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How to make your real estate business matter

While food carts may be a fad, all business models have elements of following fads – it’s called taking advantage of the market, and it can pay well.

make your business matter

make your business matter

A Food Cart Analogy

On a recent trip to New York City, I became enthralled with a food cart that was located next to our hotel. I know that food trucks and food carts are en vogue right now, but this one was something to see. No matter what time I left the hotel and no matter what time I returned, there was always a line. At one point, I counted 58 people in line.

This particular food cart sold Halal food and had about six items on the menu, the most expensive of which cost six dollars. But what intrigued me was not the taste (although the food was pretty yummy) but the fact that there are hundreds of Halal food carts in New York City, and this was the only one with a significant line.

What was it that made the people line up around the block? And, what could I learn about how to improve my real estate business from the success of this cart? (By the way, I made a mental calculation that this single cart grosses about $140,000 per month).

Here’s what I came up with:

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  1. You need to give people what they want and what they need. Passersby at 53rd and 6th Avenue wanted affordable and tasty food that is prepared in a New York minute. In California, Arizona, Nevada, Florida and other states, there are still many unemployed and underemployed borrowers that may need to sell their homes in a short sale. Any areas of the US and beyond that have a high foreclosure rate will have lots of people looking for rentals. So, property management and short sale expertise are two niches that could be almost as successful as the Halal cart.
  2. Word of mouth is vital. I didn’t see too much going on in the way of food cart advertising. Most people probably visit this food cart because they hear that the food is great. As Realtors®, we need our past clients, our friends and our family to spread the word.
  3. Volume business trumps high-end almost every day of the week. The cart was selling a six dollar items and likely grossing $140,000 per month. Why not take that philosophy to the streets? You don’t have to go after all of the multi-million dollar listings; after all, in most parts of the US, there are less buyers for that market. Why not focus on a price point where there is a huge demand and homes can get sold quickly?

There are probably lots more things that can be learned from the business model of the Halal cart. And, if you are heading to Manhattan anytime soon, check it out and let me know what you think. It’s at the corner of 53rd and 6th Avenue.

Sidebar: I actually investigated on Google and learned that it 2006, someone was actually killed for cutting the line. Last lesson learned: never take cuts.

Written By

Melissa Zavala is the Broker/Owner of Broadpoint Properties and Head Honcho of Short Sale Expeditor®, and Chief Executive Officer of Transaction 911. Before landing in real estate, she had careers in education and publishing. Most recently, she has been able to use her teaching and organizational skills while traveling the world over—dispelling myths about the distressed property market, engaging and motivating real estate agents, and sharing her passion for real estate. When she isn’t speaking or writing, Melissa enjoys practicing yoga, walking the dog, and vacationing at beach resorts.



  1. Kappymann

    July 3, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    Good job Melissa. Thanks for the reminders. Will try to incorporate these in my business.

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