Time to Get Smart

by MAR Staff | Dec 19, 2012

By Barry Quarles, President of Market Enhancement Group, Inc. (MEG)
 
One of the trends we’re closely following at MEG Research is the changing demographics of home buying and ownership. As the demographics are changing, REALTORS® also must change or run the risk of becoming obsolete and irrelevant.
 
Changing Demographics

By 2015, 80% of the participants in the residential real estate market will be either Gen-X (classified as born between 1965-1979) and Gen-Y (born after 1980) buyers and sellers. These two groups share differing characteristics than the generations before them.
  • They’re impatient. They want answers NOW!
  • They’re technologically savvy.
  • They’re much more socially connected.
Our research has consistently shown that buyers and sellers in these two categories have started the sales process long before they’ve contacted an agent. Gen-X and Gen-Y clients have typically used all the tools at their disposal to research neighborhoods and comps and they’ve started checking out potential agents through recommendation sites like Yelp and through friends on Facebook. By the time they select an agent they know what they want. But according to our studies, REALTORS® are lagging far behind their customers when it comes to using smart technologies. So what can you do to reach these two generations of buyers and sellers? Here are some tips:
 
Be Actively Engaged in Social Media
 
Younger and newer agents understand this intuitively because social media is part of their daily routines. Older agents have a harder time, but need to learn to use it on a consistent basis to reach potential buyers and sellers.
 
Respond Quickly
 
Younger buyers are impatient. When they reach out they want instant answers. More than two thirds of buyers say they’re dissatisfied with REALTOR"S® response times. If REALTORS® don’t learn to respond quicker than they ever have, they’ll lose.
 
Use All of Your Marketing Tools
 
Marketing today is different than it was just a few years ago. Smart agents today are using a variety of different methods. E-mail newsletters, Facebook ads, pay-perclick advertising and direct mail–the choices are endless. The successful REALTOR® needs to look at all avenues–electronic and traditional–to reach the younger buyers.
 
The marketplace is changing and the bottom line is that if REALTORS® don’t change as well, they risk becoming obsolete in the selling process.