Targeting Millennial Home Buyers

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Millennials are the latest generation to emerge onto the real estate scene. The millennial group can be roughly defined as those who were born between 1981 and 1996.  Marketing to Millennials is much different than other generations given the values they hold, unique experiences they have had with technology and the behaviors they share.  Some of the defining attributes of this group include coming of age during the Great Recession, being less materialistic than older generations due to the variance in most financial markets, and possessing an understanding and reliance on technology and social connectivity.  If you are looking to target this group in your marketing efforts for the new year, the following areas are good to keep in mind:

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The real estate professional must first understand what is important to millennials and how to appropriately get ‘synced’ with this group.  Not all Baby Boomers attended Woodstock and not all Millennials spend their day’s texting on every mobile device possible. Therefore, real estate marketers must determine their level of connectivity with the group by reviewing three basic themes that set Millennials apart from other generations:

1) Slower life transitions – Millennials stay in school longer and get married later in life than their parents and grandparents.

2) Embrace technology – Millennials grew up surrounded by evolving technology such as using the Internet, having cell phones, and being introduced to new technologies in both the home and work environments.

3) Great Recession influence – Millennials’ finances have been significantly influenced by the Great Recession so they are fiscally cautious with some not wanting to take on the commitment of homeownership.

Reaching Millennials

Given millennials’ love of technology, a variety of strategies can be employed to spark their attention to the housing market.

First, it is important to understand that a phone call or email will be their last choice when reaching out to select an agent. Real estate marketers can reach their clients through engaging website content, social media accounts, and online reviews from present and former customers. Relying on a charming phone demeanor will help but not seal the deal with this age group.  They will no doubt do their homework before making an informed decision.

Second, marketers must put themselves in the shoes of a Millennial who searches for homes on the Internet to gauge the available inventory.  It is important for agents to make their website and online resources as user friendly as possible and ask yourself the following questions about your online presence:

1) Is the site optimized for mobile viewing?
2) Is the site’s design attractive and attention getting?
3) Does the site have useful information as a blog or forum?
4) Does the site have relevant information to help interested buyers?
5) Are there links to reviews, social media sites or other user-generated content?

Third, social media is a major player in millennial purchasing. According to Inkhouse.net, ages 18-34 comprise over half of Facebook’s 500 million users and 30 percent of Twitter’s 106 million users. Also, 18-34 year olds are the largest YouTube audience with 67 percent of view each month.

Finally, Millennials are educated and aware of the environment and creating a “greener” future for their children. Therefore, having a strong platform around sustainability and walkable neighborhoods is a good idea. Millennials can be attracted to the 24-7 atmosphere so once you have met your client, take time to see what really matters to them in the way of their home search and its criteria. As with any generation, being able to walk or take mass transit to the grocery store, library, schools or other amenities can be important.

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Winter Savings Tips for Homeowners

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Winter often brings extremely low temperatures, but electric bills usually tip in the opposite direction. For homes that don’t employ any energy saving practices, electric bills can rise significantly. Don’t get stuck paying more than you have to this winter. Follow these easy winter savings tips so you can keep warm and save money this winter season.
Prevent Your Fireplace from Losing Heat
While there’s no arguing that a fireplace will warm a room right up, it could be losing a lot of essential heat to the chimney. If your fireplace is capable of taking in air from the outside, install an air tight door to prevent heat loss. Older fireplaces that draw air in from the room should be equipped with ventilation.

Use Only Quilted Curtains
40% of energy in your home can be lost due to infiltration of air. This means that the pesky drafts your windows and doors are letting in are only making your electric bill skyrocket. You can circumvent the problem significantly by using quilted curtains over your window. These curtains will provide more insulation, and you’ll also find your home feeling a bit warmer than usual.

Install Storm Windows Over Your Existing Ones
Installing storm windows to lower heating costs isn’t a new concept, but it definitely works. While storm windows alone can cut down on heating costs with their low-emissivity coatings, installing them over your existing windows is where the big savings will come in. You can even install storm windows yourself by measuring the size of your windows and ordering the hardware.

Invest in an Infrared Thermometer
The thought of walking around your home while holding a device in the air might seem silly, but it can help you save money in the long run. Omega recommends an infrared thermometer for situations like these, when gaining an accurate reading of the temperatures in various areas of your home isn’t possible. You can use the thermometer’s sensors to find cold spots in your home, and then act accordingly. Cold spots often indicate problems such as poor insulation and air leaks.

Have an Energy Audit Completed on Your Home
The EPA suggests having an occasional energy audit completed on your home in order to improve your energy efficiency and maximize savings. An energy audit reveals to you exactly where the problem areas lie in your home so that you can correct them and begin using less energy. Contact an agent in your area to schedule an audit for your home.

Invest in Insulation for Your Attic
Lastly, if your attic doesn’t already have it, you should immediately add insulation. Your local building organization should be able to provide information about the type of insulation you should be using, as well as how much. You can get an idea about where your insulation stands by entering your attic and looking around. If you don’t see much, you have the option of adding more. In turn, this will create even more savings on your electric bill.

 

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Narrowing Your Marketing Focus

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Are you trying to market to anyone and everyone that might even remotely have a need for your services?  Rather than spreading your time, energy, and marketing budget so impossibly thin, focusing on one or two very specific segments of your market will likely reap you far greater rewards and at much less cost.

By defining your ideal prospects in as detailed terms as possible and then focusing your marketing message specifically to that group, your chance of making inroads rises, as you become recognized as the “expert” that really understands and can help resolve the pain points of that group.

Do Your Homework 

Operating in a niche market means you’re working with a smaller pool of potential clients, so it’s hyper-critical you get to know them intimately.  Who are they?  What are their demographics?  What are their buying powers and buying cycles?  Be crystal clear in your marketing to show potential clients how your services understand and answer their needs.

Test the Waters

Because you’re marketing to a smaller specific group, it’s important to make sure you get the message just right.  You can do this by providing promotional offers, which in turn will provide you with valuable information about potential client response, but won’t break the bank to execute.  Things like offering a free webinar or sample newsletter, addressing the needs of that particular niche is a great way to test their reactions to your services.

How to Get Started

It makes sense to narrow your market by choose a niche in which you already have experience, talent, connections and an understanding of their needs. This won’t reduce your need to study and research the market, but it will give you a good starting point.

big-fish-little-pondDon’t let fear hold you back from narrowing down your market.  Fear of leaving money on the table, or that the niche may not be big enough to find enough clients. Fear that you won’t be able to penetrate the niche.  For the most part those fears are unfounded, if you’re willing to put in time, effort, and consistency.  There is likely more money to be made being a big fish in a small pond, than being a small fish in a big lake. Focus, focus, laser sharp focus!

 

 

 

 

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Make Your Marketing Stick!

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When you run a real estate business, it’s hard to be objective about marketing. Everyone promises exposure. Everyone offers to boost your client list. Maybe it’s time to think outside the box and try a tactic that’s guaranteed to keep your name in front of people primed to buy or sell homes.

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Marketing 101. You’re an expert at matching people with residential and commercial property, but it’s hard to recall a marketing strategy that raised your profile in direct proportion to your investment. Memorize this:  most people belong to the “What’s in it for me?” club. They’ve grown accustomed to coupons, discounts and clever marketing campaigns that offer value-added rewards and benefits. That’s why you owe it to yourself to use the following phrase each time you tap your marketing budget: What’s in it for your customer?

Why value-added marketing materials work. Check your ‘fridge. What’s there? Photos? Wedding invite? Magnets? Bet there’s at least one calendar–maybe a recipe you’re eager to try or the sports schedule of your favorite team.  These are great examples of marketing collateral with sticking power. Grab your share of ‘fridge’ real estate, too.  Sometimes called “hang around” collateral, marketing pieces offering added value outperform self-serving brochures and flyers. These items cost you pennies, but they’re loaded with perceived value, particularly since 50 % of qualified leads may not be ready to purchase. When they are ready, your promotional piece will lead them in the right direction.

How leave-behind materials work. A recipe card, calendar or sports schedule is sure to pique the interest of anyone eager to keep their lives organized and serves many purposes.  These materials are informational, functional and practical. While taking up a little bit of room, this type of marketing material is emblazoned with contact information with each personalized item having staying power written all over it. Keep this in mind: statistics prove that companies proficient in nurturing lead generation wind up with 50% more sales at 33% lower cost.

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Consider what you have to gain. Newspaper ads? So yesterday. Broadcast? Kiss your annual marketing budget goodbye. E-mail lead generation gets you closer and if you pile on the message delivery systems, you’ll really build your client base. For example, marketing experts recommend combining marketing strategies and materials that include a recipe card, calendar or schedule as part of a multi-channel marketing effort with the potential to surpass single and dual-channel campaigns by 300%! So what does this mean in realtor talk? Use e-mail, promotional efforts and collateral like recipe cards and calendars to coordinate your outreach efforts and you’ll win big when your office identifies top lead generators.

 

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What To Do Once You’re Pre-Approved

Pre-Approved

Every potential home buyer comes to the real estate experience with varying degrees of understanding and financial stability.  Before you begin your home search, you may or may not be pre-approved for a home loan.  Your real estate agent and most loan officers will recommend that you get pre-approved to assist you in your finding the right home for several reasons.  First, you will become knowledgeable about your current financial situation about what kind of mortgage will work best for you.  In addition, you will find a realistic price range for your home search.  Once you go through the pre-approval process, it is time to tighten the reins on your budget and begin practicing some important spending habits.  The following tips are simple yet effective and will be put you on the path to a successful closing.

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Avoiding Large Purchases

Be mindful of making large purchases around the time you go into contract on a home.  While you may want to purchase a new car or boat to match that new dream home, it is better to fight the impulse and wait.  In addition, buying furniture and accessories for your new living space is a task that is better suited for after the purchase of the home.  The last time you need is to rack up expenses and spend money that could be better used for down payment or building up your savings.

Avoiding Large Spending

While everyone gets dozens of credit card applications in the mail each month, now is not the time to begin opening new accounts and racking up credit card debt.  Buyers need to remember that this is the time where paying down your debt is the best course of action.  Address or eliminate any collections against you, follow a frugal monthly budget, and maintain good credit scores by refraining from spending.  All of these best practices will ensure you are on the right track to financial success and keep the loan process moving forward.

Maintaining Consistency

Since a large portion of the home buying process includes verifying financial information, it is vital to keep financial documents and affairs in order. Maintain bank accounts properly, avoid large money transfers, and pay bills and accounts on time to avoid unnecessary late fees.  In addition, make sure you aren’t starting a new job or financial venture without letting your loan officer know.  Banks are not apt to take risks on borrowers with inconsistent financial patterns.  For now, keeping consistent habits can benefit you until you sign on the dotted line.

Becoming an Active Participant

Once the process is underway, be sure to respond in a timely fashion to requests from the bank and provide whatever documentation is needed.  It is encouraged to ask questions as topics arise as well as  keeping documents organized and accessible.  By complying with document deadlines, you will be sure to keep the process moving along so that all parties can continue to work toward the common goal of getting to closing.

Becoming pre-approved is the first step of many in the home buying process.  By tightening up your financial habits and following some best practices, you will alleviate some of the stress that can surround purchasing your next home.

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Low Cost – But Big Bang – Fall Home Projects

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With a new season upon us, many are busy sprucing up their homes for upcoming events, holidays, and even the possibility of putting their homes on the market.  So how can you help sellers enhance or refresh their space and not break the bank?  There are some simple ways to dress or fix up a home for fall with projects under $100.  Pass along these tips that can increase curb appeal as well as home value.

Digital Thermostat
If your home has a mercury-switch thermostat, you are paying too much for heating and cooling. A programmable digital thermostat is far more accurate and can raise or lower the interior temperature throughout the day. Set it to raise the temperature before you arrive home and lower it when you are gone or sleeping. A wide variety of models under $100 are on the market today.

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Solar Security Lights

Install solar security lights to replace older porch or entry lights. Sensors detect movement and turn on a bright halogen light that illuminates a wide area. Several models are under $100. In the event of a power outage, your home will still have security lighting you can depend on.

Install a Washable HVAC Filter
Purchase a washable HVAC filter and you will never have to look for filters again. A blast from the garden hose thoroughly cleans the filter.  Allow them to dry in the sun and then they are ready to replace. Keep the system off while the filter is being cleaned to prevent debris from entering the system.

Energy Star Ceiling Fans

A ceiling fan makes the room feel cooler or warmer, depending on the rotation of the blades. Install an Energy Star rated reversible fan with a lighting kit in each room and watch your utility bills fall. There are hundreds of designs, sizes, colors and models to choose from so no matter what your decorating theme is, there is a fan to match it.

Glass Shelves and Mirrors
Small rooms and bathrooms look larger with mirrors mounted on the walls.  Choose from a wide variety of styles to match or accent your home décor.  Mirrors also reflect light and make a space lighter as well as appear roomier.  Add a couple of accents in a bathroom or entry and your space is ready to show off to guests.

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Spruce up the Front Door
Giving the front door a new coat of paint can work wonders for curb appeal. Check out new hardware such as a one-way security peep hole, new handles or perhaps a door knocker. In addition, install washable doormats in entry halls to prevent dirt from affecting flooring. Vinyl doormats can be washed in the sink and held in place with double stick tape to prevent falls.  With just a few changes, your entry way can look inviting to all who may visit this season.

Any of these fall projects will enhance the beauty of your home. Let the season inspire you to make some minor improvements with a large impact on your guests.

 

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Lights, Camera, Action!

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The Power of Sharing a Video & Client Testimonial

When a potential client is searching for a real estate brokerage or agent, what sets you apart in their minds from the competition?  Consumers expect real estate professionals to pat themselves on the back as the best, so what tends to get their attention more are client testimonials that “speak” to your potential clients.  Particularly if they go beyond, Joe Agent was a pleasure to work with, did a great job, and more generic statements.  Those that zero on in a real issue that you resolved, that other consumers can relate to, have a much bigger impact.

Posting a high quality and engaging video of that nature could get your business the extra attention it needs quite easily.  Done right, video testimonials have the power to create a feeling of personal engagement, and could be the online equivalent of meeting face to face.

Here are a few easy tips that will allow your video to speak volumes with a click of the play button.

Utilize the video to do a short introduction of yourself, your business info, and what you do best.  

There is nothing like putting a face with a name.  Keep your intro short and succinct yet allow yourself to do a proper introduction of your business and what makes you stand out amongst the rest. Many times this will be your first impression so make it a great one!

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Include past clients in your video to share their positive experiences.

This is the information that potential clients want to hear.  How did the process really go?  Did you deliver the services you promised?  Were you easy to work with?  Did you listen to the needs of your clients and tailor your services to them? If the answer to these questions are YES, then you have a found some invaluable segments to your video.

Use a variety of homes or settings as the background of your videos.

Why not show potential clients the beautiful locations that are in your area?  If you are allowed to, show off some of your listings.  Use your area’s resources to showcase some iconic backdrops that make your area the ideal location.

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Share across all of your social media outlets.  

Make sure you link your video to relevant status updates, tweets, and posts within your social media outlets. You will not only be getting your name out to the public but you will also be spreading the word about the quality of your services.  Followers can easily share and comment as well resulting in the possibility of more leads.

Keep your video updated.  

From time to time, use a new testimonial, backdrop, or intro to keep the video content fresh.  This could also be a way to highlight new areas or services that you provide for your clients.

Videos are a powerful tool that allow viewers to connect to your business immediately.  By taking the time to plan out an engaging video that appeals to a variety of viewers across a variety of social outlets, you can turn those viewers into real life, satisfied clients.

 

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A Perfect Balance

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Blaise Pascal once wrote to a friend saying: ‘I have written you a long letter as I do not have time to write a short one’. This embodies a perennial problem – that often key messages are lost in a rather wordy explanation. It also highlights an increasing trend in our modern societies – that messages have to be short and sharp, as they compete with so many others.

If someone were to ask why you, as a real estate agent, are so effective at your job, you could likely take hours listing the reasons. You’d work through the numbers of how many houses you’ve been able to buy and sell to the advantage of your client, your responsiveness and a host of other sterling skills.

With all that information, it should be a breeze to market yourself. You have so much to say, so how could folks not leap at the chance to work with you?

Unfortunately, great agents all too often see their marketing campaigns fizzle and fail, despite the plethora of information provided. Sometimes, the cause is the information itself! Trying to explain too many aspects of yourself can be overwhelming and can encourage your lead to tune out rather than take in the info.

This phenomenon should drive you to create marketing pieces with the perfect balance of information and attention capturing. What is this perfect balance you ask?

First, the piece must be eye-catching. Even though many pieces are read immediately upon receipt, it’s still important to stand out from the mix. Pairing a stunning and appropriate image with a headline that explains exactly why someone should work with you will cause the reader to stop and really take note of what you’re saying.

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So what are you saying? Ironically, the fewer words used, the more importance will be given to their meaning. That’s where the use of sub-headings and captions can help to let the viewer glance at and take in all the important topics. If they want further details, they can continue reading, but even the deeper reading is summed up in a paragraph.

 

What about when you’ve got more information than just one paragraph can hold? Instead of creating additional reading, find visual ways to represent what needs to be said. A chart or a graph is far easier to understand and more visually appealing than an additional paragraph. Using this technique, you can provide a lot of information in a small space, sometimes with no words other than the headline and the column headings.

 

Even with short copy, there are a few additions you can make to sweeten the piece. Though you want to be visually appealing, you should avoid looking too busy. Even the most amazing headline can be drowned if the background is too distracting.

Choosing a single image or series of well-laid images can keep your piece simple, yet effective. The layout of the words, charts, and headlines should be arranged so that the eye is naturally drawn from one to the next. With carefully arranging, you can control the order in which the reader will process your information, giving you added potential for effectiveness.

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Oh, and “P.S.”– don’t be afraid to use a postscript,  it’s one of the most frequently read parts of marketing copy!!

Combining copywriting, graphic design, and data representation into an effective “short and sweet” piece can increase readership — and thus responses to — your marketing pieces.

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Photo Fabulousness or Flub?

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Real estate is an inherently visual business. Your clients want to see every square inch of a home they are considering buying and sellers want their homes to look better than brand new. There are so many opportunities to share photos online, buyers are taking for granted they should be able to see a home before they visit it. In fact, buyers are 74% more likely to express interest in a home if they can browse online photos. A great image can generate an inquiry leading to a sale. A bad image can signal a buyer should move on. So how do you get your client’s images in the “great” category?

Brighten them up

Specifically, add in natural light before the picture is taken. It’s a similar technique as what you would likely use during an open house. Open windows, turn on lights, and trim tree branches that block the view. The more natural looking the like, the more appealing. In rooms that need artificial light during the day, make sure you have fluorescent bulbs with white light to better simulate the natural look. However, lighting a picture has one advantage to lighting a home: you can add flash! Consider investing in a separate flash and pointing it at the ceiling as you snap the photo. The light will reflect back down, making it look like the picture is shot in direct sunlight.

Show your large side

In real estate, larger rooms look more appealing. This is especially room in central rooms like the living room. Because you, as the photographer, get to decide how potential buyers will be viewing the home, take the time to find the room’s best angle. This can mean shooting from all four corners, from the doorway to another room, and even from stairs. If you can find the angle that makes the room look larger, buyers will more easily be able to envision all their furniture fitting comfortably inside. One tip; shoot with a stretch of carpet in front of you rather than with a piece of furniture. It adds an extra dimension of distance.

Spend time editing

Even for the novice photographer, there are enough programs available online that you can edit and modify pictures easily. You can use the editing to highlight and explain great parts of the home. Use captions or quotes right on the picture. For large areas like yards, you can combine several pictures into one larger one, so the buyer gets the comprehensive view of the large space.

Use the Help Available

There are some shots you’re just not going to get. One of them is a bird’s eye view of the home. This can be a great shot to show the size of a pool or other outdoor amenity that will draw more buyers in or the expanse of nature on the home’s yard and surrounding areas. Before you give up on that picture, find your client’s home on Google Earth or other satellite imaging program. Often, you can zoom in on one particular house, getting that birds eye view that was previously impossible.

More generally, be sure not to neglect the professional feel. This can mean hiring a professional photographer or investing in a high quality camera. As you bring more buyers in, the investment will pay for itself.

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Please Join Us in Welcoming Linda Gonzales!

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Please join us in welcoming Linda Gonzales, Vice President of Commercial Sales for Lawyers Title.

Mrs. Gonzales joined Lawyers Title in 2014 as Vice President of Commercial Sales.  Ms. Gonzales has a career spanning over twelve years of sales experience in the Commercial Real Estate Industry where she specialized in the sale and leasing of industrial, office and retail properties.   Mrs. Gonzales has represented both sellers and buyers of owner/user commercial properties and tenants and landlords.

Being a Las Vegas native, she has an extensive knowledge of the city’s history and a valuable understanding of the market. Mrs. Gonzales was awarded the scholarship of the Lied Institute of Real Estate Studies at UNLV and the Las Vegas Commercial Marketing Group. She also completed the inaugural class of NAIOP’s (Commercial Real Estate Development Association), Developing Leaders Institute, a program designed to develop the skills of tomorrow’s commercial real estate leaders.

ACHIEVEMENTS:

  • Nevada Restaurant Association- Allied Member of the Year, 2012
  • Nevada Restaurant Association-Spotlight Member, 2011
  • In Business Las Vegas, “Who’s Who in Real Estate”, 2009
  • Recipient of the UNLV Lied Institute/CMG Scholarship Award, 2009
  • NAIOP Developing Leaders Institute (DLI) 2008
  • Nominated for Southern Nevada Real Estate, “Emerging Leaders Award”, 2008
  • NAIOP Developing Leaders Institute (DLI) Alumni Committee, Social Committee Chair 2009-2012
  • CoStar Power Broker of the Year, 2008
  • Nevada Restaurant Association
  • Committee Chair for Events-Nevada Restaurant Association
  • Commercial Marketing Group (CMG)
  • American Culinary Federation Chapter
  • NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Association
  • NAIOP Developing Leaders Institute (DLI)
  • Las Vegas Track Club
  • Women’s Club of Summerlin
  • Ambassador Lululemon Athletica Summerlin
  • United States Tennis Association

AFFILIATIONS & RECOGNITIONS:

  • Nevada Restaurant Association
  • Committee Chair for Events-Nevada Restaurant Association
  • Commercial Marketing Group (CMG)
  • American Culinary Federation Chapter
  • NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Association
  • NAIOP Developing Leaders Institute (DLI)
  • Las Vegas Track Club
  • Women’s Club of Summerlin
  • Ambassador Lululemon Athletica Summerlin
  • United States Tennis Association
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