First home buyers make up an integral part of the market. Over the past decade, it does seem that first home buyers have been dwindled out of the market as investors have bought up excess stock at the bottom end and redeveloped properties, making large capital gains. However, as the market changes and as first home buyers get assistance from their parents it is integral as an agent you engage with people in this market. Here is how to handle first home buyers when selling entry level properties.
Act as a helpful authority willing to do anything for them.
First home buyers generally have a level of confusion and uncertainty when they approach the process of buying a home. You need to act as an informative person and someone that wants to help them. One of the biggest put offs for entry level buyers is the fact that they aren't treated with respect because their outlay is generally lower than people who are more seasoned buyers. What ignorant agents forget is that this generation will turn in to your client base at some stage. They will begin to accumulate property and use the leverage most likely of this home to buy their second. You want them to buy their second off you.
Schedule an hour in your calendar each week for first home buyers to come and meet you.
A great system that productive agents helping entry level buyers is to provide education. By providing an hour window weekly for prospective buyers to come and either enquire about one of your listings or to discuss getting in to the market provides invaluable information for the buyer but also does a lot for building your profile. You need to break down the home buying process and explain that when they do come to buy that they consider you and explain you will discuss upcoming listings that you think are suitable for them.
First home buyers, is probably the largest category of potential buyers. Because of this, there are many scales of engaged prospects. You don't want to come across to every lead as someone trying to sell them something tomorrow. A lot of the people who will engage you won't buy a property and just want information. However, there will be some who potentially buy two, three or even more homes from you. So you need to be wary about how much time you spend with each lead, and qualify if they are ready to buy.
Establish their needs and wants
Once you have qualified them, you can scale their likeliness to buy based on their circumstances. Are they a newly married couple who are living at one of their parents homes? If so, this most likely is a desperate buyer who really needs to find something yesterday, and they require your immediate attention. However, if someone is buying out of a 'want' then their needs aren't as urgent. You should be focusing on first home buyers who have a genuine need and not a want. Also make sure that they are the decision maker. If they are a first home buyer, chances are they may need help with equity, if that is the case, then you need to engage the person who is going to actually write the cheque. Find out how much they are willing to spend, what they see as the requirements for the home and why they are buying it. If a young person comes to an open for inspection, but their parents are buying it, find out if they want a home for redevelopment potential, or what exactly they need out of the property for it to make economic sense.
Get as much interaction done online and make them chase you
Now, with many interactions happening online, you should be channeling and engaging prospective buyers at the bottom level there. After you have met a lead, maybe say, "Do you mind if I send you my top three properties under ($500,000) for example every Monday, and if you like any of them or want to have a look through I can organise a time?" From here you can organise a list of all of your prospects in the up to $500,000 level and send them a weekly email with the listings and 2 lines as to why it is good for a first home buyer. Think about what first home buyers want (to be somewhere social, public transport, shared facilities like laundromats if they can't afford all amenities immediately) and explain how this property is in good vicinity to all of this. The beauty with this is you can use these same listings and repurpose what it's good for in an entirely different market. This way your work is not wasted. You could send the same listings to investors and explain (good rental return, close to public transport, potential redevelopment potential) and grow your market. This will help get the best price on auction day.
Help one, and then help another.
First home buyers are one of the most social and active groups online, and they can undertake some great marketing for you. Once you have helped one person buy a home, and you have a happy first home buyer, get them to share it on facebook, write a testimonial and do whatever they can to build the offices brand. Also ask them for a testimonial on how you helped someone specifically in that demographic buy their first home. Having a testimonial such as "Matt helped me find my first home, he took me through the whole process, listened to what I needed, and only showed me relevant properties. He helped me go through all of the routine checklists to ensure it was up to standard and made settlement easy"
Helping first home buyers can be a beneficial and rewarding process as an agent. By helping a first home buyer you get someone in to the market, you educate people, but you also build your brand and a reputation as an agent wanting to help people. This leads to referrals and testimonials as the most vocal market to talk about being helped / well serviced are first home buyers. So start connecting and helping them, it can increase the amount of listings you sell very quickly as this market is incredibly active and probably hungrier for property than anyone else.
About the Authors:
Todd Schulberg handles all things marketing for Homely.com.au - Living and breathing property, Todd has a keen interest in the movements in the market and how agents can utilise new tools and technology in order to be more connected. Using all things social, Todd suggests different ways that agents can engage and think outside the square with their marketing approach.
Rocky Bartolotto is the National Sales Director for Homely.com.au - Rocky's extensive experience in introducing new product offerings to the market and client management abilities makes him one of the most knowledgeable property specialists in the country.
In addition to his time working in the online space, Bartolotto is also one of Sydney’s top auctioneers, with over 4000 auctions performed through his business Auction Services.