50 Real Estate Niches & Loads of Expert Money-Making Tips

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Founder of InboundREM an inbound marketing lead generation company focused on SEO. Blogger. Real Estate SEO expert. Real Estate Lead Generation expert. Real estate online marketing fanatic. Podcaster. Occasional public speaker and frequent vlogger.

Table of Contents

Why Real Estate Property Types REALLY Matter

Understanding property types accomplishes the following: 

  1. The ability to speak with greater authority to prospects, real estate buyers, and real estate sellers.
  2. More information to create your real estate business plan. 
  3. Understanding all your options for real estate niches expands your income earning potential.

Property Types vs. Niches

Property types are classes or styles of real estate, like:

  • Waterfront
  • Cabin
  • Modern
  • Condo

Niches can be property types, but they can also be much more. For example, they can be transaction type, location, genre identity, racial identity, language, sexual identity, and more. Here are some concrete examples:

  • LGBTQ
  • Black
  • Probate
  • Sub-divisions
  • Fort Bend, Texas Homes
  • Spanish-speaking Cubans in Miami

A special class of real estate niches includes luxury niches, like:

  • Beverly Hills Gated Homes
  • Wilshire Corridor Luxury Condominiums
  • Mid-Century Modern Homes in Los Feliz and West Hollywood

Notice how specific and specialized those last niches are.

The more defined the real estate niche, the more defined the audience. Highly defined audiences lead to higher ROIs. 

Our 12 Favorite Real Estate Property Types

1. Subdivisions or Tract Homes

subdivision in real estate means a piece or parcel of land or plot divided into smaller parts to improve the property for future sale.

An excellent example of a real estate team leveraging subdivision niche marketing is Team Jay Michelle. The team website doesn’t have any blog posts or social connectivity.

They concentrate on subdivisions in Agoura Hills Ca, Oak Park Ca, Thousand Oaks and Westlake Ca. It’s a 20-mile square area with  74 sub-divisions. This is a perfect example of a team focusing on a sub-division niche instead of focusing on “Thousand Oaks Homes for Sale.”

Subdivisions

2. Condos | High-Rises 

To be a high-rise, the building needs to be 35-100 meters tall. Marketing luxury high-rise units is a niche every real estate professional in a major city should research.

Jeffery Hyland, the co-founder of Hilton Hyland, has focused on Luxury Highrise listings for the last six years I have been following his career. In Feb 2017, when I wrote this post, he had THREE listings in highrises for 18% of the total inventory he represents.

Mauricio Umansky, one of the wealthiest Luxury real estate agents in the business, listed and SOLD 4-5 units in the Ritz-Carlton residences for a total of 12-15 million dollars over a 13-month period. He did the same for another luxury high rise in the same period.

Umansky has sold 2 BILLION in residential sales and has been in the top 10 real estate agents in the country 7 years in a row. He was number five in 2016 with $422 MILLION in residential sales.

High-rises & Condominiums

3. Townhomes or Townhouses

These are terraced housing. The term and type of real estate historically reference a time when wealthy families would escape to a luxury unit that had many levels but a small “land” footprint. Today you’ll find townhomes including “stacked” and rowhouses in suburban locations throughout North America.

Here’s an excellent example of a brokerage building a team around the townhome real estate niche in North Carolina. They have 48 agents listed on their website.

Townhomes or Townhouses

4. Luxury Homes

This is a price point specialization with many brokerages offering training and certification to indicate to prospective clients that a realtor is ready to serve the upper 1% of the real estate market. A luxury home is around 2 million across all markets with Beverly Hills defining luxury as a home that is 8+ million. California has 30% of the top producing Luxury Real Estate agents according to real trends.

The Luxury Real Estate agent that topped ONE BILLION in residential sales decades before anyone else did is Joyce Rey. She sold Robin Williams’s Napa Valley estate for 18.1 million and had been targeting the luxury real estate niche for 40+ years.

Luxury Homes

5. Lake Homes

Obviously, this refers to a community surrounding a lake. The housing itself isn’t a style in many cases, but the amenities such as water sports is where the specialized knowledge is needed and thus defining “lake homes” as a real estate niche.

This team in Lake Conroe is a good example. Full disclosure I have worked with this team in one of my past sales management roles. At the time in 2014, they were a two person team now they are a seven person team all focused on the lake homes real estate niche.

Lake Homes

6. Ski Homes

Referred to as chalets in Europe, ski homes have evolved to include everything from cabins to stately mountainside holiday manors. If you’re a Realtor that loves skiing and has a mountain community with long winters close by this real estate niche should be seriously considered.

Julie Olsen has a clear focus on ski properties. She has made an investment in her website, and it paid off. Julie is on the first page for hundreds of SEO keywords almost all are mountain or ski related. She doesn’t own her website, though. See my post on common realtor mistakes. She’s locked into this website. She cannot switch providers or build her website without significant cost/loss, so she is at the mercy of Real Estate Webmasters. They are a good company, and they have done a good job in this case, but Julie is not in control of her lead generation.

Ski Homes

7. Golf Course Homes

Some of the most exclusive homes in the world have proximity or access to a golf course. In the United States, there are over 2000 golf courses with surrounding residential properties.

Phoenix, Arizona has some of the best examples of luxury golf courses with homes for sale. One broker has been targeting Luxury Golf Courses in Phoenix AZ for at least ten years. That’s how long I have been tracking his website azgolfhomes.com. Their website claims they are one of the top residential sales teams in Arizona. I believe them.

Golf Course Homes Country Club Homes

8-11. Ranches | Farms | Horse Properties

I’ve combined what could TECHNICALLY be three separate niches. Equine properties is a highly robust niche in and of itself. These properties board, raise, train horses and available land for riding. Ranches raise livestock. Farms often the same thing but additionally growing crops as well.

All three types of property or niches are highly specialized considering the size and complexities of land transactions. Another term sometimes used to lump ALL of these property types together is Acreage properties.

Again, full disclosure that the team I am using as an example is one I worked with in a past real estate technology leadership role. Dutch and Cheryl focus mainly on a ranch home real estate niche and for as long as I worked with them their business was growing.

Ranches Farms Horse Properties

12. Ocean-Front Properties

The dictionary defines this as “the land along the shore of an ocean.” Oceanfront communities include Malibu in California and The Hamptons in Long Island. Oceanfront property falls into the “luxury” category regardless of location.

The perfect example of a realtor targeting the Oceanfront Real Estate niche is Brian Merrick. Google “Malibu realtors” or “realtor Malibu” and you’ll find Brian on the first page.

Ocean - Front

Location Real Estate Niches

13. Specific Counties

The only time you should designate an entire county as a specialization is if the population is low or the property type within the whole county is distinct. If you live in a county that contains more than 100,000 people, you should NOT be specializing by county.

14. Specific Cities

Many of the top Real Estate professionals specialize in a single city. One of my favorites is Greg Noonan who specializes in La Jolla California Real Estate. His team produced $146 million in 2016 making them #103 in the country.

15. Neighborhoods 

Throughout the U.S some areas carry an excellent repute that makes them a good real estate target market. Denver has the “The Highlands.” New York has Harlem. San Francisco the Haight-Ashbury. Los Angeles has Silver Lake.

16. Gated Communities

Gated Communities

This is a form of the residential community behind walls, gates, and other security measures. Often these communities have their set of rules or bylaws and occasionally even need special permissions to represent buyers and sellers of real estate that reside within that community.

Requirements are high but rewards can be as well, and many luxury estate representatives have spent years cultivating relationships within these exclusive enclaves.

17. Urban Districts

In Los Angeles, the “Wilshire Corridor” or the “Sunset Strip” would define an urban location that mixes commercial real estate and residential housing.

18. Downtowns

Used primarily in North America this usually refers to a central business district of a major It is convenient terminology for a real estate professional looking to specialize as there is often a great deal of online activity associated with the term “downtown city name.” 

19. Subdivisions

Subdivisions

A tract of land that has been divided into smaller pieces and developed (typically) into single family residences. I grew up in Morrison Ranch Estates which is a sub-division in Agoura Hills Ca.

20. Retirement Communities

Retirement Communities

Retirement Communities known as senior communities or active adult communities these communities frequently have specific rules governing listing and selling property making them a great possibility for a “real estate niche.” Keli McCall is a good example of a Real Estate professional that specializes in South Orange County, Ca retirement communities.

Buyers and Sellers Real Estate Niches

21. First Time Buyers

This real estate niche is viable in big cities or small. I am linking to a regional broker that has successfully targeted this niche (READ beat Zillow and Trulia in the search results) in Albuquerque NM with a single page dedicated to first-time home buyers. In larger cities, more effort is required.

22. Second Home Buyers

Second Home Buyers is a highly general definition and can include many of the niches already listed. A favorite type of second home is beachfront property especially on the eastern seaboard of the U.S.

An example of small brokerage that once again beats out EVERY large company for most search results is http://www.beachrealtycapecod.com/. This is both an oceanfront and second home specialist.

23. Investors

Investors is a broad category but an important niche. In the major cities, you can specialize in specific types of real estate investors. Here is a short list:

  1. Apartment Buildings
  2. Foreclosures
  3. Condo’s | Duplex’s | Multi-Family Dwellings
  4. Store Front Multi-Family Dwellings

24. Distressed Properties

Distressed Properties is a broad classification. I’ve divided it into subsections.

  1. REO’s bank owned homes that went to auction and DIDN’T sell. The banks employ individual Real Estate Agents that list and sell these homes.
  2. Short sales
  3. Foreclosure – Mortgage holders find themselves underwater, and the bank starts a process called foreclosure. It’s common for the homeowner to attempt to sell their home especially if they have or feel they have equity in the property.

25. Divorcees

With 40% of marriages in the U.S ending in divorce and the primary residence often being liquidated (sold) this is a delicate but growing niche. So much so that there is a website dedicated to training agents interested in the divorcee niche

26. Eco-Friendly

Eco-Friendly homes

Eco-Friendly meaning “earth friendly.” There are now certifications galore that can indicate a home is green or earth friendly.

27. Nationality

In a diverse country, many neighborhoods get classified by the nationality of the people living there. Korean, Armenian, Chinese these neighborhoods cannot be found by zip code or city name. The difficulty in pinpointing the dimensions of these niche communities is why they can be a viable area of specialization.

28. Family Structure

Here is a list of household types all of which can be areas of expertise:

  1. Single
  2. Young (25-35)
  3. Widowers
  4. Elder (55-75)
  5. Retires
  6. Growing Families
  7. Children caring for aging parents
  8. Multigenerational homes
  9. Gay | Bisexual | Transgender | Alternative

29. Foreign Transplants | Investors

Certainly one of the growing niches in luxury real estate is foreign investors. Here is a short list of International Real Estate Niches

  1. Foreign Investors in (Area Specific) properties
  2. Overseas buyers of second homes
  3. Relocating workers on temporary visa’s
  4. International students
  5. US. Buyers looking for overseas homes
  6. Retirement overseas

Architectural Style Real Estate Niches

30. Mid-Century-Modern

Mid-Century Modern

Mid-Century-Modern was an Artcurial style introduced in the US with the goal of bringing Modernism to the post-war suburbs.

Popular from 1950-1970’s this style of home has increasingly gained a rabid following with modern homes often increasingly significantly more in value than other homes built in similar neighborhoods but using “standard” styles of the day.

Paul Kaplan out of Palm Springs is an excellent example of a realtor that targets this niche.

31. Brownstones

Brownstone

Brownstones referees to a sandstone which was once a popular building material in the U.S.

Real aficionados of this real estate niche will be able to recite the various locations that produced this material in the early 1900’s. You can find thousands of these homes in every major city that expanded heavily from 1900-1940.

Much of this material was used to construct multi-family residences, and in New York, you find whole neighborhoods that reflect the “brownstone” architecture type.

You can see an example of a brokerage focused on this real estate niche HERE.

32. Craftsman

Craftsman

You can also refer to Craftsman as the American Arts and Craft movement is an American domestic architectural philosophy that began in the latter half of the 19th There have been many revivals throughout the years.

The style is defined by its handcrafted versus mass production quality. As with mid-century-modern homebuyers have driven the value of these homes up over the years.

33. Victorian

Victorian

True students of history will understand there are MANY different Victorian styles and even those differ based on global location.

To see HOW the classification “Victorian” came into being, please go to this Wikipedia page. For a home or building to be Victorian in North America, it was built between 1860 and 1910. Some revivals fall into this classification that were built later.

An excellent example of an agency targeting the Victorian homes real estate niche is Ruby Home

34. Colonials

Colonial

Colonial homes developed in the 1700s. They are usually two-story homes, square, and feature an entry door that can be found in the middle of the house.

Colonials can also include paired chimneys, a pitched roof, and a stairway behind the entrance door that leads to a hallway that bisects the second floor.  Colonials come in many styles like Spanish and Dutch Colonial.

35. Bungalows

Bungalows

Bungalows are usually one-story homes or cottages. They are limited by smaller square footage and were originally designed as affordable housing for the working class. Rare examples can include increased square footage, second stories, and various additions.

36. Log Homes

Log Homes

Log Homes are structures with interlocking horizontal logs. Logs can be squared off, handcrafted, or milled. Often Log houses are referred to by other names such as cabins, hunting or fishing shacks, ski lodges, or mountain homes.

37. Manufactured Housing or Mobile Homes

Manufactured Homes

Manufactured housing or mobile homes in the U.S.A. are also referred to as modular and factory-built housing. Factory-built housing is made “offsite” and installed at a predefined location. Some modular homes, once fully assembled, are indistinguishable from site-built homes.

Special Skills, Relationships, and Licenses Can Define a Niche

Luxury real estate, retirement communities, gated communities, bank owned homes, investment real estate, land and acreage, ranches all these real estate niches can require permissions, skills licenses and sometimes relationships that separate a “generalist” from a specialist. Here are the most common licenses or designations.

38. Seniors Home Buying and Selling (SRES®)

39. International Real Estate Transactions (CIPS®)

40. Buyers Representative (ABR®)

41. Resorts and Second Home Buyers (RSPS)

42. Distressed Property (SFR)

43. Negotiation Expert (CNE)

44. Sustainable, Eco-Friendly Housing (GREEN) 

 

Passion-Based Real Estate Niches

45. Interests and Hobbies

  • Cooking
  • Shopping (Luxury areas such as Rodeo Drive)
  • Decorating
  • Gardening
  • Animals (Dogs, horses, and sats are most common)
  • Music
  • Alumni (Ever notice how people can be rabid about their alma matter?)
  • Sports (preferably ones you love)

Commercial Real Estate Niches

46. Office Buildings

47. Manufacturing Facilities

48. New Home Developments (The WHOLE development)

49. Property Management

50. Multi-Unit Rental Properties

51. Empty Lots

52. Custom Homes

53. Retail Storefront Property

54. Niche Commercial Business

  • Restaurant – Fast Food
  • Hospitals – Nursing Homes
  • Department Stores

If you enjoyed this post, please consider checking out my OTHER top 50 posts.

Top 50 real estate memes.

Top 50 real estate quotes.

5 Comments

    1. Robert Newman

      Darin, beyond failing to own a website the next most common mistake real estate agents make is failing to specialize online.

    1. Robert Newman

      Grateful for the share! Hope your audience finds this tutorial helpful 🙂

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