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Having been in real estate for about three decades now, and having been an agent, office manager, team leader, coach, and trainer in the industry, it’s clear that while public perception is all real estate agents are the same, there are clearly at least 3 very distinct boxes in which agents fall.

My observation is that without some coaching or strong leadership in their lives, most agents fall into Box #1. 

Those in Box #2 are usually either the result of poor character or poor training — either way, this box is what has given the real estate profession a bum rap. 

Lastly, those in Box #3 have figured out that real estate sales can be meaningful, fun, and profitable.

You probably already know what box you are in, but you may be wondering why it matters. 

Box #1: Typical REALTOR® Box

This box contains the real estate agents, both new and seasoned, who are likely doing their jobs quite well.  They have reputations as being good people and competent professionals.

The tendency in this box is to work with a variety of clients – no particular concern for where a property is located, the type of property, or the goals and challenges the client may have.

If you meet someone new and introduce yourself as a Realtor, chances are this is the box they put you in (metaphorically speaking).

The mantra coming from this box sounds something like, “I will work with anyone who wants or needs to buy, sell, or invest. Anywhere, anytime, anything.” 

Not only will these agents work with just about anyone, they will work until midnight, on weekends, and skip their kid’s soccer games chasing the next sale. Keeping focused and maintaining a balanced life can be hard for agents in Box #1.

As years go on, some agents in Box #1 decide to expand and hire support staff or team members, while others choose to remain solo. Because they are worn-out and burned out, they typically look forward to the day when they can scale back and not work as hard (sooner is better than later).

Box #1 agents are the equivalent of a Super Wal-Mart. They carry a little bit of everything and are required to negotiate their price and principles because their value is diminished by the law of supply and demand.

Box #2: Atypical agents

Fortunately, this box is not nearly as big as Box #1. This is the agent box that neither the agent community nor the public prefers to know or talk about. 

This segment of agents — existing in every market I might add — that are incompetent, lack integrity, or are “only in it for the commission.”

These agents usually come and go. That said, there are a few bad apples out there tenacious enough to withstand public, professional, and legal scrutiny.

Despite their lack of ethics and shotty business practices, Box #2 remains with people preying on the naivety or ignorance of consumers and frustrating the heck out of agents in boxes #1 and #3.

Box #3: Experts

Over the years, smart real estate professionals have learned that trying to be all things to all people is exhausting. Hence, the evolution of Box #3: Experts (or specialists).

Let’s be clear before I go on — I’m not talking about those agents with all the alphabet soup following their names. This isn’t about how many classes people take or how many initials they acquire (many with a bazzillion designations have the least amount of sales experience and expertise).

Being an expert is about, well, expertise … it’s about focus and intention toward one (or maybe two) specific market or consumer segments.

These agents make it their business to know virtually everything about their target audience and have chosen to focus their attention on a very specific niche and refer the rest. 

By doing so, these agents provide a much higher level of service to their clients and are far more satisfied with their overall businesses.

Just like attorneys, physicians, and financial gurus, agents in Box #3 find a niche and serve that niche masterfully. Consider Nordstrom and Starbucks when you think about Box #3 agents. They know their target audience and the provide a product AND experience that keeps them returning for more. 

They certainly aren’t always the cheapest, but the quality they offer is unmatched.

These professionals have earned a very loyal following, their customer service rankings that are off the charts, and they frequently choose NOT to retire because their careers are providing meaning, purpose, fun, and lifestyle options.

Moving from Box #1 to Box #3

Box #1 is not a bad place to be. It may have its appeal and brokerages tend to encourage agents to live in Box #1. Their perspective being that EVERYONE is a potential piece of business, so why specialize.

In fact, Box #3 can seem like a scary box to live in when you’re deep-seated in Box #1. But being a specialist opens the door to for agents to do what they love while making a living at the same time.

Do you like golf? Become THE EXPERT in Golf Course properties (assuming your market has golf course properties).

Love the water? Specialize in waterfront properties, boaters, and all things water (assuming you have water in your market).

Love the hip downtown vibe of urban revitalization? Learn all there is to know about it and spread the love!

Seniors Real Estate Institute

As for us, we are passionate about the more mature market segment. We enjoy helping longtime homeowners and their families with the challenges associated with retirement community moves and downsizing. We know the 55+ market and all that goes along with it. And there is far more than most agents ever imagined!

If you’re considering a move from Box #1 to Box #3, we would love to talk with you! We want to know your motivations, fears, concerns, questions, and reservations.

BTW… We’ve all had them and so let’s get them out in the open and EXPLORE the many possibilities allowing you to LOVE your career and your life again! 

Being Truly Different

To become a true expert and specialist serving the mature market, you don’t just show up for a weekend seminar and pay a few hundred bucks. 

Becoming an expert isn’t for everyone because it requires an investment of time, money, and effort. If you are TRULY dedicated to becoming the best agent for your clients, we encourage you to join the SREI community of experts and become a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP). 

Click here to go to the course page where you can get started today. 



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