Hot Niches Worth Exploring

If your career path is looking a little rocky, it may be time to branch out.

April 1, 2010

Consider these specialties that are doing well even in these tough times.

Tenant representation. "Tenant representation is somewhat sheltered from the ups and downs of the economy," says Tim O’Brien, CCIM, SIOR, president of Resource Commercial Real Estate in Indianapolis. "There are always leases expiring so if you have some good accounts, it helps to build an annuity-like component into your business."

Tenant representation is also hot these days because many tenants are renegotiating early to capture lower rents or reduce overall space.

Auctions. "The auction structure helps set a property apart in a crowded marketplace and gives brokers another sales tool to close transactions more rapidly," says Michael Fine, CCIM, principal of Fine and Co. in Chicago. Brokers large and small are adding auction divisions or forming alliances with auctioneers.

You can also earn a fee from an auction company if a client you’re working with purchases at auction.

Receiverships. "There are so many properties nearing foreclosure that it will be like drinking out of a firehose if you’re a receiver," says J. Benjamin McGrew, CCIM, CPM®, president of Managewest Inc., in Sacramento, Calif. Receivers need to blend legal and reporting skills with market knowledge to reposition, lease, or sell a foreclosure.

Student housing management. As echo boomers and workers looking for retraining enter college at increasing rates, student housing, especially at community colleges, is expanding to keep pace, says Eric Luskin, CPM®, principal and senior vice president with student housing specialist The Scion Group LLC in Chicago.