By Bob Corcoran
Overlook them at your peril.
“Them” in this case is younger, first-time home buyers. And if you ignore them in 2009, I predict you won’t have a very good year.
Why? Well, I and many other real estate industry experts believe that 2009 has so many strong incentives to buy a home that these younger, first-time buyers will simply have a hard time not buying. And, the statistics are proving this true. The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) reports first-time buyers accounted for 53 percent of all home sales in March. Traditionally, those buying a home for the first time make up 40 percent or less. NAR estimates that the tax credit will generate several hundred thousand additional purchases in 2009.
So, how do you reach these youngsters? Here are four tips to get you started:
1. Know who you’re targeting. I’m talking primarily about Generations X and Y, the newest wave of first-time home buyers now reaching the age where they are looking seriously at real estate. Gen X was born between 1965 and 1977 and Generation Y was born between 1978 and 1994 (in fact, it’s the first generation to grow up with the internet). Too young, you say? Hogwash. In fact, they’re the second-largest generation in the housing market - second only to Baby Boomers. And a 2008 survey from Century 21 shows they’re buying homes at a younger age than previous groups of buyers. They rarely leave home without their web-enabled cell phones and iPods, and they typically love social networking sites and any technology that lets them connect to the world, news and their family and friends. Generations X and Y are where fortunes of the next 20 years lie.
2. Stock up on interactive software. As much as I believe in the phone, these younger buyers prefer the computer. Specifically, they expect websites to be interactive – they want to take a virtual tour of homes and view lots of photos, they want to get a feel for the neighborhood and city via the internet and they expect a lot of useful, pertinent information at a click. They want instant gratification via the internet. And if your site doesn’t provide it, they’ll go elsewhere in a hurry. So have a form that lets them request wish list items and have a mortgage calculator so they can see how little an upgrade will affect monthly payments. In short, give buyers interactivity at every turn on your website.
3. Know your SEO (search engine optimization). Your website can be the best, interactive site in the world with all the right tools, but if no one sees it, it might as well not even exist. How does it get seen? Search engines. Google, Yahoo, MSN/Live and Ask.com are a few of the top ones. Take time now to submit your website’s url to them: Google: http://www.google.com/addurl/ ; Yahoo!: http://submit.search.yahoo.com/free/request/ ; and MSN Live: http://search.msn.com/docs/submit.aspx. This is only a start so learn as much as you can about SEO.
4. Reallocate your ad budget. Old habits are hard to break and I bet many of you have a habit of renewing your ad budget from year to year. Well, things have changed and eyeballs aren’t where they used to be – namely print. Many agents and brokers are now spending money where other smart business people are spending theirs: online. Specifically, electronic billboards, banner ads, e-mail marketing and even spots on YouTube. And now pay-per-click campaigns are proving to be a cost-effective option for those without larger ad budgets – you only pay when a user clicks on your ad.
Yes, it’s a whole new ball game out there and to survive, you need to recruit the new players – younger buyers. Start with these tips and you’ll have a good start at winning the game!
Bob Corcoran is a nationally recognized speaker and author who is founder and president of Corcoran Consulting Inc. CorcoranCoaching.com, 800-957-8353. Sign up TODAY for your complimentary business consultation. http://www.CorcoranCoaching.com/bpw.php