The Riches in The Niches I'm Finding In RCS-D / San Diego, CA

Real Estate Agent with Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 CA BRE# 01261476

The Riches in The Niches I'm Finding In RCS-D


I feel funny entering my own contest, but some insisted, so here I go...


Ironically, my July Contest: Your Riches Are In The Niches! was my entry in the May 2018 Contest hosted by Debe Maxwell, CRS: ActiveRain Challenges & Contest Ideas - What's Yours? 


Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor,


We were challenged to come up with a contest premise that would allow us to learn from others in The Rain. I thought to myself, “I have done this at least 5 times during my careers, why not see what others would do?” I was thinking of when I needed to specialize to survive. As a house painter I specialized in single story homes for a flat fee. Not because it was clever, but because I’m scared to death of heights and being on ladders over 12 feet tall.


I specialized in weddings as a mobile DJ and country line dance bars as a night club DJ; both highly competitive worlds of DJing. I became one of the most sought-after line dance DJs/instructors in the Bay Area from 1991-1997 and built a 28-year long career specializing in high-end weddings. Yep, this long-haired-rocker-extraordinaire secretly loves country musThomas J. Nelson, Realtor,ic and I in my hey-day, (when Garth Brooks was king), could dance & teach over 80 country line dances, 2-step, swing, waltz and West Coast Swing. I would travel from Oregon to Las Vegas and from San Francisco to San Diego to perform at weddings by referral and through top wedding coordinators.



As a REALTOR®, I first learned to specialize in 2007, when I listed my first short-sale- I had no business doing so but I was in survival mode, I had to close something. Ironically, I wouldn’t close that deREALTOR®al until 2009! At the behest of my long-time friend and real estate partner, Melissa Day, I joined her for a 2.5-year journey through Nouveau Riche University, an investor and distressed property college in Glendale, AZ at the Renaissance Resort Hotel. We would fly out to AZ 5-6 times per year and attend 12-hour days, 5 to 6-day, week long investor training.


Pre-foreclosures (dubbed Short Sales), Foreclosures, Auctions, Buy & Hold, Wholesale, Investing w/ 401K’s and IRA’s, Multi-door Investing, Property Management, Real estate Law, Real Estate Finance, “Landlording” and much, much more!



I became an absolute specialist in distressed properties and upgraded my 1980’s/1990’s investor knowledge to a more contemporary strategy. REALTOR®I got so good, other agents in my community would refer me their deals and just take a referral fee, they had no clue what they were doing. I literally survived 2007-2011 by this training and even bought two houses in 2007 as a result. I still live in one here in San Diego and rent the other out in The Bay Area. What tried to kill me, ended up making me stronger as a man, an entrepreneur and a REALTOR®.



None of this is my Riches in the Niches post though; it’s simply the back story. What all this taught me was whenever I was faced with market saturation or epic market depreciation, specializing has always saved my ass-ets. In 2018, I work harder as a REALTOR®, I work for less money and must (HAVE TO) have more skills now than ever before.



It’s not that my competition got better, it’s that our largely sellers market is saturated with 90% worthless fly by night agents discount brokers and a very naïve public that all have gotten used to our prolonged recovery since 2012. Add some opposition and many will vanish again.


For now, they thin out the business and I suppose just like in 2007, will one day bail on real estate when it becomes harder to earn business than to buy leads and sell homes - despite a lack of skills, experience and training; the Summer Soldiers. Once again they'll leave us Winter Patriots to clean up the mess again, as we did in '07-'12. 


We are the Winter Patriots to offset they're Sunshine Patriotism. I have mad-respect for anyone that was a REALTOR®pre-2006 and remained one through today or started in that era. We went through something few survived and we’re better agents for it. 


My current Riches in the Niches was born of Jason Gordon, the same man that inspired my biggest blog original blog post to date, Jason timed turning me on to getting my RCS-D designation with knowing I needed a new niche. (Real Estate Collaboration Specialist-Divorce).


Something, the average Summer Soldier agent would not want to tackle nor any Zillow, Redfin or Purple Bricks. I remembered how many agents bailed on short sales when you literally had to do them is you wanted to sell a house in 2007-2011.


Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor



So, I got to thinking, what is consistent, ugly like short sales and offensive to Millennials, shirkers and Summer Soldiers but because of my experience, easy for me to do? D-I-V-O-R-C-E as Tammy Wynette would sing in the year I was born. Yep, I have been divorced and I sell a lot of homes going through a divorce. I new the riches were in the niches, so I went to work with Jason’s help.


I bought the online course at Christmas 2017 and studied divorce for 2.5 months and graduated. I then was offered to take the class live by the professor, when she visited San Diego back in April 2018. I’d referred her so many students, she wanted to thank me. (Riches can = freebies too). I started calling on all my family law attorneys I networked with and sold homes to.



They saw the simple brilliance it offers; it was and continues to be a hit. It is being well received and is being rewarded with: referrals! It’s not easy, but nothing in the niches ever is. I meet with a lot of emotional people and sometimes my job is to show them how they can keep their house for all the right reasons. Other times it results in a listing with two very out of sorts adults acting like damaged kids.


Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor


But, here’s what I get to do work on and share:

  •         I help the house spouse keep the house based on informed decisions, not emotional ones.
  •         I help the out spouse get a decent buy-out; both making a better-informed property settlement.
  •         I help the attorneys fill the gaps in their case files and lower their risk of malpractice lawsuits.
  •         I offer a little bit of empathy; yep I lost property and custody in my divorce, I understand the pain of it on all levels.
  •         I help the divorcing homeowners and their attorneys avoid the 6 most common deadly assumptions that kill credit, destroy finances and damage lives.

I always want to recession-proof my business, which is why I run a 100% working by referral business model, I build and love on my relationships and I’m willing to roll up my sleeves and do the heavy lifting to mine the Riches In The Niches.


If you are interested in becomming an RCS-D, contact me and I'll refer you in so you get the TJ Nelson Red Carpet treatment from Professor Murray!

Posted by

REALTOR®, CRS, RCS-D, CDPE, ePro, Certified:Military Home Specialist,

Certified: Luxury Home Specialist Podcast Host, Author & Keynote Speaker


Brokered by Big Block Realty

Do You Know The Market Says Your Home is Worth?

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Disclaimer:  Nothing in this blog article is to be construed as legal advice, tax advice, medical advice or financial advice.  For legal advice see an attorney.   For tax advice, health or financial advice see a tax attorney, certified public accountant, or other qualified professional.

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Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Now, this is a WOW entry, Thomas! You and Sally K. & David L. Hanson have a lot in common with your niche and I'm sure have some of the better real estate stories that could fill a book in the future!

Great entry!

Aug 01, 2018 05:24 AM #1
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

Never heard of that organization or course....we have been members of the statewide organization for collaborative divorce here for years....and have taken the training as required, Sadly, it is not a method practiced well by lawyers who are advocates or understood by the general public,

Aug 01, 2018 05:32 AM #2
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

I do believe that divorce and property settlements are a rich niche in real estate. I know that there are agents specializing and your plan sounds like it would have much success, Thomas.

Aug 01, 2018 09:50 AM #3
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

DIVORCE seems like a pretty good niche, especially if you have some first hand experience.  Congrats on finding this niche.

Feb 20, 2019 08:17 PM #4
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Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor, ePRO, CRS, RCS-D

& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast
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