Should A Real Estate Agent Be A Specialist Or Generalist?

Updated: Mar 22

Some property agents like to specialise in a particular form of property, or in specific districts - others like to take a more general approach.

But for a new property agent, which approach is better?

Here are the key considerations:

Should Property Agents Specialise or Be Generalist
Weighing the pros and cons of segment specialisation and generalisation

The Main Differences Between Specialisation And Generalisation

Specialists in the property market tend to focus on a given area or property type. Examples include commercial property, landed properties, a given district, or resale flats. Generalists tend to take a more holistic approach, and market a wide range of properties.

There are pros and cons to both sides of this.

For a new property agent however, deciding which approach to take boils down to:

- Your existing knowledge and experiences

- The first few sales you close

- Whether you can survive greater volatility

- The nature of your colleagues and mentor

- Your marketing / prospecting methods

1. Your existing knowledge and experiences

If you already have prior knowledge or experience in a specific area, it makes sense to start from there.

For example, say your previous job was in mortgage loans, and you've already worked with a lot of private, non-landed (read: condo) buyers.

Chances are, you already know more about condo projects, their developers, and their buyers. You may even have existing contacts. It would make sense for you to start by focusing on this area, instead of trying to dive into, say, industrial properties.

Incidentally, unless you're a complete foreigner, there's no such thing as a Singaporean with totally no background in the property market.

You surely have a better understanding of the neighbourhood you live in, or grew up in, than most other people - even this can be sufficient grounds to specialise.

It helps to know, for instance, that the minimart downstairs sells the cheapest rice and spices we'll ever find in Singapore; or that it's better to get a unit a bit further from the nearby school due to morning traffic.

So consider the depth of your existing knowledge and experience; if it's enough, you may want to start by specialising in those areas (you can branch out later).

2. The First Few Sales You Close

The first few sales can have a formative impact on your career, and decide how you'll go forward. Sometimes, it's these first sales - rather than a conscious decision on your part - that determine whether you'll specialise in something.

First, your reputation and initial connections are often made from these initial sales. For example, if you find a lot of initial success in renting out retail spaces, you may be seen as a specialist in this, whether you intend to be or not.

Your contacts - such as previous clients - may start telling others that you got them a great retail space (thus prompting more business of this sort).

Second, you have "broken the egg" in these fields. That is, you've found something that works for this segment of the market; perhaps a successful technique for finding resale flat buyers, or having a spot-on pitch for expatriate tenants.