Own your real estate niche: Q&A with Larry Nelson

In a sea of over 2 million real estate agents, how are you making a name for yourself? Carving out a real estate niche that combines your interests, experience and the local market can boost your credibility and business. We recently went one-on-one with Larry Nelson of Cornerstone Realty, Inc in Lakewood, CO to learn about his specialty.

Name:   Larry Nelson

Company:   Cornerstone Realty, Inc.

What is your real estate niche?  Acquisition and resale by providers of affordable housing and housing for people with disabilities

Experience with this specialty?  27 years

How did you get started with affordable housing and people with disabilities?  I worked in specialized lending for non-profits, government housing authorities and for-profit developers providing Section 8 multi-family housing and leveraged affordable homeownership programs.

Why is the affordable housing and disability niche important to the real estate industry? This niche is often overlooked by the real estate industry mainstream, as it involves more complicated transactions, multiple levels of leveraged funding and often lowers commissions due to the lower ultimate cost to the consumer of affordable housing products.  It is extremely important, however, as it helps provide a higher standard of living for the lowest end of the homeownership spectrum and rental housing and promotes the social goals of society and government.

How did you become an expert in this niche? I developed a network with the funding sources and providers of affordable housing – HUD, State Finance Authority, USDA, County and City community development agencies, City and County Housing Authorities, non-profit development corporations,  private and public funding organizations – foundations, mortgage assistance corporations,  lender CRA programs, state and local supportive and homeless initiatives.

How much business do you generate from your niche?  56.6% of gross income since 1987 or $69,150 annual average.


How do you market your expertise?  Continued networking within the affordable housing community.

Why do you enjoy working with affordable housing and people with disabilities?  The satisfaction of helping less fortunate and disabled homebuyers would be enough reward; however, the community of funding sources and housing providers has produced life-long friendships and support of like-minded individuals and organizations in achieving the goals of keeping homeownership available to our target markets.

What are the benefits of having a specialty vs. being an agent that is everything to everyone?  Income from this niche is somewhat dependent on program funding and fluctuating market conditions but the association with numerous individuals working in this field in non-Realtor industries, often provides an additional stream of income from helping those individuals buy and sell real estate for themselves.

What are some resources you use to stay in-the-know on your niche? Board membership in organizations we work with, participation in state and local workshops and continuing education provided by many organizations.


Want to be in the spotlight? 

We’re on the lookout for real estate agents and brokers who have carved out a real estate specialty and are generating great results from it. If this is you, simply fill out this form. If you fit our criteria, we’ll send you an email to get more information about yourself, and soon enough, you’ll be featured on our blog, in front of over 100,000 real estate professionals.



On the hunt for a specialty? Enroll in Niche Marketing: Narrow Your Focus. In this course you will:

  • Learn the history and fundamentals of the real estate marketing industry
  • Get tools to learn how to identify your niche market
  • Learn how to implement your niche marketing plan


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