Opportunities with the New Generation
Friday, March 09, 2012
By Michael Ussery
While the Orlando housing market has had its challenges these last several years, it hasn’t been all bad news. With the decrease of property values and sales prices, the door has been opened to many first-time homebuyers who may not have been able to previously afford a home.
It is true that lending criteria has gotten much stricter, but there are still many assistance programs available to the younger generation. In addition, FHA loans now have a low interest rate and smaller downpayment percentage requirements that help many young buyers make their dreams of homeownership become a reality.
I believe it is important that we all diversify our streams of business, and that many REALTORS® would benefit in serving first-time homebuyers. Steps you can take to get started include:
- Creating marketing campaigns that will catch the attention of those new to the industry and will increase your leads and revenues.
- Becoming knowledgeable about loan programs and guidelines so that you will be able to provide information regarding downpayment and credit even before you are asked.
- Being open to meeting with buyers’ family and friends and inviting them to share in the process. Making the experience as positive as possible for the buyer could mean generating leads for you.
- Creating a new-homebuyer package that details the process, expectations, time frames, and closing experience. Your value to the buyer increases with the amount of information you share. You can find information about the homebuying process for a consumer audience through many online sources. For example, Realtor.com offers five tips for young homebuyers: establish good credit habits and favorable credit history; start saving for a downpayment and closing costs; read some books; research where you’d like to live; and tap into your real estate agent relatives for advice.
It is also important that you keep in mind the technical savvy of young homebuyers. This segment of buyers does exhaustive research on the Internet, so it is imperative that you maintain a web presence. (In fact, according to ORRA's 2011 Profile of Orlando Homebuyers and Sellers, 87 percent of all buyers used the Internet for the home-search process.) And, be sure to make use of tech tools such as digital cameras to help young homebuyers relate to their first home-buying experience.
The growing first-time homebuyer market offers opportunity for both professional and personal rewards. First-time homebuyers are apt to share their experiences with those in their social media circles, which can be a great source of lead generation. They also tend to be both highly enthusiastic and very grateful for the work you do on their behalf.
Michael Ussery, Keller Williams at the Parks, is a member of the ORRA Market Diversity Subcommittee. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.