With talk of extending and expanding the tax credit for first-time homebuyers in a number of ways, now is a great time to hone your skills in dealing with this particular type of client. With the way the market is heading, I believe that the first-time and younger buyers who’ve been waiting on the sidelines will finally make their way into the market. Are you ready to help them?
You might be saying, “no,” simply because of your age. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports the median age of Realtors is 52, but the median age of buyers is 39. NAR also reports first-time buyers accounted for 39 percent of the home purchases in 2007 and 68 percent of these buyers were under 35 and 89 percent were under 45. This means you older agents will have to get with the program if you want to work with these folks. Here are a few tips to help you position yourself to work more effectively with these younger buyers.
1. Be an educator. Too many agents are what I call “Pop Tart” agents. They get a call from a prospective buyer and they pop right up and go show homes. Hold on a minute and get to know these first-time buyers. They’re already a little tentative and skeptical because of all the bad news they’ve heard about the real estate market. No one wants to feel pushed into something. Educate them on the basics of home buying and all the advantages of homeownership versus renting to alleviate their anxieties and get them on your side.
2. Get them pre-qualified for a mortgage. Another way to relieve their anxiety is to get them pre-qualified. First, it saves you a lot of time, but it also shows the buyers where they are financially and what they can actually afford. But be aware that they’ll face more scrutiny in light of all the hubub in the lending industry, and approvals are only lasting about 30 days.
3. Get more web savvy. As you might guess, the younger generation does practically everything online. Most of them actually grew up on it, so make sure your site and listings can be easily found on the Web via search engines. Also know that it’s likely they’ve spent a lot of time researching homes on the Internet before they ever talk to you. Plus, they like communicating via the phone, not only talking but also texting. If you haven’t learned how to text message on your cell phone, you better get to it.
4. Understand their motivation. NAR reports younger buyers buy primarily because they want to own their own home or establish a new household. Seventy-four percent reported this as their primary reason to purchase. Thus, in marketing to first-time homebuyers, focus on the American dream of owning a home versus the downside of renting.
5. Understand their nuances. Every generation has little quirks and the younger generation certainly has theirs. For one, they’re more casual. This doesn’t mean you should wear jeans, but be careful not to overdress. They also tend to like things done quickly and efficiently. They’ve grown up in the push-button era – you want something, just push a button and it’s there, fast. So take out any wasted space and time in your presentations and be able to complete the sale as quickly as possible. Also, have monthly payments factored out with maybe three or four different scenarios. You might even consider an annualized plan – how much the home will cost them in a year.
The key is to always listen closely to their needs, verify what you heard and then act accordingly. Follow these steps and you’ll do great. Best of luck to you!
Bob Corcoran is a nationally recognized speaker and
author who is founder and president of Corcoran Consulting Inc. (CorcoranCoaching.com, 800.957.8353), an international consulting and coaching company that specializes in performance coaching and the implementation of sound business systems into a broker or agent’s existing practice. Visit CorcoranCoaching.com/bpw.php for a complimentary consultation.
Copyright 2009 Agent Publishing LLC