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How to Market to First-Time Homebuyers

December 15 2013

This post comes to us from the Market Leader blogMarket Leader blog:

ml market 1st time buyersWhether you've decided to make working with first-time buyers your niche or you just need to diversify your funnel, you'll find no shortage of potential clients. Proof: Every homeowner was at one time a first-time buyer.

Where to Find First-Time Buyers

Finding any lead is akin to searching for that proverbial needle in a haystack. Narrowing the pool down to first-time homebuyers makes the search even more challenging. Some agents merely cast a wider net. After all, a buyer is a buyer, right?

If your preference is for the first-timer, however, let's take a look at some ways to fill your funnel with lots of leads. Don't poo-poo the tried and true, by the way – these methods still work.

  • Visit condo and apartment complexes and leave flyers or door hangers.
  • Walk condo and apartment complexes with door hangers.
  • Send mailers to past clients reminding them that you offer services to first-time buyers that other agents don't. You never know, these people may know someone who is thinking about buying her first home.
  • Hold first-time homebuyer seminarshomebuyer seminars. Deb Tomaro, who works with RE/MAX Acclaimed Properties in Bloomington, Ind., swears by them and says that not only does she pick up first-time homebuyers, but because of her seminars, these clients are better educated and require less hand-holding.
  • Rent space at wedding expos. A study published at InTouchToday claims that 65 percent of all newlyweds purchase a home within the first year of getting married. A Coldwell Banker study states that 35 percent of married adults bought their first home togetherfirst home together within two years of tying the knot.

An adjunct to this method is visiting bridal and formalwear stores and asking if you can leave flyers, and establishing relationships with wedding and party planners.

Your Website as Marketing Tool

The king of your marketing campaign will undoubtedly be your website. This is where you'll drive all of the leads you gather from other sources, so ensure that your site is as good as it can be. IDX is a given, of course, but high-quality, relevant content is also a must.

Relevant content addresses the first-time homebuyer's needs and questions. Their number one concern right now is that they are feeling squeezed by tight credit standards. According to CNBC's Diana Olick, in a normal market, first-time homebuyers represent 40 percent of the buying market. In September of 2013 that percentage fell to 28, a condition directly attributed to the challenge of obtaining a mortgage.

And those challenges may increase next year, according to Olick. "There is new concern in the lending industry that federal regulators could require mortgages to have a 30 percent down payment [next year] in order to be securitized without the lender facing 5 percent risk retention," she claims. "That could further exclude first-time and single homebuyers."

While these problems persist – and may worsen – for first-time homebuyers, their desire to purchase remains strong. Hit this problem head on by focusing the content on your website to address their needs:

  • Tips to clean up credit with an aim to getting a lower rate.
  • Guest blog posts from your favorite lender with advice on how to meet mortgage concerns.
  • Explanations of the various government loans that may help first-time buyers work around any new restrictions.
  • Information on down payment assistance programs, both on a state and federal level. Let website visitors know that you have sources to help them jump the down payment hurdle.

Once you have all these fresh first-time buyer leads, don't let go of them. They deserve a spot in your CRM and consistent follow-up. If you work it properly, it's a niche that will never let you down.