative opportunities in the future. Networks like these are often responsible for strong word-of-mouth and place great emphasis on the recommendations of peers.
These contacts will trust you with their properties, because as a specialist, they expect you have relevant intel, and you know people and places other agents, who don’t specialise, won’t know.
You may also have less competition when it comes to getting call-outs to the property, as, particularly in the case of luxury listings, sellers will often look for an expert who has a robust reputation in the specialisation most relevant to their property.
You can offer a higher standard of service
In addition to likely having more knowledge about your niche than the agent who moves between different categories of property, a major advantage to specialisation is selling prices are often higher than the average property, as are the rewards.
This provides you with the opportunity to avoid being spread too thin, and rather, to take the time to offer a more personalised and expert service to clients — to really nurture that connection — which will add fuel to the positive word-of-mouth already circulating.
Clearly, this enhanced service is an advantage to your clients, but it is also a win for you — it allows you to build better and more genuine relationships, which helps ensure repeat businesses, and makes each of your work days more fulfilling and meaningful.
Property categories for specialisation
If you are considering specialising, here are some options to think about when searching for your niche:
- Prestige Property
- Holiday lettings
- Specific geographical areas
- Eco-friendly and smart houses
- Fly-in communities
- Resort and vacation properties
- Housing suitable for the elderly or the disabled
People/situations where agents can specialise
Property categories aren’t the only option for specialisation. Agents can also become known as an expert in a niche related to people, lifecycle stage and relationships. Here are some to consider:
- Divorcing couples
- Young professionals
- Growing families
- Military families
- First home buyers
- Distressed sales
Stop! Think before you specialise
Before you dive into a niche, below are some valuable tips that will help you find the right direction.
- Be very careful. Some areas offer more diverse property and they have the sales history to substantiate a niche. Some areas don’t. Make sure you research the market to ensure there are enough sales to make it financially viable for you and lucrative enough to support your lifestyle.
- Is there enough work? Consider any competitors that may also be focusing in the same niche, will there be enough listings to go around?
- Do you already have a successful practice? Just because you think a niche sounds good, it doesn’t mean you will have success. You may be better off focusing on an area where you already have built some success.
- Will your area suit your niche? A lot of times, the best listings are those that are easily accessible from your home or office. Niching won’t suit every location, niching won’t suit every person.
- One specialisation isn’t the only option! Lastly, know that you can still market yourself generally and then niche into a few specialty categories.
EAC Industry Reporter
Real Estate Coach and Trainer