Struggling with my property / real estate niche!

Sapphire Tree

New Member
Hi All,

I started my virtual business support business a few months ago in Edinburgh, Scotland, I've been fortunate to have a few initial clients to get me started who have come through contacts and therefore from a variety of industries! I was keen to carve out a niche in property going forward as this is where a lot of my previous experience lies. My issue is that I'm really struggling with finding property related clients, specifically knowing how to access them? I'm looking for property entrepreneurs, developers, private landlords etc i.e people who may need support renting out properties and all the admin associated, advertising properties, sourcing properties etc. For other potential client bases I can generally work out what the job titles would be, how to search for client websites, who to follow on twitter etc, but not so much for property!

I would really appreciate any input anybody might have as my brain has hit a wall!

Thanks very much,

Sarah
 

Your Virtual Wizard

Community Leader
Hi Sarah,

I used to work with real estate clients before the market tanked in 2008 here in the US.

Unfortunately, I can't suggest any sites you can use in Scotland. Do you have any sites such as this one called ActiveRain? I would have a profile on this site and submit blogs, post discussions, answer questions, etc. Several clients found me through this site for real estate professionals.

Do you have your own blog? I found that blogging and then sharing that information on social media brought attention to my site. Then when people clicked on the site, I offered a free download...tips to decorating, tips to taking pictures for listings, tips for selling, etc. Then I captured their email addresses and then nursed those leads with a real estate centered newsletter. And that newsletter was then shared on social media and posted to my site to increase SEO.

My suggest is to concentrate on a more narrowed down market instead of throwing a net over everyone. Can you be the landlord's VA and specialize in everything a landlord would need? Or you can a broker's admin and specialize in creating listings. Once you concentrate and claim expertise in one or two areas, then the flood gates open instead of trying to be everything to everyone.

Best,

Janine
 

Sapphire Tree

New Member
Hi Janine,
Thanks for your message, that's really helpful. I think you are right that I need to narrow it down further to who I'm targeting initially. I don't yet have a blog (next on list) but have started using twitter and have found I'm beginning to be followed by some interesting potential clients so I will continue to try and be strategic in my posts and and just be more focused with who I aiming at!
Thanks again
Sarah
 

Tess

Administrator
Staff member
Hi Sarah, are there any property-owner's networking groups, business collabs, or meetups in your area? Anything online you can find that caters to this niche?

It might work to start local in your case, contacting the agencies and companies that handle rentals and property in your area. Watching their newsletters to see what THEY participate in and are up to. Maybe you'll get a little insight that way.
 

Susankelly

New Member
Hey Sarah,

I initially thought I'd be doing real estate agents as well. I use to be one and my license is still active, I know the drill. But it didn't happen that way.

I'm far better at getting clients locally, I guess I'm more interesting in person than online, most of my clients are local. I did try both online and local marketing and I found that at least locally agents were not using VA's. I attended every single networking event for agents locally for 2 years. I now know most of the agents in my area and most of them have told me flat out: "I'm too cheap to pay for your kind of help." They have reiterated time and time again that they would rather do their own social media at night after their kids go to bed. Or address "sold" cards while they watch TV.

So after 2 years of trying I have 3 RE agents and I don't do a lot of work for them. However, I did end up meeting a local builder and now I work for 4 local builders and a number of their subcontractors. So I guess that's my niche now! I guess I'm just saying be open and see where it takes you!
 

SuzannaK

New Member
I found also that real estate agents tend to want a cheap assistant. Back when I was looking for employment, I went into a luxury real estate office for an interview. A two-person team wanted to hire an assistant and they interviewed me together. I was surprised when they told me they only wanted to pay minimum wage, $8 an hour. And this was in Santa Barbara, which is one of the most expensive places in the U.S. It felt like such a strange contradiction to be sitting in a lavish office and be told I would only make $8 an hour.
 

Sapphire Tree

New Member
Thanks everybody for your responses! It's really interesting to get your perspectives on this and to hear some challenges you have found in this particular industry. I suspect Scotland is not so different to the US in regards to property businesses not being prepared to pay for a VA, even if they need one! As suggested I think I need to remain open minded on where my niche might develop and although property is my direct background it may be a case of transitioning those skills else where. Thanks again, very helpful. Sarah
 
Hi There in Scotland! I also just recently launched my VA business specializing in Real Estate. Like you, my background was in commercial real estate/property management so I thought it would be an easy transition. Truth is, it is challenging because even though the Agents need help they're afraid to commit to paying someone. I'm also doing my marketing locally because I feel that sometimes people feel more comfortable with someone they can put a face to. I have two clients signed and working on a few others but not much work from either yet! Don't give up, it will happen (I'm telling myself this also!). I'm so glad to see this post today, nice to know others are having similar experiences. Keep the Faith!!
 
:welcome:Hi there in Scotland! I recently launched my VA business specializing in Real Estate. Because my background was in commercial real estate/property management I thought it would be an easy transition. However, it has been harder than I thought because as the others' said, the agents are afraid to commit to paying someone even though they need the help. I've been able to sign two (not too busy yet!) through local marketing and contacts. I feel like sometimes people feel more comfortable working with someone they can put a face to in this "virtual world". It't nice to see that other people are feeling the same frustrations, but keep the Faith!! (I'm reminding myself of this as well!) Good luck and hopefully soon we'll both be saying we have more work than we can handle!

Deanna
 
I found also that real estate agents tend to want a cheap assistant. Back when I was looking for employment, I went into a luxury real estate office for an interview. A two-person team wanted to hire an assistant and they interviewed me together. I was surprised when they told me they only wanted to pay minimum wage, $8 an hour. And this was in Santa Barbara Charlottesville Real Estate Agent Toby Beavers, which is one of the most expensive places in the U.S. It felt like such a strange contradiction to be sitting in a lavish office and be told I would only make $8 an hour.
 
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