How to Identify an Ideal Real Estate Customer

A real estate customer signing a mortgage with a golden fountain pen.

Jim Kimmons / Getty Images

There is a lot of discussion about marketing niches for the real estate professional. Do you want to work with just anybody, or do you want to focus on residential, commercial, first-time buyers, or vacation homes? If your niche is a first-time buyer, you have probably done more "ideal customer" identification than most real estate professionals.

However, if you have no specific niche or your niche is more a property type, such as the vacation/resort market, then you probably should spend some time actually analyzing the characteristics of your "ideal customer." Here are some questions you might ask yourself to get to the essence of an ideal client:

  • What brings them joy?
  • What are they worried about?
  • What challenges do they face?
  • What do they hope to gain from us?
  • What goals are they striving to attain?
  • What experience thrills them?
  • Where do they get their information?
  • Who do they trust most?

Thanks to DuctTape Marketing for these questions, as I couldn't have come up with a better list. Let's use vacation and resort homes as a niche, and ask ourselves these questions.

What Brings Them Joy?

As it's a vacation market, we would assume that it's enjoying carefree recreation in a nice setting. However, don't assume too much. Check what search terms they're using to arrive at your site. Pay attention to the sites and businesses that vacationers prefer in your area.

What Are They Worried About?

I might assume correctly that they would worry about making a smart purchase in an area far from their familiar home turf. They might be concerned about not buying a home that is overvalued, or selling too low. Again, I might want to ask some of them and check out what they're searching for in reference to the area.

What Challenges Do They Face? 

What about the unfamiliarity of the area, as they've only vacationed here? Shouldn't my website or blog give them lots of information about homes, the buying process, and how things may be handled differently here?

What Do They Hope to Gain From Us?

I definitely look at the annual National Association of Realtors survey of buyers and sellers. There are questions and statistics about precisely what our customers want from us. Then I would relate those broad questions to my vacation and resort niche.

What Goals Are They Striving to Attain?

In my vacation and ski resort area, they're looking for natural beauty, outdoor recreation, great restaurants, and a very pleasant experience away from their normal homes and work. Shouldn't I try to provide site information that helps them to identify those things in my area?

What Experience Thrills Them?

I think this is similar to the previous question. There is a great deal of exciting outdoor activity in an area with multiple ski destinations. But, there is also other outdoor fun, such as hiking and horseback riding. I try to identify them all and provide informational blog posts and videos on these topics. For many, it's a great regional cuisine menu at a fine restaurant. I profile them on my site.

Where Do They Get Their Information?

This is an easy one in today's world, and especially for an area far from their homes. The Internet is a major resource for those interested in vacationing and the possibility of buying a home in a resort area.

Who Do They Trust Most?

This is pretty much my opinion, but it's been validated by statements from my customers many times. Because they need a lot of area information, and because they use the Internet to get most of it, they trust those who provide this information freely on a website or blog. They don't like to be forced to register for what they consider basic information. They will learn to trust you through your website and give you their contact information for upgraded information and services.

Do this exercise with your niche and see what you come up with. Don't be shy about asking your customers these questions as they relate to your market and niche. Doing a good job of addressing these customer needs and desires on your website or blog should result in a steady stream of leads.