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Four Key Reasons Consumers Choose a Specialist

By: William Shue


In years past when you got sick your mom sought out the “old general practitioner” who focused on a broad range of illnesses rather than specializing in one area.  Today the reverse is often the case – most of the time you’ll find the doctor that specializes in your particular illness.  It makes a lot of sense because of the advancements in medicine that have made specialization almost a necessity.  Medicine, however, is not the only profession that has experienced this change.

Sometimes it makes good sense to stop and put ourselves in our customers’ shoes and consider how they view the real estate transaction.  It should not come as any surprise that specialization has evolved within our industry in response to consumer demand as well.  For that very reason it’s important to understand just why our buyers and sellers are looking for a “specialist” … no matter what niche you choose.

1. They Want Access To The Knowledge Base

Specialists by definition possess specialized information about their field that will benefit their clients. The real estate specialist who can demonstrate an ability to provide in-depth information about the market, neighborhoods, appreciation rates, clubs, social networks, affluent service providers, schools and more will have a distinct advantage over their competitors.  As more information becomes available it is the specialist’s job to stay abreast of the timeliest data available to protect and enhance their client’s interests.

According to the findings of NAR’s Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 91% of all buyers find an agents knowledge of the real estate market to be “very important” with 50% of all buyers ranking “help in finding a home” to be the most important service that a real estate agent can provide. Interestingly, according the Luxury Home Council’s  Membership Survey of Luxury Housing Trends, an amazing 84% of affluent buyers feel that “help in finding a home” is the most important service a luxury home specialist can provide.

2.  Experience & Reputation Are Pre-requisites

Why do you choose a professional service provider? In many cases the reason points back to the experience and reputation of the firm or person with whom you are dealing.  Cultivating the reputation of professionalism is critical to the success of any real estate professional. 

The previous survey also revealed that a specialist’s integrity and honesty are what the customer believes most set a specialist apart from their competition (70%), followed by their knowledge of the market (67%) and recommendations and testimonials (60%).  When packaged together these items represent the foundation of your reputation. . 
3. They Are Looking For Value Added Services

Today’s buyers and sellers expect the best. They also expect specialized services tailored just to their needs. This is a powerful motivator when deciding which agent to represent them in a real estate transaction.

Consider the explosive growth of Starbucks coffee as an example of the conspicuous consumption mindset. Starbucks understands that the key to managing their customer experience has little to do with the price of the coffee and everything to do with managing the customer experience. They do this by building value in other ways.  Likewise real estate specialists offer value added services that make sense within the context of their abilities, budget and experience and as importantly their competitions’ value proposition. 


4. They Want Referrals To Validate Your Qualifications

Perhaps the most powerful reason for a consumer to choose a specialist is a personal referral.  The number one way that both traditional buyers and sellers come into contact with their agent is through the use of a personal referral - 40% of buyers and 44% of sellers. This statistic is even more pronounced among luxury home clients as 75% of current luxury home specialists report that their number one method for coming into contact with affluent clients for the first time is through a referral or recommendation.

Today, in light of the current market conditions, both buyers and sellers are looking for an edge.  As they do in other areas of their life, they are looking for that edge in the right real estate specialist.  It’s evident all across the spectrum from buyers’ agent to the sellers’ agent to the luxury home specialist.  They want the agent that has the specialized knowledge, the experience and reputation, the specialized services and they want proof of the fact.

If you are going to be competitive in this market specialization is one thing you are going to have to consider.  If that specialized niche is in the  neighborhood specialist market one place you can gain the skills and tools necessary to satisfy these requirements for the  buyer or seller is the Certified Neighborhood Specialist (CNS) course from the Neighborhood SpecialistCouncil.  You can find out all about the course and how it can solidify you in this specialized market segment by visiting


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