What brand of milk do you drink? Find your niche and know your tools

Mortgage and Lending with Alterra Home Loans

What brand of milk do you drink?  When you go to the store, do you go to a specific store because they carry the brand of milk you want?  Can you even really tell the difference from one brand to the next - assuming you are drinking what you like (non-fat, 1%, 2% or whole)?  Like other commodities, milk is just something you buy regardless of brand; in fact, I doubt there is much brand loyalty at all when it comes to milk (or any other commodity for that matter) - you buy the milk that has the best price when you're shopping.  A car, on the other hand, is completely different.  Cars, especially luxury performance cars, are differentiated based on horsepower, torque, 0-60 times, top speed, the stereo they have, a long feature list, the kind of leather on the seats, the safety specifications, the warranty, and other things.  In the case of high-line cars, a higher priced vehicle is almost a reason to boast.  So the question is:  "How do you get your clients to think of you as a high-performance car where they are willing to pay anything as opposed to a gallon of milk where they just focus on the cheapest price?"

I believe the answer to this question is in niche marketing and knowing your tools.  I can't tell you how many Realtor websites I have seen where they claim to be an expert in every geographic area they can possibly serve, they claim to be the expert for the first-time home buyer as well as the seasoned investor and the custom home buyer as well.  While the Realtor in question may be very knowledgeable in most or all of these areas, I submit that focusing on one or two areas will provide an opportunity to make a believable case as an expert.  Furthermore, I visit Realtors everyday who aren't aware of some very valuable tools and strategies that either their own company offers or that I have been discussing for quite some time.  These are tools and strategies that can help set the agent apart from their competition either to get more listings or generate more loyal buyers.

If you are driving your dream car or if you just really like the car you drive, my guess is that you are more loyal to it than to the brand of milk you drink.  With very few loans available today, I must say that I'm a bit guilty of claiming to be an expert in just about everything related to lending - of course, there are conventional loans, FHA and VA - all of which have been around for a very long time.  There are a few other niche loans such as the Home Ownership Accelerator which has been around since the early 2000s and it is a great jumbo alternative and it's really good for people in the conforming conventional market who have 20-25% to put down.  By being knowledgeable about special loan programs (you don't have to sell the loan - we will), you might be able to capture more clients - and better clients.  You can learn about this great program by watching a five minute video here - this loan can be used to purchase homes. 

I have written a lot about the FHA 203(k) Streamline - you can check some of my past blog posts to learn more about this program and how it can help you attract more buyers and allow you to make offers on homes with less competition.  If you like technology - since you're reading this blog, I assume you do - you may find the Agent's Unfair Advantage to be a great tool.  You can learn about it here by watching the 12 minute video and then watch the video for the seller's unfair advantage here (it's 7 minutes).  The bottom line  is that it's always about what the buyers (or seller if you are a listing agent) perceives.  You may be the only agent who really does return every phone call, and gets the best price, and provides great all-around service but every agent is going to say they do that and the buyer (or seller) doesn't know until the transaction is closed.  When the client is through with the transaction will he or she remember it the way they do after they've had a glass of milk as an experience that is truly not memorable or are they going to remember it as if they've just driven an Aston Martn Vanquish or a Porsche 911 Twin-turbo?


Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments on the subject of choosing a niche and being an expert.  Thanks for reading.

Posted by

D. Jed Wunderli

Certified Mortgage Planner

Alterra Home Loans


Comments (2)

Joe Woutersz
HUNT Real Estate ERA - Queensbury, NY

I agree with your premise completely.  The challenge for all of us is differentiating ourselves from the herd.  There is a lot of talk in the real estate world revolving around teams,  and the principle advantage being exceptional customer service. 

Perhaps the next level would be stronger alliances between affiliate business.  You aluded to this with the agent's role in educating the consumer about your programs.  I have a CPA ,  attorney and mortgage broker I work with every day;  each of us pass referrals back and forth.  To me it's a strong selling advantage,  being able to talk to my clients about smooth transactions and powerfully talented alles. 

Jan 24, 2011 11:26 AM
Jed Wunderli
Alterra Home Loans - Las Vegas, NV

Excellent point - I work with estate planning attorneys, CPAs, an insurance agent and, of course, Realtors and I have a working knowledge of each profession but always look to refer clients to the experts whenever possible.  I always cross-sell my referral partners because I believe in them and beleive that they will provide my clients with the best service and expertise.

Jan 24, 2011 11:51 AM