10 Most Profitable Real Estate Niches & Why They Work
This article is part of a larger series on Real Estate Lead Generation and Marketing.
Establishing a real estate niche is a strategic way for agents to develop authority and expertise—helping them stand out from their competition. Agents who work with real estate niches more efficiently maximize their marketing efforts and income. Establish a real estate niche in any area of the real estate market where you see a need—from location and property types to clientele.
We’ve collected ten lucrative categories of real estate niches to help you establish a strategy, optimize your time, and establish yourself as an expert.
The most common real estate niche is based on location, focusing on properties and clients within a specific neighborhood, city, ZIP code, or county. Real estate agents market themselves as an expert in a particular region to maximize the success of their lead generation strategies. By displaying your knowledge of the local market to clients and being active in the community, you’ll build a reputation and gain deeper trust from leads and clients.
Location-based niches are also called “farm areas.” Choosing the right farm area is key because an area that is oversaturated or undervalued will limit your potential. Ideally, you’ll choose an area near your current home that you already have some knowledge of.
Once you’ve identified the right location, identify the right tool to gain expert status. For example, Offrs uses predictive analytics to provide exclusive listing leads before your competition knows about them. The incredibly accurate market data helps you market to clients and contact them before other agents and easily gain more listings in your desired region. Start using Offrs to build your authority in one of the most profitable real estate niches.
2. Property Type
Property types are another example of common niches in real estate, especially since there is such a wide variety. Working with niche properties can help you become an expert on the structure, details, and values of individual property types. In turn, this makes you a valuable resource for buyers and sellers of those properties.
A few property types you could choose for a real estate niche include the following:
- Single-family homes: Free-standing residential structure that sits on its own land
- Multi-family homes: A single building with multiple units for more than one family living separately
- Condo (condominium): An individually owned residential unit in a building complex with like units
- Co-ops: Specific to New York, this is a type of property owned by a corporation made up of the owners within the co-op
- Commercial real estate: Consists of buildings used for commercial purposes, including office buildings, warehouses, retail buildings, and many others
- Historic homes: Homes over 50 years old and connected to a historical event, notable individual, or historical style, or which provide other types of historical information
If you’re still considering how to find your niche in real estate, start by searching for properties on Zillow. Using its search filters, evaluate how many different property types are available within your chosen ZIP, city, or neighborhood. Consider how many properties are currently for sale or for rent, and make sure you also search the number of properties sold in the last few months. Choose a property type that has enough inventory to keep your pipeline full.
Property realtor niches can be incredibly profitable, but only if you select the right type of property in your area. For example, the image above shows that there were almost 1,000 condos sold in Brooklyn, New York, in the last 90 days, and a separate search shows that there are 1,800 condos currently for sale. This is a healthy inventory that would provide you with consistent leads, properties to show to clients, and listings to sell.
However, studies show that 82% of property sales in 2021 were single-family homes. This means that apartments, condos, and townhomes in many other areas of the U.S. would not be such a profitable niche market.
The best real estate niche markets for your business will vary based on your location, interests, and skills. Make sure you do plenty of research before diving into a new real estate niche.
If you don’t already have one, create a real estate business plan to establish your goals and make an actionable plan to reach them. Use our free guide and template in the article How to Write a Real Estate Business Plan to get started.
3. Specific Types of Buyers
Being a buyer’s representative can be extremely lucrative—87% of buyers in 2021 found and purchased their home with the help of an agent. Working with buyers is one of the most common real estate agent niches, although it can also be segmented into even smaller categories. For example, buyer real estate niches may include the following:
- First-time homebuyers: Buyers looking to buy their first homes—this category made up 34% of all homebuyers in 2021.
- Luxury buyers: These are high net worth individuals, many of whom already own multiple properties or upscale, luxury properties. By purchasing multiple residences, they are able to spend time in each home throughout the year.
- Investors: Investors specialize in buying and selling property, so while they’re receptive and attentive, they are also usually very savvy. Unlike homebuyers looking for a dream home or place to start a family, investors are usually seeking out properties with the potential to gain value quickly, with the goal of selling at a profit.
- Commercial and retail buyers: Commercial property buyers are often business owners (or their representatives) who are looking for space for their operations.
- Rent-to-own: The rent-to-own buyer isn’t ready to buy yet. They may not have sufficient financial means to make a down payment or may have a poor credit score, which limits their ability to get a mortgage. However, they want to invest in a property with the goal of ownership rather than simply renting a home without building any equity.
Understanding the needs of each type of buyer will determine your approach when it comes to lead generation, prospecting, and converting leads to clients. It’s best to create buyer personas for different types of buyers to clearly identify the different types of properties, locations, and resources they will need.
For instance, first-time homebuyers generally need more communication and resources about how the process of buying a home works, as well as some guidance about things to avoid in their first home. On the other hand, niche marketing for real estate investors is likely to be more focused on finding an agent who knows how to evaluate investment properties, understand financial calculations, and negotiate the best deals.
Once you begin working with buyers, target this niche for repeat business or gather reviews that will speak to your value as a buyer’s agent to generate referral business from your sphere of influence or past clients. If you don’t already have a repeat or referral system, BoldLeads can help you easily and efficiently create one.
BoldLeads provides buyer leads along with a robust customer relationship management (CRM) tool to help you stay connected to past clients and new leads. Using its customizable funnels, automate email, text, or voice broadcasts with different types of buyers to engage and nurture them as clients.
4. Specific Types of Sellers
On the opposite side of being a buyer’s representative, your real estate niche can focus on representing sellers. This niche example requires a different skill set in order to sell properties successfully and target homeowners who want to sell. However, like the previous example, agents can work with sellers of all types to segment their niche even further.
Real estate seller niches can include the following:
- Multi-family building owners: They own multi-family buildings and are looking for an agent to represent their rental portfolio, also known as landlords.
- Home flippers: They purchase distressed homes so they can renovate and make a profit when sold.
- Single-family investors: Investors who purchase homes to use as rental properties.
- For sale by owner (FSBO): A homeowner trying to sell their property without the use of a real estate agent.
- Life event sellers: A life event has occurred like marriage, baby, divorce, increase or decrease in income, or death, requiring the need to sell to move (to a larger or a smaller home) or offload assets.
- Sidelined sellers: Homeowners waiting out the current market to list their property.
Statistics show that 90% of sellers in 2021 worked with a real estate agent, so you can be confident that this niche is in demand. However, generating seller leads can present challenging obstacles for new or inexperienced agents. For example, homesellers have already participated in at least one real estate transaction, so they are less likely to search for or reach out to a new agent.
However, the challenges of generating listing leads can be overcome with a strong marketing strategy and the right tools. For instance, SmartZip is a seller-focused predictive analytics platform that connects agents to qualified sellers. It provides new seller leads, accurate contact information, and automated marketing to help you reach listing leads at the exact time when they need you.
Outside of typical real estate transactions, there are many other instances when a property is sold under unique circumstances. These are considered “situational transactions,” and usually require more specific skills and knowledge from the agent—making it an ideal option on our real estate niche list. Although it might take more effort to learn about situational transactions upfront, you can develop a specialty that is highly valued by buyers and sellers.
A few examples of situational transactions include the following:
- Short-term and vacation rentals: Furnished properties in which the owners rent to short-term tenants.
- Short sales: A property being sold for less than the amount due on the mortgage (usually requires lender approval).
- Green/eco-friendly: A home designed and built with environmentally friendly materials and appliances and often with sustainable energy solutions.
- Relocation: A person moving or being relocated by a company or business they work for, usually with a Corporate Relocation designation from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Each situational transaction has a very specific process to complete, which means that clients are in need of an expert to guide them through. In addition, the commission structure of these deals can vary. These are great supplemental deals that can be in addition to your traditional real estate deals, and many are quite lucrative.
Getting clients within a situational niche will require creative marketing targeted to attract highly specific clientele. To help you create effective marketing materials, PostcardMania provides customizable templates for direct mail and online campaigns like Google and Facebook ads. It will help you reach targeted client types even if you don’t have a large marketing team or budget.
6. Real Estate-owned (REO) & Foreclosures
Real estate-owned (REO) and foreclosure listings are properties that the lender owns. REO listings are owned by the bank due to a failed sale, and foreclosure listings are properties where the lender has taken possession and is trying to recoup the balance owed. There are challenges to entering this market, but if you are able to obtain listings within the niche, it can be lucrative.
To break into the REO and foreclosure niche, you need to have a thorough understanding of the real estate market and property values in order to negotiate with lenders about property value. If you’re interested in this real estate niche but don’t have any experience, it’s best to find a real estate brokerage or real estate team with this specialty.
This can provide you with opportunities to learn from more experienced agents and build valuable connections. Once you have established working relationships with lenders and asset managers and an effective marketing strategy in place, foreclosure niche agents will receive a steady flow of business.
If you want to get started right away, consider using a platform like REDX to find and purchase foreclosure leads. REDX finds pre-foreclosure homes more quickly and efficiently than other platforms and provides you with the contact information to get in touch with distressed owners. They also have a comprehensive CRM that organizes and tracks your contacts to make sure you are in communication with all prospective clients.
Before being fully in foreclosure on a property, individuals enter the pre-foreclosure phase. This means they have defaulted on their mortgage payment and have the option to repay the owed money, sell it, or move toward foreclosure. To find clients in this stage of the process, read our article Preforeclosure Leads: 8 Ways to Find Preforeclosure Listings.
7. Rental Properties
In highly populated metropolitan areas, the cost of purchasing a home is high compared to the median income. This means that members of urban areas are more likely to rent a home instead of purchasing, which presents another potential niche market for real estate agents.
Examples of rental property real estate niches include the following:
- Room rentals: Renting individual rooms instead of the entire unit
- Student housing: Off-campus housing can be more affordable than on-campus
- Full-service apartments: Luxury high-rise units that are amenity-filled, including a doorman, gyms, laundry, public gathering spaces, and parking
- Multi-family apartments: An entire building dedicated to rentals of separate housing units
- Single-family residences: Individual homes purchased or built on a standalone lot for individuals or families to rent; these were often initially primary residences for the owners who now want to build equity through renting rather than selling
According to the National Multifamily Housing Council, 43 million households in the U.S. are renters. Even if you don’t live in an area with a high number of apartments or condos, there could be a thriving rental market in single-family homes. Consider performing a rental market analysis (RMA) to determine if rental properties could be a profitable real estate niche for you.
To start evaluating whether rentals could be a good niche marketing real estate option for you, take a look at the following graph. It breaks down the percentage of the population currently living in apartments by state. If your state is listed in the top 10 to 15 on this graph, this is an option you may want to seriously consider.
A hospitality property is a real estate development with individual rooms for short-term occupancy, typically a hotel or motel. This real estate niche falls under the category of commercial real estate. If you choose to work in the hospitality niche, you’ll likely be focused on working with and marketing to sellers and investors.
Hotels are both real estate ventures and individual operating companies. Within the hotel sector, there are groups of opportunities in luxury, mid-scale, and economy properties. Unlike most real estate transactions, this niche consists of long-term projects that result in higher commissions due to the value of the real estate properties involved. With larger payouts, agents only need to focus on one deal at a time.
However, there is a high level of expertise and effort required when selling a hotel. It is a labor-intensive process requiring an agent or team to evaluate the physical condition of a hotel, provide improvements to increase value, and have the ability to understand financial records to help expedite the closing of these large-scale deals.
Agents with a hospitality real estate niche generally either represent the hospitality owner or company looking to offload a property or a high net worth individual looking to diversify their assets. In addition to selling outright, a hospitality owner could also offload assets to a real estate investment trust (REIT), which is a company that owns income-producing properties.
An alternative to working with individual property types is working in specific types of communities. Developing a specialty in communities allows you to work with both buyers and sellers who want a community that fits their lifestyle. Communities typically have an abundance of amenities like golf courses, pools, recreational centers, and tennis courts. However, these amenities are typically obtained at a higher price.
Two types of communities to focus on are
- Gated communities: Residential estates with strictly controlled entrances
- Retirement communities: Provide the setting for an engaging and active lifestyle for older adults, usually 55 and over
For homeowners, both types of communities provide an enhanced sense of safety and security. There is a perception that the homes are better maintained due to investments and restrictions from the homeowner’s association (HOA). There is a higher perceived standard of quality and exclusivity to live in these communities.
The benefit of this real estate niche is that transactions in these communities usually fetch higher sales prices than their counterparts. Clients looking to purchase in these areas are accustomed to a level of quality service, and their networks and connections run deep. Agents who successfully build a referral lead generation system with community buyers and sellers will create a continuous lead flow for their business.
10. Exterior Amenities
Depending on your location, you may have the ability to specialize in properties with specific land or exterior amenities that attract a particular type of clientele. A few examples of these types of properties are:
- Lakefront property: Homes along the shore of a lake or adjacent to a lake
- Mountain homes: Homes built within a mountainous area
- Ocean or beachfront property: A property located along the coastline that is right on the beach or at least has ocean views
- Farmhouse: Large plot of land with the intent to focus on agriculture
- Vacant land: An empty lot, often bought or sold by commercial real estate investors or developers
Only select markets contain the above property types, but they provide an opportunity for a unique niche with homes that are typically priced high. You will need to understand specific information and details about property taxes, insurance requirements, possible land leases, and property line locations.
You should also learn more about climate or location-specific property considerations, like lake and beach management, watershed runoff, aquatic vegetation, and irrigation. You should also take into consideration additional structures like barns and processing facilities (or the ability to build them), power and water systems (such as for remote mountain homes), water quality, and other factors specific to the area or amenity.
Choosing to work with a specific home type means you need to clearly define your messaging to establish yourself as the expert in the area. Dig deeper into the more subtle geographic niches and understand what sets these homeowners and buyers apart from others. For instance, in the world of waterfront listings, not all lakes are created equal. Some may own a home on one lake because it’s the premier fishing spot in the entire state. Some may choose another lake because it’s perfect for water skiing and jet skis.
These choices don’t just speak to lifestyle—they speak to where these homeowners are spending their time, their money, and their attention. Developing an intricate understanding of your buyers and sellers will help you market the most effectively to their needs.
Why It Is Important to Find Your Real Estate Niche
Having a real estate niche isn’t a requirement. In fact, many successful real estate agents prefer working with different types of clients on different transactions, so they provide a variety of services. However, if you want to become a successful real estate agent, be viewed as an expert in your community, and build an authoritative reputation more quickly, choosing a real estate niche is the most effective strategy.
A few reasons why real estate niches help you more efficiently develop authority include the following:
Differentiating Yourself From Generalists
In general, homebuyers and homeowners who want to find a real estate agent can easily find one in a matter of minutes. In order for those potential clients to reach out to you instead of the 10 other agents they find immediately, you need to stand out from the crowd.
Becoming the Go-to Agent for Specific Clientele
Think about how local homebuyers or sellers will view you if they see that you have successfully helped other people buy or sell a property exactly the way that they want to do it. Instead of being one of many real estate agents in the area, by developing a niche, you instantly become the go-to agent for their needs.
Becoming Highly Skilled by Working With the Same Clients or Properties
If you’re still struggling to identify your business’ most profitable real estate niches, start by evaluating your past and current clients. Don’t try to force a real estate niche or rush to choose one. Instead, think about your previous deals and look for common threads. They may reveal something in common that points to your expertise within a certain audience or property type.
If you’re a brand-new real estate agent, don’t choose a real estate niche until you’ve completed a few deals successfully. Your first few transactions will help you determine some of your strengths, weaknesses, and potential gaps in the market. In many cases, a niche might identify itself based on the needs you meet in your community.
There are thousands of different types of opportunities in real estate, so no individual agent can be a jack of all trades. Finding a real estate niche that you are passionate about is vital to building a successful real estate career. Your niche can be somewhat general, like residential homebuyers, or it can be extremely specific, like oceanfront sellers. By choosing from this list of real estate niches, you’ll be able to stand out from other agents and build a highly valued specialty.