My Favorite pages


What's this?remove

  • Sign in to use the “My Favorites” feature.

Connect with us on:

Dream Big!

Rich Niches/Users/adamp/Desktop/Stuff for FAR/Magazine Assets/NOV08/images/RichNiches

Looking for that next big group of buyers? Judging from the demographics, Gen Yers and single females should be on your radar.

By reaching a new market niche, you can infuse new life into your business in 2009. Here’s how to mine the market of your choice.

Single Women
Twenty percent of all buyers are single women, according to the 2007 National Association of Realtors® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. This market is hugely untapped, says Derri Davisson, a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate in Largo.

Davisson was a single mom to two boys. She’s remarried now, but she understands the challenges single women face.

To reach them, she participates in community activities such as breast cancer walks. She’s also an active Chamber of Commerce member. But she has the greatest success with her education seminars. “About 30 percent of my transactions have come from seminars, with about 73 percent of those transactions being with single women.”

Her seminar topics are broad, covering the basics of buying and selling. She advertises the events through the local chamber, her church and a garden club.

Davisson has picked up six female customers from the seminars since launching the program 18 months ago. And between May and July 2008 alone, she was working with five new customers who had contacted her after attending one of her seminars.

Green Housing
No question about it, everything green [attracts buyers and sellers], says Andrea Crilly, of Esslinger Wooten Maxwell in Aventura. The green-friendly home is  a popular market niche  because of rising utility costs, she says.

Crilly highlights sellers’ green-energy appliances and solar power systems in her marketing materials.

She also organized a green networking group of consultants and vendors. She created it through, calls it, “The Green Room” and markets it online through blogging and her Web site.

“I like having the sources at my fingertips for buyers and sellers, [such as] green kitchen and interior designers, architects or energy raters who can tell [customers] where to save energy,” Crilly says.

She currently has two green customers, and she expects that as she works on her Internet presence, she’ll pick up others. She’s also a Certified Eco-Broker (, which tells customers she has expertise to evaluate properties for energy efficiency.

Becoming an internationalist may be the easiest for sales associates who have language skills plus family or friend networks abroad.

“The strength of the Canadian dollar, the euro, and other foreign currencies, on top of a slowdown in the U.S. real estate market, is making the United States an enticing place for foreigners to buy property,” the NAR reported.

Because they’re familiar with the language and culture of Italy, mother-daughter team Vicki and Alexandra Restivo, with Esslinger Wooten Maxwell in Pinecrest, work primarily with Italians moving to Florida. The Restivos promote through their Italian-language blog and Web site.

The Restivos regularly communicate with an average of 50 Italian customers, of whom 16 are actively looking for property.

Venezuela, Argentina, Colombia, Panama and Brazil are primary markets for Venezuelan-born Francisco Angula, president of CENTURY 21 United Properties of Weston. “We can communicate so simply now via the Internet, instant messenger and telephone,” Angula says.

Angula, who visits Venezuela for family celebrations and for networking at least four times per year. He’s also a member of NAR’s International Committee. Additionally, Angula gets referrals through two NAR organizations: the Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) Network ( and the Transnational Referral Certification (TRC) program (

Gen X and Gen Y
The new generations of buyers—especially Gen Y, who are younger than 28—are emerging markets that can be cultivated.

Alexandra Restivo has been able to tap people her age because she attended the University of Miami. Recent college graduates are often first-time buyers who have high earning potential.

“I’ve lived here all my life. [Plus, I keep in touch with fellow graduates who live] out of state,” she says. Her college connections give her an advantage.

Restivo also generates business through a young professionals networking group. She suggests you tap this market via online tools like Facebook and get acquainted with instant messaging.

Heidi Russell Rafferty is a Kentucky-based freelance writer.