New data from Freddie Mac indicates that first-time homebuyers account for almost half of all new mortgages. Here’s how loan officers can engage young borrowers — and their agents.
For the first time since 2012, nearly half (46%) of all new mortgages in the first quarter of ‘18 came from first-time homebuyers, according to new data from Freddie Mac. The median age for these new homeowners is 32, suggesting that the generation that came of age during the housing market crash of 2008 is finally ready to make the move from renting to buying.
That means that as a loan officer, the chances that you’ll be dealing with a young, first-time buyer are higher than ever. Here are some tips on how you can grab their attention, gain their trust, and guide them through one of the most important decisions they’ll ever make.
Engage Their Agents on Social MediaOne of the most important touchpoints of any loan officer’s sales pipeline is the base of agents that represent his or her potential clients in their home buying journey. Most referrals will come from agents, so keeping yourself top-of-mind, and positioning yourself as a trusted advisor to your agents is crucial.
And a good social media marketing strategy is one of the most effective ways to do just that. Agents are getting younger, and according to the National Association of Realtors, social media “has become an integral part of their marketing and communication efforts.” So agents are on the channels, and they’re using them — loan officers just need to reach them.
But what kinds of content will agents want to share with their buyers? What kinds of content will keep agents engaged, and entice them to refer their clients? Content that’s relevant to their day-to-day, and that demonstrates an authoritative knowledge of the loan process. Highlighting a new mortgage product that agents weren’t aware of, for example. Not only are you giving them valuable information that they can share with clients to close their own sales — you’re demonstrating that you’re a forward thinker in your area: Someone with whom agents will be eager to associate.
Engage Buyers on Social MediaMost buyers will use agent referrals to find a loan officer — but that doesn’t mean they won’t do their own research too. So your social feeds should be positioned for multiple audiences: Both agents, and buyers. Distribute content that’s relevant and appeals to both. Once you’ve got a borrower in your office, closing the sale comes down to honesty, responsiveness, and a human touch. But grabbing their attention in the first place, and demonstrating the authority and competency that will prompt them to actually come into your office — that increasingly requires a strong social presence.
Post regularly on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and make sure you’re using social listening tools to find current or potential new customers who could use your expert guidance. Of course, your social media presence is only as engaging as your content, which brings us to our pro-tip: developing a strong thought leadership platform.
Establish Yourself as an Industry Thought LeaderSetting out to buy a home for the first time can be an incredibly exciting, but equally intimidating experience. Millennial leads are looking for someone to explain how the homebuying process works, what they should be looking for in a mortgage, and how to take their first steps. Given the extent to which their media consumption habits skew toward social, they’re almost certainly going to be looking for these answers on Facebook, twitter, or Linkedin. To position yourself as a reliable resource to these borrowers, you need to deliver content that’s designed to answer their questions and offer them real value.
Agents, on the other hand, are looking first for industry knowledge that can help them do their own jobs better. Second, they’re looking for trusted partners to pass their clients to. Establishing yourself as a thought leader in your space will engender trust with real estate agents who are naturally eager for competent partners to assist them in closing sales.
So your content should feature a good mix of industry knowledge, your own innovative thoughts on mortgage lending, and finally breakdowns of the basics for inexperienced homebuyers. You want to strike a balance between setting yourself apart for agents with fresh ideas, while also providing the standard information that first-time homebuyers will need to make informed decisions. Deliver your content in a variety of media formats, from infographics, to white papers, to thought leadership articles. That way you'll ensure you’re delivering content that’s relevant to every agent, every borrower, and every platform.
Use Social Media Management Software to Keep Your Sales Funnel StrongAs you begin to pull more leads through the funnel, you may find yourself failing to engage with new prospects. Once you’ve generated a solid content library and a built a presence across all the major platforms, your next step should be to create an automated process that leverages your assets to attract new leads while you focus on closing sales.
A social media management tool like Gremlin Social can make automation easy. Building on a core of compliance by using keyword / phrase filtering to prevent non-compliant posts from being published, Gremlin Social automates social posting for your bank or lending institution’s Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts. With tools like post archiving, social listening, and approval workflow management, Gremlin Social provides everything you’ll need to start offering first-time homebuyers the guidance they’re looking for through the digital channels they use.