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How To Market to First Time Home Buyers

May 02 2011

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Fifty percent of all home buyers last year were first time buyers. This is the largest share we’ve seen of this segment in nearly 20 years. If you’re not actively marketing to this growing niche, you’re missing out on a key market.

Here are three quick tips for marketing to and gaining more business from this unique, shifting market.

Target Your Audience

The golden rule of advertising always applies: know your audience. First time buyers are typically renters in their 30s. To reach this demographic, apartment buildings and rental sites are logical starting points for your ads and mailers, etc. Want to get even more targeted?

Try focusing on newlyweds. 58 percent of first time buyers are married couples, according to NAR’s 2010 Survey of Home Buyers and Sellers. So consider ad messaging and imagery that would appeal to newlyweds or even networking and offering educational workshops at wedding expos. Single women are also another potential niche, making up 20 percent of home sales.

Avoid aggressive messaging. The important thing is to put yourself out there as a viable resource. Even if those prospects are not yet ready to buy, nurturing these connections can earn you mindshare among these potential buyers and result in future business down the road.

Educate

Unlike your other clients who have been through the home searching and buying process before, first time buyers need more information upfront about what to expect. While a wealth of information is available at their fingertips, even the savviest first time buyers will still need you to fill in the gaps and eventually interpret all that info. The key is to not overwhelm them with too much at one time.

Consider breaking up the info into a series of well-timed emails, newsletters or whatever format you like and take a drip marketing approach (think auto-responder). Package your content into a series of sequential communications that fall into a logical timeline, such as covering the spectrum from “Deciding to Buy” (finances and other factors to think about before looking) to “Making the Deal” (closing costs, offers and negotiations, etc.). Don’t forget to personalize your messages and vary the tone to be informal at first, and gradually more familiar as you build a rapport.

You can even pre-program these messages to be delivered over a specified period, giving buyers time to digest the information. Not only are you sharing valuable advice, but you are also getting your prospects familiar with you as a trusted expert.


Establish Trust

The most important thing is the relationship between you and your client, in which trust is paramount. First time buyers are no different. A home is one of the biggest and most emotional purchases they will make. They will look to you to keep them focused, well-informed and grounded throughout the process. This means not only educating them about the ins and outs of buying a home and patiently answering all their questions, but also providing insight on topics they don’t know to ask about. First time buyers also typically view more homes on average than repeat buyers, so exercise patience and don’t rush them into a decision.

First time buyers are a unique segment with their own perceptions and specific needs. Cater to their needs well now and secure repeat business in the future. Never forget: today’s prospects are potentially tomorrow’s clients.

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