1. Be local. Have you tried that new brewery that opened down the street? Wait, which one? The resurgence of local, craft beer is overwhelming. What is it about this local shift that has us all growing beards, and how can we implement this in the real estate industry? Just like authenticity and uniqueness is appealing to today’s generation of beer drinkers, the same goes for home buyers. Millenials, who make up a large chunk of today’s homebuyers, don’t want to be marketed to; they want to feel independent and responsible for their own thoughts. Therefore, they tend to support small and independent businesses. Luckily, the real estate industry is a localized industry at its roots. What sets an agent apart from an app is their knowledge of an area. An agent can tell their client about the neighborhood, can offer information on an approved development plan, and can recommend that coffee shop down the street (probably because they have worked from it numerous time this week). Serving a small, concentrated group of people and having a niche will help differentiate an agent in the marketplace and appeal to the younger generation of homebuyers.
How to create a niche:
- Attend local council meetings
- Participate in school district meetings
- Become a member of the chamber of commerce
- Download the CO Everywhere app to follow social activity and news in the neighborhoods you serve so you are always aware of the happenings
- Volunteer at local organizations and support local businesses and causes
2. Be found where today’s consumers are – on their phones. Nearly one-third of all homebuyers, and 68% of first-time buyers, were 34 years or younger last year. According to the 2014 NAR Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends, 58% of Gen Y (<33) and 53% of Gen X (34-48) use a mobile device to search for homes. In order to connect with the younger generation of home buyers, it is important to be found where today’s consumers are – on their mobile device. Consumers are still looking for homes, but, the way they do this has changed. This is the generation of looking things up on their phones. With companies like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com, consumers can access a lot of information on their mobile device. Offering home buyers accurate data through a convenient tool and being available to them quickly will differentiate you from your competitors. This doesn’t mean you have to be a full-time techy. But, having some familiarity with emerging technology can strengthen your ethos in the real estate industry.
3. Be a solid communicator. With the emergence of smartphones and technology that can basically do everything besides eat for you, it is a little scary to think of what can replace humans. True – the needs for a real estate agent are changing, but agents are not replaceable. Think about it. Buying a home is not an easy purchase. Apparently, you can’t just go to the house shop and pick out a cute house, bring it to the register, charge it, and poof, you own a house now! It is a bit more complicated than that. Like, wayyyy more complicated. Because of the infrequency and complexity of the purchase, the high dollar value, and the uniqueness of every home, the agent serves as an expert to their client, guiding them through the entire process. An agent should utilize their ability to clearly communicate and connect with their client and understand and accommodate to their needs. An agents knowledge about detailed local information that is not readily available on real estate websites, like local ordinances and future approved development plans, creates a strong bond with the homebuyer that will promote continuing relationships.