Real Estate Specialties You Should Know About

For real estate agents, choosing an area of focus — or real estate specialty — is a lot like choosing a major in college. Selecting a specialty lets you determine what type of transactions and properties you want to support. Below, we’ll explain the most common residential and commercial real estate specialties. 

Common Real Estate Specialties

Common Real Estate Specialties

Residential Homeowner

Residential agents focused on buyers help home shoppers search for their ideal property. Their job is to set expectations, find listings that match their buyer’s wants and needs, and manage the buying process from house hunting to close. 

Residential Investment

These agents work with investors as their primary buyers. Investment transactions operate differently than residential transactions because investors have very different goals. Rather than searching for a home to live in, investment buyers want a home with money-making potential. This can mean homes in areas with high rental demand or homes begging for a flip and a quick re-sale.

Commercial Sales

These agents sell properties like office buildings, industrial and retail spaces, planned urban developments, or PUDs. A PUD is a mixed-use development that integrates open spaces, commercial, and residential properties into one project.

Commercial Leasing

Instead of selling buildings and developments, agents lease or rent these spaces. These agents look for tenants to occupy offices, industrial spaces, PUDs, and retail establishments. 


Experts at selling farm and ranch listings, these agents are well-versed in the needs of buyers seeking a property with land. These agents have to communicate specific details unique to agricultural transactions. This includes things like what equipment will convey in the sale, how to access utilities, and so on.

Property Manager

Homeowners hire property managers to manage a residential investment property. Property managers collect a monthly fee in exchange for services, which include standard upkeep and responding to tenant issues and maintenance requests. They are also responsible for collecting rent and making sure the unit remains occupied.

Residential Leasing or Apartment Broker

These agents help place tenants in rental properties by working with renters to identify their wants and needs and provide listings that are a strong match. The goal is to get the renter committed to a lease at a property that’s a good fit for their needs and budget.

Short Sale, Foreclosure, or REO Specialist

A property becomes distressed when the owner isn’t paying the mortgage or property tax on time — often due to financial struggles, bankruptcy, or divorce. One or more of the following things can happen to a distressed property:

  • It’s sold via a short sale, which means the owner sells their home for less than the mortgage value as a last-ditch effort to get out from under mounting debt.

  • It’s foreclosed, meaning the lender legally regains ownership of the property connected to a defaulted loan and sells it. 

  • It’s listed as an REO or real estate owned property. This happens when a mortgage lender repossesses a foreclosed home but they are unable to sell it. 

In all the above cases, the home sells for less than its value, making it a lucrative opportunity for experienced investors and buyers. Specializing in one or all of these types of home sales requires a vast knowledge of complex legal procedures.

Unimproved Land

These agents sell plots of land with no frills. The land typically isn’t set up for utilities (electricity, water, phone, internet), and it may not even be accessible by road. Handling unimproved land sales requires very specific legal knowledge. 

Becoming an expert in a real estate specialty can put you on the fast track to success. We hope the overview provided above helped give you direction on what specialty or specialties you’re interested in focusing on as you build your real estate career. 

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