Information Reigns Supreme in the Quest to Capture First-Time Buyers

Posted on Sep 23 2016 - 12:16pm by Paige Tepping
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happy coupleWhen it comes to today’s first-time buyers, millennials are often in the spotlight—and for good reason. As the fastest growing generation, comprising 35 percent of all homebuyers (a number that’s continuing to grow), this is one demographic real estate professionals can’t afford to ignore. Born between 1980 - 2000, millennials are a force to be reckoned with at 92 million strong, far exceeding the Gen Xers and baby boomers that came before them.

Specific in their demands about how and where they want to live—in addition to the way they want to live their lives—millennials were a hot topic during the latest RISMedia webinar entitled, “First-Time Buyers: How to Capture and Convert into Clients for Life.”

Sponsored by PNC Bank and moderated by Verl Workman, founder & CEO of Workman Success Systems, the discussion made one thing clear: targeting first-time buyers (and millennials in particular) boils down to sharing relevant, high-quality content.

For Mark Ryan, owner of RE/MAX Victory and leader of the Mark Ryan Group in Dayton, Ohio, this is one of the main ways he and his team members differentiate themselves in the local market.

“When we meet people who have been through open houses, or have met with other agents, we are a clear choice when they see what we bring to the table,” said Ryan, who explained that he and his team members bring an entire folder of information with them when they arrive to show a home to prospective buyers. Full of information about the team, ABR one-sheets, a copy of the contract and a free copy of a PDF buyer book, Ryan and his agents arrive with more information than the typical agent. “Whether they read it or not, we go far and above.”

Cleve Gaddis, managing partner/broker, Gaddis Partners, RE/MAX Center, couldn’t agree more. Approaching the topic from a macro level, Gaddis stressed the importance of understanding what first-time buyers are looking for.

And that’s information.

“When it comes to first-time buyers, they want information. They want to learn on their own, so providing links and resources is critical,” said Gaddis. “By providing a ton of information, you’re offering them a comfort blanket that will allow them to move forward much faster.”

Taking this one step further, Gaddis noted that attracting first-time buyers is all about publishing informative articles on social media , targeting apartment communities, ensuring your sphere of influence and past clients know you work with first-timers, and making sure your website is attractive.

With a lot of opportunity on the buy side, Ryan noted the importance client reviews play in the process of attracting first-time buyers. “We focus on getting great reviews, and begin the process early on,” said Ryan, whose firm has earned all 5-star reviews. “A lot of people find us online, so we make sure our reviews are posted in as many places as possible, including Zillow, Trulia,®, Facebook, Yelp, etc. We also print reviews up for the literature that’s taken when we first meet a client.”

Ryan also stressed just how crucial it is to sell the team concept to buyers so that they understand they’re getting more specialized care during each step of the process. And last but not least, having a great relationship with a lender goes a long way, providing multiple points of value for the client.

While capturing and converting first-time buyers into clients for life begins with speaking their language and understanding what it is they want, Gaddis wrapped up the webinar by reminding attendees to know their numbers and be aware of special programs for first-time buyers.

“I talk to real estate agents all the time who are afraid to calculate payments for prospective buyers,” said Gaddis, a practice that can do more damage than good.

“As you’re out looking at homes, you need to be able to tell the client what the upfront costs will be, the amount they need to bring to the closing table and what they’re looking at for a monthly payment.”

And remember, just because millennial first-time buyers may struggle with student loan debt, it doesn’t mean they can’t buy. 

View the webinar in full here: