A target market is the identified group of individuals to whom a company wants to work with and to sell the products or services it provides. Every business needs to know who their target customer is. Just because “anyone” could be a potential customer in renting or purchasing real estate, “everyone” does not qualify or desire help in their real estate need.
Having a target market does not mean you cannot work outside of that zone, but that definition will guide your decisions as to where and how to market and what information you provide to possible clients. Every business needs to define their target market. It is the start of serving the people you want to serve with what they actually need and want.
Real estate agents frequently work their “Sphere of Influence” to start and grow their business. Who is in their sphere? Neighbors, former co-workers, their high school connections or their children’s school connections. Do you want to work primarily in the area where you live, or would you like to work primarily in another area? Who lives where you want to be helping people buy and sell real estate?
For example, if you live in a downtown condo building that has several hundred units, and there are many more units in buildings nearby, it makes sense to define your market as people who want to live in downtown condos. Likely, those people are young professionals or empty nesters. Is one of those age groups more natural for you to work with? Pick the age group and location. Working with young professionals or empty nesters would each have a different marketing plan. It is good to choose one to focus on and if the other comes along as a result of your expansion into that market, then great! Decide who you want to be your focus. If you choose the young professionals, you would be providing information about first time homebuying experiences and what to expect, nearby restaurant and entertainment information and having lender referrals for borrowers who probably will have a small down payment. You could even have credit repair as part of your systems.
Certainly, you can drive out to the suburbs to help someone in another community, but that is not the area you know best or is most convenient and efficient for you to sell.
Once you have defined your market, you can identify what the needs of that group is generally. While we want to remember that each person is an individual and will have their own needs and desires, we know that people who choose to live in downtown condos generally prefer low maintenance house care and like to be able to take advantage of the culture a downtown area provides. And if they are young, they need to focus on getting their down payment and credit score to line up so they can purchase.
Other niche opportunities for you to consider as you define your market are:
- First Time Homebuyers
- Vacation Home Buyers
- Onsite New Construction Sales
- Condo Specialist
- Equestrian Property Specialist
- Land Specialist
So, consider who your target client is and what their needs are as you build your business. This can be done at any time in your business. If you have served a broad group of people, but maybe now you want to work closer to home – who will that include and how can you target them?
If you are considering how targeting a client base works with the need to be inclusive and honor the spirit of the Fair Housing law, these do not need to be in conflict. The Fair Housing laws are about being inclusive and showing all clients all the houses that are available in their criteria. What you don’t want to do is steer your clients to or away from areas based on what you think you know about the people in that area, thinking they do or do not want to live somewhere because of their race, national origin, color, religion, gender, familial status or disability. And the REALTOR® Code of Ethics added sexual identity or gender identification. And some states and cities add categories to this as well. Show people the properties in the areas and price ranges that they decide. And work with all people who can afford the property.
I want to share a few resources for you to use to continue your journey towards being more educated and helpful regarding Fair Housing for all people.
The first article is from 2005 and is a bit older but is specific in discussing the question at hand. The second link leads you to many tools to help you be Fair Housing Engaged and Attentive in order to be helpful. Agents who honor and work with everyone see their businesses grow.
It is true that there are many people who are possible home buyers and sellers and we want to welcome and interview all that we come across as possible clients or someone we can refer to another agent if that is the best scenario. You will be the most successful though when you know who your target client is and you seek them out, meeting their needs in finding or selling a home in an area you work.