Are you in a Big City or Small City & Why? Comment Below

25 Replies

I am currently looking at the Pros & Cons in being a realtor in a small market vs. a Big market like Houston, Texas. Please comment if you are in a Big or small market and why? 

I love the idea of being a realtor in a small market, because you can sort of get into being a big fish in a small pond, and get to where everybody in the town knows you are a good realtor. Also, the town is where I graduated from and played ball, so I have a good presence in the area.

I also love the idea of starting back home in a big market like Houston, and taking advantage of different areas. Dominate and establish a presence in one area and start expanding out into the city. Big market= more houses/people

Big market = lots of competition and people already doing much of what you can find on here. I live in a smaller market and I've thought about getting my Realtors license for the purpose of working this area because many real estate pros are much more old school and not as up to date on some of these strategies. At the same time, the clientelle aren't either. I find its much harder in the midwest to suggest seller financing options because its a change in ways for many and they don't feel comfortable with that. 

Personally I'm in a big market (St Louis) and wouldn't have it any other way. For me reasons include: better able to be a niche salesperson e.g. investors, in a metro area with a lot of opportunities to expand e.g. property management, loving the unique character of the region e.g. historic homes, wide variety of unique amenities, FOOD, and I've put in a lot of hours getting to know the local market.

Small towns may have opportunity to dominate the market pretty quickly, but it also doesn't take many agents to oversaturate. A big part of RE is knowing your local market. I'd ask what growth opportunities you see in both markets? Agents work in a commission-based world, so if most properties command low prices or take months to sell it may be challenging to make it in a small town.  It sounds like you're tempted by both scenarios and like both locations, but there are a few questions I'd still ask myself.

1) What brokers are there and how much will they help me learn about my market (I'd recommend meeting with multiple brokers in both locations if possible). Do I see brokers I'd be comfortable working for, at least to start?

2) What network do I have in place or can I easily develop to find opportunities.

3) Do I need a different style in either location e.g. more online presence, doorknocking that is a better fit for my personality.

4) Resiliency. RE is cyclical, but some markets can also suffer for a variety of reasons e.g. big employer closing, changing commodity prices. Are there any reasons to be concerned in either market?

@Steven J. Wonderful response. Thanks Maggie, as I said above yes I do feel like I could take advantage of the small market initially, but I would have to think what would be the ceiling in that area and whether or not I see myself living there longterm. Those are great questions that I will have to consider. Thanks 

Small markets are already dominated by someone who probably grew up there, has been in business for years, and knows everyone.

Also in small markets you are going to be selling houses for a lot less. Here in Houston, you're likely to be selling homes for $200,000+. In a small market, you're more likely to be selling homes for $75,000 to $125,000.

Copied from www.2 Census 

MSAs, PMSAs, and NECMAs are categorized in one of the following levels based on total population: Level A Areas of 1 million or more Level B Areas of 250,000 to 999,999 Level C Areas of 100,000 to 249,999 Level D Areas of less than 100,000 CMSAs, by definition, have populations of 1 million or more.

I'm in the upper end of Level C and lower end of Level B, actually that's the city, the MSA is Level B or the "farm area". 

Born here, big enough that no one player holds all the cards, small enough to be known where it counts. Small enough to know the area like the back of my hand. One lady said to me, oh, I live on Grant, north of Chestnut in a two story. Later she said she was diagonally across from a bus stop that her kids used. Then I said, oh, you're in the home with the carthage stone retaining wall, with a wrap around front porch, white with a black roof and a stain glass window in the top gable. Her chin almost hit the floor, how did you know that?

That's what 50 years of running around town shows you.

Grow where you are planted!  :)    

First of all good job at Texas State I went to UT when your bro was killing it.  I think you have a small celebrity Status in San Marcos you can play off and San Marcos is a cool place to live.  That being said if you're goal is to make as much money as possible Houston is the way to go 100%.  There's just a lot more money there and if you're good you can get a real piece of an ENORMOUS pie. I actually do a lot of business in Austin, but moving my operation to Houston this year. (Guys over there doing exactly what I do here are making 4x more money than I am now, so i'm headed that way) .  Good luck man!  It'll take you a few years to get to your bro's Salary, but you can pass him up long term.

@Bill Gulley Haha nice story. Thanks for the insight...

@Baltazar Camacho Wassup man! Always good talking to my Bobcats or Longhorn grads. Yea I think I'm pretty much sold on the idea of being in Houston. I love the big city and want to live here longterm. Yea thats actually the goal, He knows he will be needing me to help with some of his investments pretty soon. PM me, would love to network with you and pick your brain on the business.

If I ever move, I'll be down in San Marcos, I don't love everything about Texans, but I love San Marcos, reat little town close enough to San Antonio for anything you need or want. Love college towns and lakes, it's all there. Grab a tube and hit the loop with the kids, great time! :)

Originally posted by @Bill Gulley :

If I ever move, I'll be down in San Marcos, I don't love everything about Texans, but I love San Marcos, reat little town close enough to San Antonio for anything you need or want. Love college towns and lakes, it's all there. Grab a tube and hit the loop with the kids, great time! :)

 Loved my Time there great city! 

@Michael Orakpo  NOPE  but I am building homes in San Antonio and have been to dallas and Houston were I fund fix and flippers.. plus I once drove from Jackson MS to Albuquerque NM  once and went over land... Not much of Texas interest me personally from a visual or beauty of the land stand point.. but thats because I was raised in Northern CA and live in the northwest.. were scenery is the name of the game..I just have a problem in any area were I can't see a mountain range in the distance so I get my bearings just too flat.. but again thats just me.   Plus I like crystal clear water not brown water which is what I have seen in the lakes there. Our lakes are spring and Snow melt fed.. 

But I like Texas for making money and I guess since I don't have to live there thats all I need to know.  I just sold one of my oregon New builds to a couple from Dallas they said they could not take the heat anymore... So they went the other extreme and bought one of my Oregon Coast specs.. Where it rains 8 months out of the year  LOL.

@Jay Hinrichs Understood. Although Dallas & Houston which are much alike, is nothing like SM/Austin area I could see what you mean. I lived in Colorado also, so I totally understand what you are saying. With that being said I love Texas, not a huge tourist State but great place to live IMO. 

@Michael Orakpo  just looked this up on the map... Yup  not my cup of tea.. It looks basically like San Antionio were we are building.  But my comments are STRICTLY my personal taste of preferring mountainous regions over flat.  For instance I could NEVER live in Florida.. I am in Maui right now and I like it here.. big moutains beautiful seas warm weather.. 

Also on the clients that moved from Dallas to Seaside Orygun.. the wife ask me ( hey does it rain much here) I was not there agent just the builder developer.. I said well did your agent not go over this with you ?  and or did you not even check it out on line ?  people come to Orygun in July Aug Sept fall in love .. then reality hits.

Just like folks probably go to Texas in the shoulder months when its nice weather only to thing what the heck from July through Sept.  

Best weather in the world in my mind though is were I lived in the Napa Valley loved it there... 4 seasons not to hot not to cold.. great place.. 

Now on to your original question.. I started my RE career in a small county in Northern CA  called Lake Co. you can google it.. huge lake in the middle of the county terrain goes from 1200 ft MSL to over 7,000... town I lived in lakeport was 3,500 county pop was under 50k.. I was the number one salesmen in the county for the 7 years I lived there.. It was great.. I did well because I worked the entire county not just the city of Lakeport like many agents did.. Also I specilized in Land deals be it ranch's Timber Ag.. and some development.... But after time it was just to small of a place and you really are limited in income. So I moved to Palo Alto CA.. were the Real estate in the mid 80s was very expensive 300 to 5 million. and average sale price in the 600k range.. but competitive .. did Ok there but I really met some great folks and started to get into bigger development deals. Culminating with Lake Wildwood Estates 540 lots that I was project manager on.. 

So from humble small town and county to doing bigger deals just a progression. Real estate is if nothing always changing markets change times change economies change so my advice is stay loose.. focus but do not be afraid to take a risk on another area .. Like the one poster who is moving to Houstan from Austin he thinks he can do way better.

then you have the other poster who has 400k profit deals in 6 months.. ( some sort of value add or developement most likely.. )

This is a great industry and a great career that you can sink your teeth into and do for your lifetime.

Best of luck in what ever you chose

Originally posted by @Michael Orakpo :

@Jay Hinrichs Great Response Jay Thanks 

@Jared Watson Sounds too good to be true, would love to hear the numbers if you don't mind. 

 The location and final product are obviously a huge factor in achieving those numbers but more importantly, I think I have the formula to take average deals and make them extremely safe and profitable. 

I'm in agreement with most of the posters on Houston TX. BIG ops there.

My preference is BIG city. It's more of a personal ppreference. I love city life; growth and expansion, new residential construction (multi and single family market), networking groups galore (plenty of places to meet new people everyday to add to your network) and a neverending stomping ground for business.

You can carve a niche in a big city. Modern homes and newbies from other major cities are my thing for 2016.

Wishing you the best! Cheers!!

Originally posted by @Justin Kane :

its simple 

hotter the market= the more competition = more work = higher rewards

warm market = possible little competition = less work = mild returns + more deals

 Still waiting for your answer to the question? Lol

well my response was intended to help you identify your own pathway..

I would test the markets you are interested in first and then find your own pathway

focus on the things you are good at and delegate the rest. If you can not find an answer then I suggest doing some more self searching and learn what you can offer and what area may need your particular skill set before going in any direction

I am in a big city. With something like 10,000 transactions a month in our metro area, it is much easier to grab a tiny piece of that pie than someplace that has a small amount of transactions.