How to Find Your Real Estate Niche as a New Agent

Evelyn Long

Jun 5, 2024

An aspiring male agent thinking about a promising real estate niche.

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Real estate is super competitive. Countless individuals work as realty agents to make bank in scorching property markets in the United States. Although this field is lucrative, it’s challenging to make a killing in this profession without a well-thought-out real estate niche.

The attrition can be high in realty — most agents change careers a few years after choosing this path. This business is less kind to generalists, so choosing an area of expertise can help you succeed in this line of work.

Which niche is perfect for you? Use these tips to find your place in real estate as a new agent.

Consider Your Experience and Interests

Drawing from what you know and like can help you find your calling as a specialist. If you’re a history buff, dealing historic properties can put your passion to excellent use. If you grew up in the country’s bread basket, focusing on ranches, farms, orchards, vineyards and granges may help you stand out.

A fascinating example from pop culture is Sue Stanford — the holder of the California real estate salesperson license number 01738334 from 2006 to 2022 — also known as the Ghost Realtor.

Sue appeared on the Comedy Central show “Nathan for You” in 2014 as a struggling agent who needed advice to generate more business in Los Angeles. Host Nathan Fielder pitched rebranding herself as a ghost realtor — an agent who helps the segment of the population that believes in spirits buy homes free of supernatural beings.

Nathan made this suggestion for a laugh, but, as luck would have it, Sue was a believer herself. She — who was with West Hollywood’s The Collective Realty then — continued to embrace the Ghost Realtor brand for years after her episode on the satirical comedy aired. In her Grantland interview, Sue shared that she received a fair response because of her newfound fame and claimed that the show’s production crew had no idea about her personal supernatural encounters.

No matter how you feel about Sue’s rebranding, her case is a shining example of how to pursue a real estate niche based on your experience and interest.

Decide How You Want to Specialize

A farm during sunset.

Realty niches can be property- or demography-based. Property-based niches refer to selling specific real estate types, whereas demographic ones mean catering to particular buyers or sellers. You can do both to become highly specialized.

Many aspiring agents imagine residences when thinking about facilitating real estate transactions. However, the sector is more than detached single-family homes, condo units, townhouses, duplexes and triplexes. Commercial real estate (CRE) is also worth venturing into.

CRE is vast — the most common classes are office, retail, multifamily, industrial, food, hospitality, health care, life sciences and self-storage. Each can consist of various buildings. For instance, hospitality encompasses urban hotels, resorts, motels, inns, and bed and breakfasts. Some commercial properties can’t fit a single category, like data centers. While apartment complexes are residential communities, experts count them toward CRE.

Raw and vacant land can also be a profitable domain. Industry observers predict that the percentage of the U.S. population living in urban areas will expand from 83% to 89% by 2050. The rate of urban sprawl is slowing. Still, the country’s urban land area of 106,386 square miles may increase by more than 100% by 2060. The rising popularity of solar farms also presents an opportunity for brokers, bridging land owners and developers.

Regarding demographics, concentrating on specific groups of sellers and buyers can be a gainful move. Examples include:

  • Aspiring apartment landlords
  • Canadian snowbirds
  • Crypto millionaires
  • Downsizing baby boomers
  • Female divorcees
  • First-time millennial home buyers
  • Gen X homesteaders
  • Gen Z renters
  • Hollywood A-listers
  • Immigrants seeking multigenerational housing
  • Military service members and veterans
  • NBA players
  • Florida retirees
  • Serial flippers
  • Tech hub workers

The more specific the group, the more effective your marketing can be. Specificity will decrease your number of prospects, but the leads you generate will be easier to convert.

Decide Between Sellers and Buyers

A female agent contemplating a good real estate niche.

Representing property sellers differs from helping buyers. Listing agents can rake in more commissions since real estate market participants are likelier to use a professional when selling than when buying.

Considering the perpetually high demand for seller representation, you have to face more direct competition. On the other hand, specializing as a property buyer advocate almost always means splitting the commission — which averaged 5.46% in 2023 — with the listing agent.

Being open to serving either side of the fence can increase your business. Versatility can improve your reputation. Still, favoring one group over the other can help you market your services better and attract clients who only want to work with agents specializing in the representation they need.

Look for Underserved Turf

Location is everything in real estate, but this doesn’t mean every area is saturated. Many agents gravitate toward the hottest markets, causing the size of the slice to shrink even as the pie grows.

Neglected communities and neighborhoods can be a gold mine. By spotting promising yet ignored areas, you may discover an untapped real estate niche and strike oil. Being a big fish in a small pond can work wonders.

Pay Attention to Emerging Trends

The sector is undergoing technological disruption, creating novel niches. Metaverse real estate — which can be worth nearly $60 billion by 2032 — is a fantastic case in point. Many agents are strangers to digital property transactions, so being a competent broker who can help clients navigate the intricacies of virtual worlds can give you the first-mover advantage.

Research Demand and Competition

A person sitting at a desk about to Google something.

After identifying a potentially worthwhile real estate niche or two, determine its feasibility. Search engine optimization tools are helpful for keyword research and competitor analysis. They can reveal the queries property sellers and buyers are Googling to measure demand, and how many real estate professionals exist to meet it.

Moreover, you can manually check and track your likely competitors using Google My Business. Tech-savvy agents who appreciate the value of localization in searchability optimize their Google Business Profile. Google the real estate agents in your chosen location, see which ones appear above the fold, study their best practices and capitalize on their bad ones.

Granted, some groups of property sellers and buyers rely on connections rather than search engines when looking for a real estate agent. Still, you’ve got to work with what you have as you build your professional network.

Carve Out a Real Estate Niche for Yourself

Regardless of your specialization, you must outsmart and outwork your competitors to set yourself apart. Being unique and better in many areas can get you ahead, even if you operate in an oversaturated niche.

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