“I think it’s the future to become an expert or to specialize in a niche,” says Carl Langschmidt, an agent who specializes in loft-style condos in Toronto. “That kind of [generalist] agent doesn’t have much respect in the public’s eye today because, at the end of the day, a generalist is a glorified taxi driver with a license, in my opinion.”
Langschmidt says specialist agents earn a larger slice of a smaller pie by offering their clients a stronger value proposition. Conversely, generalist agents may lack the same far-reaching knowledge on which specialists capitalize.
“You want to be an expert in a neighbourhood instead of casting too wide a net, because then you may not have the in-depth knowledge that people are looking for,” says agent Ricky Chadha. “Instead, you have general knowledge on a variety of topics instead of focus, which I think people really look for now, since real estate is such a micro-local industry.”
Becoming an expert, to a certain extent, isn’t hard. Langschmidt says it’s as simple as making a choice.
“Make a commitment to farm a particular area,” he advises fellow agents. “It’s a matter of finding where you want to work going that route.”
After you’ve narrowed your niche, Chadha says you must educate yourself as much as possible.
“Within in any industry, education is key. It’s not enough to just get your real estate license,” he says. “So if I wanted to specialize in, say, being a green agent, then there are several courses out there that are available through the real estate colleges to really focus on the niche you’re looking for.”
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The age of generalist agents is coming to a close, say industry players arguing sales reps need to hone in on a particular property type or neighbourhood, or risk extinction in an increasingly competitive market.