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Niche marketing is the practice of targeting a group based on a shared trait, need, or interest. This can be anything from single parents to wine lovers, and each month we’ll add a new niche below to help you learn to identify, target, and market to different niches to attract buyers and sellers with specific needs.

Many agents are reluctant to position themselves as a specialist for fear of limiting their earning potential, but in reality, targeting a broad audience takes far more time and resources than most agents are able to allocate to their marketing efforts, so choosing a dedicated niche makes sense. In addition to helping you differentiate your services from other real estate agents, you can build credibility and focused expertise that will make you the obvious choice for people in your niche instead of just one of hundreds of agents who don’t specialize in your niche.

Inherited Homes

If you are looking for a niche where your compassion and desire to help people can be put to good use, consider working with inherited homes. Selling an inherited home offers several unique challenges including multiple homeowners, additional paperwork, helping deal with the deceased one’s possessions, and the strong emotions that are part of the grieving process.

Who They Are

An inherited home is usually passed to the descendants or heirs of deceased homeowners. When the sellers reach out to you, they will likely be in mourning. There may also be a large number of people who own part of the property, all of whom will have to consent to the details of the sale. The homeowners may not live in, or even be familiar with the area or home, so you often won’t receive the in-depth knowledge and maintenance history of the house you would get from most sellers. People who inherit homes can often be highly motivated to sell to avoid paying upkeep, taxes, and other fees on a home they don’t plan to live in.

How to Find Them

Because the owners of inherited homes often don’t live in the area, they don’t already have a go-to real estate agent. Creating and sharing useful guides and resources for people who inherit a home is a good way to build a reputation as an expert in this kind of sale, which will in turn help sellers find you. Another option is to connect with probate attorneys in your area and work out co-marketing deals with them.

How to Market to Them

Show inherited home sellers that you know what you’re doing and start building your credibility and reputation as the local expert for this kind of sale. Information about what to do when you inherit a home or the expenses involved with upkeeping an inherited home can be a great help for new homeowners. Try co-branding your guides with any probate attorneys you’re working with and leaving free copies for potential clients in their office or waiting room. Information about the local market and neighborhoods will also help sellers get a better idea of what to expect from their sale.

Setting yourself apart with free information is a good way to appeal to any seller. Download your free copy of the Homeowner’s Guide to Staging here! It has essential staging techniques for any time of year as well as season-specific tips to give your listing a spring, summer, winter, or fall feel!

College Housing

college housing niche

College apartments don’t have the best reputation; while some are great, many can be small, crowded, and loud. Furthermore, when you do find a decent apartment, the rental rates can often be high. Some parents find it makes more sense to buy a home or condo for their child to live in while they go to a college or university that’s away from home. They’ll save money each month, their child can focus on their education, and it’s a good investment that they can rent out or sell once their child finishes school.

Who They Are

Most of the time it will be the parents of the college student who buy the home to provide their child a secure living space. Some buyers will opt for a one bedroom condo while others may prefer a single family home so they can rent the additional rooms to their child’s friends or other students in the area. Typically, the buyers will live out of town, may not be familiar with the area, and will likely already own a home that they themselves live in.

How to Find Them

Networking with agents in other cities and building a relocation network with agents in different college towns will be a good way to get in touch with parents looking to buy into your market. You can also reach out to the colleges about renting a booth or setting up a table during school open house events, scheduled tours, and orientation.

How to Market to Them

Most people buying college housing from out of town or state may not be familiar with the area, so resources that make it easier for new college students to settle into the area are effective marketing materials. You can also share information showing the best areas for college attendees to live based on proximity, accessibility, resources, crime rates, and other factors parents will care about. Videos about the area, especially those with an emphasis on buying vs renting will also help you find and convert more of the college housing niche.

Many parents won’t initially consider the benefits of buying a home for their college student, so marketing on rental properties and investing in rental leads is a great way to connect with parents who would consider buying once they understand the value. Homes.com Rental Connect allows you to target the areas you think parents and students would be most interested in. Contact us to find out how we can help!

Single Parents

single mother with child

Buying a home as a single parent can be challenging. They don’t have the benefit of a dual income, their credit is dependent on only themselves, and finding the time to do the necessary research to figure out how to buy or sell their home can be tricky. However, single parents can be one of the most driven and motivated niches you consider working with. Agents who hope to specialize in single parents will need to be able to handle scheduling flexibility, have a good understanding of area schools and neighborhoods, and be good with children.

Who They Are

According to NAR’s 2018 Profile on Buyers and Sellers, 27% of buyers are singles, and an unspecified number of these singles have children under the age of 18 who they are responsible for. As of 2016, 40% of children were born to single mothers. That’s not counting single parents, both female and male, who have been through a divorce or lost their loved one due to injury or illness.

How to Find Them

Finding single parents interested in real estate will be easier if you have children of your own. You can network at your child’s school, and clubs, and activities, as well as at the park and other locations frequented by parents. Another option is to form alliances with other businesses who regularly interact with single parents such as divorce lawyers and after school care. One of the best ways to find single parents who are actively interested in real estate is to set up and market a home buying seminar specifically for single parents.

How to Market to Them

Many single parents will look to buy a home to create a more stable environment for themselves and their children. Focus on the fact that with a fixed-rate mortgage, your client will know exactly how much their principal and interest payments will be for the entire mortgage term and how as a renter they have a landlord who could choose to raise their rent or not renew the lease, forcing them to find a new place to live.

You should also focus on the benefits of getting their children into a great school zone or the child-friendly community they could move into. Some amenities single parents may be interested in include a fenced yard, open floor plan, proximity to parks, and good schools.

Pet Parents

woman with dogs at park

Niches don’t have to be large to be effective, and 1% of all home buyers’ listed a “desire for better home for pets” as their primary reason for purchasing a home according to the NAR 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Additionally, a whole 15% of buyers cited convenience to a vet/outdoor space for their pets as an important factor when choosing their neighborhood, making it more important than public transportation, convenience to the airport, planned communities, and human health facilities. If you want to break into this niche, here’s what you need to know.

Who They Are

A 2017 survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of SunTrust Mortgage found that 33% of millennials bought their first home out of a desire to provide a better space or yard for their dog. That’s a larger percentage than those who bought because of marriage (25%) or a new child (19%). The large amount of millennials whose buying decisions are influenced by their pets may be correlated to their decision to delay getting married and having children.

How to Find Them

People who are passionate enough about their pets to buy a home for them are often the same ones who bring their pets with them around town. Bring your own pet with you to the local dog park, pet store, and other pet-friendly places. Find or start a group to get together and take your pets on outings. Advertise your group with apps like Meetup to help other pet parents find you. You’ll likely find yourself running into the same people over and over again. Start forming friendships with them, learning about their pet (this topic will be very dear to them), and find out what problems they have with their current housing. When the time is right, give them your card and let them know about some low down payment loans you could help them apply for.

How to Market to Them

One of the best ways to market to anyone is to solve one of their problems. As a renter, pet parents may struggle to find homes that accept their companions, and places that do allow pets often have breed and size restrictions. On top of that, renters have to worry about costly expenses such as pet deposits, non-refundable pet fees, and pet rent. Pet safety can be a concern too. Many homes have fences that aren’t suitable for keeping dogs in the yard or have maintenance personnel who stop by at the landlord’s request and accidentally let the cat out. Let pet parents know how owning their home can solve all of these problems.

Additionally, pet parents often want more than a yard with a good fence, but most housing only offers the most basic pet amenities. Create and curate plenty of content on creating your own dog wash station, cat rope bridge mazes, pet pools, and other projects that you can’t install in a rental unit.

Fun, pet-related quizzes, like Homes.com’s Dogs Digs test are another great marketing tool. Use this quiz as a fun way to get your potential clients thinking about what kind of home would best suit their companion!