There were no big surprises with the National Association of Realtor’s Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report 2017. The good news is, that although online searches continue to dominate as the first step in purchasing a home, real estate agents still play a vital role in the home buying and selling process. The report also provides some insight to assist in improving your marketing plan.
The Starting Point
Younger generations are not only starting their home searches online, but also finding the home they ultimately purchase. It is not millennials with the highest percentage as one might expect. Instead it is those aged 37 to 51 leading at 47 percent with millennials aged 36 and younger a close second at 40 percent. 99 percent of those 36 and younger depended on websites for their home searches which means upping your online presence with well presented listings is a good idea.
Buyers also cited images and property details high on their list of priorities when searching online. Again, no big surprise here. It just stresses the fact that you should budget for professional images to appeal to the large group of people who will be viewing the home digitally.
Giving them some options to make it easier to view the home such as 3D, walk-thrus and video also help. However, video was quite low on the list of helpful features at just 26 percent. Virtual tours and floor plans came in with twice as much interest at 50 and 55 percent respectively. This means you should try to provide a floor plan if you can, especially an interactive option that allows people to click the rooms and view the images.
You also want to make sure you have concise information about the property, so they can get an idea of what the home is like at a glance. Being able to see everything they need and moreso expect, will encourage them to do a physical visit of the home or reach out to you to discuss next steps.
For those 71 and older, going directly to an agent is their first step. This means you want to have some means in place other than the internet to help them find you. Direct mail still works. If you know the area and/or have a good SOI, some affordable post cards hand delivered, and even hand signed, might not be a bad idea for older clients.
Referrals still rule as the best way to gain new clients. In fact, 74 percent of those 36 and younger said they are most likely to ask a friend, neighbor or relative for a referral. That is 10 percent higher than the overall average. This number has risen from those who said they found their real estate agent through a friend last year.
The most important quality people look for in an agent is honesty and close to 70 percent end up hiring the first agent they interview for all age groups. Make sure you have a listing presentation you can personalize for their listing and provide lots of information to back up your credibility including testimonials, comps and an overview of your marketing plan.
A commonality for all age groups is the fact that they would either recommend their own agent to someone they know, or use them again themselves. You do not want to lose this business due to attrition. Using lifestyle newsletters is a great way to stay in touch. Use your calendar to target special seasonal events from Valentine’s Day to Christmas as the perfect way to share folksy, but useful information. You can also send selling or buying tips, and other seasonal information such as home maintenance tips that will be useful to your first time home buyers.
Clearly digital viewing has become the norm while the good old fashioned referral continues to be your number one resource for new clients. This means you have to pursuit the highest quality images for your listings in hand with having a strong keep in touch marketing plan using newsletters and other methods to remain top of mind.