To get a clear picture of what many first time home buyers consider important in their home search and purchase, we need to step into their shoes and see the process from their point of view. We can’t see into their minds, but there are some facts that can help us to understand their concerns and motivations:
- This purchase will most likely be the largest they have ever made in the past and will make in the near future.
- They are often in their first job or early in their careers, possibly somewhat unsure of the stability of their employment.
- A lot of online research has already been done before they ever meet you in person.
- After the crash in 2006 forward, they’ve seen relatives lose their homes or suffer through equity loss, so they want to buy something that will gain value over time.
- If buying an existing home, there are concerns about buying a home with condition or structural problems.
- How much should a first offer be, as everyone wants a bargain, but they do not want to make an offer mistake.
- They want to avoid making an affordability mistake, wanting to understand the costs of ownership as well as purchase.
- Many will be hesitant about working with a real estate professional at first, fearing that they are being “sold to” instead of helped in the process.
What will help first time home buyers to trust their Realtor? How do we attract them with marketing to get in touch? Even more targeted, how to work with first time home buyers is what we need to know.
TMI, They Have Too Much Information
The Internet has changed our business like it has many others. The average first time home buyer today has done a lot of research online. We know that much of what they find in searches is not necessarily good or accurate information, but they don’t know that.
Strategy #1: Be an Online Local Market Expert
Your online presence by nature will be providing a lot of the same information as other websites, but you should present it with more authority. When you make a statement in an article/blog post about understanding title insurance, back it up with actual quoted segments of a title insurance binder. Even better, offer a real life transaction binder via email to show them what they’re going to see. Scrub private info and set up a form for the offer, and you’ll get first time home buyer leads.
They're Often Wandering Online in Search of Relevant Information
Sure, there are articles and blog posts on almost every real estate professional’s website that are targeted at first time home buyers. However, they’re all over the place, maybe even at a navigation tab at a website once they find it. They’re spending hours in searches to get a few questions answered, and often getting conflicting information.
Strategy #2: Create a First Time Home Buyer Destination
This can be a dedicated niche website, a very strong strategy, especially for SEO reasons. When an entire site is created just for first time home buyers and all of the information there is relevant to their interests, it will over time gain search engine points and better positioning.
If you don’t want to create a niche website, at least dedicate a portion of your website to first time home buyers. If you can use subdomains with your site host, it’s a good way to do this. A subdomain looks like http://firsttimehomebuyer.yourdomain.com. That part before the first dot is the subdomain and you gain SEO clout. That’s because Google and other search engines consider a subdomain as a separate destination for indexing your site. It’s like having a separate site within a site. You also don’t have to search for unused domain names, as you can use whatever you want.
They're Full of Questions
The reason these buyers are online for hours doing searches is that they have questions about buying a home, from location information through the first offer and ultimately the entire transaction process. They have the ability, at least in their minds, of getting their questions answered accurately on the Internet, so they want to stay anonymous as long as possible, getting answers online before working with an agent.
Strategy #3: The FAQ & Content Strategy
If you’ve ever had one or more questions on a subject, it’s likely that you really appreciated finding a page with FAQs, Frequently Asked Questions. Create just that for first time home buyers and title it “First Time Home Buyer Frequently Asked Questions.” Use the question then the answer format, and give brief but focused answers to the questions.
Then, link to more detail in other content you have on the site. Example Question: What is a title insurance binder? You would give a brief but explanatory answer as to the purpose of a binder and maybe even the main sections, such as Exceptions and Requirements. However, now you give them a link to more detail and even an example actual transaction binder.
Now you’re satisfying their needs for answers, offering more information to support your answers to their questions, and you’re leading them to a call-to-action that will generate leads for you. Even if they resist the title binder call-to-action, if you have a supporting article/blog post for every answer in your FAQ, and each has a call-to-action with a compelling offer, you’re going to get many of them before they leave the site.
Instead of Location, Location, Location, it's Information, Information, Information
Once you get into their shoes, you can identify with the questions first time home buyers have, and you can create an online experience that meets their needs and positions you as the expert to work with.