Real Estate Clients: What Can the Wizard of Oz Teach Us about Client Engagement in 2022?
When you find the ideal real estate client, getting a transaction over the finish line can feel as easy as clicking your heels together three times. There are very few showings, the client is well-educated, they’re approved for a mortgage, and the sale happens fast with little hassle.
Gotta love it. 😍
Of course, the opposite is also true. The wrong client relationships can sometimes feel like the house you’re trying to close on is about to fall in on you. And these days, the struggle is more real than ever.
Currently, it’s estimated that nearly 7.1 million homes will have been sold by the end of 2021, making this past year a continuation of the hot market we’ve been seeing since the onset of the pandemic.
Between the number of real estate clients increasing, as well as a new generation of homebuyers entering the market, keeping everyone happy can feel a bit less black and white than it used to.
So, as we move into the future of real estate — the question is: What do your real estate clients really want?
The types of real estate clients:
How do you deal with a new generation of customers in real estate?
This one’s a bit painful to think about — millennials and gen z are buying homes.👵
It’s true! We hear a lot about how millennials have been historically hesitant when it comes to home buying. In fact, just last year, a staggering 52% of young adults (18-34) were living with their parents.
However, what’s not being discussed as much, is how 37% of today’s home buying market is made up of millennials. Not only that, but they tend to be the highest earning clients!
With a new generation of homebuyers entering the market, we’re seeing more types of clients and client personalities than we’ve seen in the past. Younger buyers are facing new challenges like PTSD from the recession, staggering student loan debt, and now, a global pandemic.
If there were ever a time to sit back and think about who your clients really are, this is it.
Real estate personas to look out for in 2021
Understanding a real estate client persona is the key to ensuring a smooth transaction process, as well as building your team’s reputation. This generation of homebuyers grew up in a ‘Yelp’ world, and lean heavily on each other’s recommendations when it comes to purchasing products or services.
With 96% of millennials saying a great experience inspires them to review and recommend a business to others, it’s more important than ever to focus on what your real estate clients want.
With a little help from everyone’s favorite classic movie, we’ve created a breakdown of some new homebuyer personas you may see entering today’s real estate market.
Real estate client persona #1 — The Dorothy
“There’s no place like home.”
Believe it or not, millennials are having children.
Whether they have little ones running around, or are just trying to make the best life possible for their 4 year-old labrador retriever, the “Dorothy” persona is focused on family.
This buyer has a strong sense of what “home” is, and has a solid list of wants and needs in a property.
Here are some differences you may see in family structure & values:
Millennials are less likely to be married to the person they’re living with
1 in 10 Millennials have a spouse who has a different racial or ethnic background
74% of millennial parents involve their children in household decisions
Millennial family structures tend to throw gender roles out the window
Keeping this data in mind, it is extremely important that agents and brokers are trained on subjects such as racial bias in real estate, as well as how to connect with the family unit as a whole when it comes to the younger generation.
Everyone’s feedback when viewing a home will be equally important.
What the “Dorothy” persona wants in a home:
A Big Yard: Millennial parents tend to be a bit more helicopter-like when it comes to their child’s safety. Parents are likely to prefer their kids play in the yard outside rather than down the road, especially if they have younger children.
Great Schools: Nearly half of millennial parents put the accountability of their child’s academic success on the school district, rather than parental involvement.
Eco-Friendly Features: Millennial parents are very environmentally-conscious, and will likely favor homes that have green features such as energy-saving appliances.
How to make a great experience:
Marketing: Only 28% of home buyers found their home via an agent or broker, compared to 51% finding their home on the internet. Dorothy personas are busy managing a family, and don’t have the same amount of time to view properties as previous generations.
Relationship Building: Ensure brokers or agents include the whole family in conversations about a home. Learn what matters to each individual member, and strive to ensure you’re providing value to everyone, especially Toto.
Communication Management: 93% of real agents prefer to communicate with clients via text message. While this is a great communication method for this generation, it can quickly make things disorganized when dealing with multiple family members and team members. Consider investing in a tool that streamlines your communication when dealing with Dorothy clients.
Real estate client persona #2 —The Tin Man
“I just need a dab of oil.”
88% of millennials prefer to live in metropolitan areas.
The “Tin Man” real estate client persona highlights the group of home buyers who have a heavy preference on living in the middle of the action, rather than having to travel to it. Whether it’s because their friends are all in the area, or they’re bad at keeping up with their car’s oil changes, the Tin Man is all about location.
What the “Tin Man” client persona wants in a home:
Location: The Tin Man persona likes to be in the middle of the action. They will likely be searching for homes around large cities, and will lean on agents to do research on things like the best restaurants, walkability scores, etc.
Modern Amenities: Living in the city means you will likely get less square feet for the price. This persona tends to prefer the trade off of space vs. a modern appearance.
Large Kitchens: Younger families are less likely to sit down at the table for dinner, and tend to really enjoy hosting. This generation of buyers tends to be less concerned with having a traditional dining room, and prefers a larger kitchen with an open plan.
How to make a great experience:
Marketing: Affordability messaging is key when attracting this persona. 43.2 million Americans with student debt have an average loan of $39,351 to pay off. This financial responsibility, increased housing prices in metropolitan areas, and lack of home buyer education can make it difficult for this persona to understand there is a feasible financial roadmap to owning a home.
Relationship Building: The best way to bond with this type of real estate client is to get to know things like their favorite types of restaurants, hobbies, and then learning about what’s available to them within the city they’re looking at moving to.
Communication Management: Keeping this persona excited about the homebuying process is key. Investing in a tool that gives them real-time updates on the progress of their transaction may help increase client engagement and responsiveness to needs.
Real estate client persona #3 — The Scarecrow
“I’ve got a way to get us in there, and you’re gonna lead us.”
With the housing market being as wild as it is right now, we’re seeing a lot of millennials jumping into the mix to buy.
Everyone seems to be rushing in to purchase to avoid the FOMO that comes with low interest rates, and houses flying off the lots like a herd of monkeys. This urgency leads to less research being done on the buyer-side, which can make working with first time buyers more of a challenge for agents who are now forced head-first into the role of educator and advisor.
What the “Scarecrow” real estate client wants in a home:
Affordability: Escrows, down payments, and furniture, oh my! First time buyers tend to need more education on how the sticker price translates to monthly payments. You’ll want to take extra care here as showing the Scarecrow persona houses outside of their budget may be more likely to lead to disappointment or even backing out during the financing stage.
Multi-Functional Spaces: First-time buyers may be in a position where they aren’t entirely sure where their life is headed. Maybe they’ve only had one child and want more, maybe they’re single and want 16 cats someday. The key is to provide options.
Low-Maintenance: Going from having a landlord literally changing your lightbulbs to being solely responsible for things like mowing a lawn can be a hard transition. Connect your “scarecrow” clients with the right ancillary partners to make sure they’re set for success.
How to make a great experience:
Value-led Marketing: Education is key with these types of real estate clients. Consider writing blog content about the experience of buying a home for the first time so this persona can find you organically. You could even create a custom email sequence to educate them on the process.
Relationship Building: When you are working with a Scarecrow persona, you’re not just their agent, you’re their teacher, cheerleader, therapist, etc. It is going to be your job to ensure they are educated on the entire home buying process and that they know they have someone they can trust in their corner.
Communication Management: Responsiveness is key. You’re going to be getting calls at 8pm on a Friday asking things like, “Why hasn’t my lender returned the call I made 20 minutes ago?” and “Does this house come with a sink?”
Real estate client persona #4 — The Lion
“I haven’t slept in weeks.”
Another thing to know about the new generation of homebuyers is that they tend to be a lot more anxious than past generations.
It makes sense when you think about it, millennials grew up during a great recession caused by a housing market collapse. The thought of buying a home may be coupled with the thought of their parents losing theirs. The “Lion” persona tends to be a ball of anxiety and indecisiveness, coupled with a need for control, and can couple with any of the previous personas listed.
How to create a great experience for nervous buyers:
Marketing: When marketing to this persona, it’s helpful to have material that answers questions before they’re asked. Marketing detailed information on how to handle worst-case-scenario situations in home buying — especially during the contract to closing period — may help catch their eye during initial research phases, while providing answers to any initial fears that could be holding them back.
Relationship Building: Provide options and distractions. Helping anxious home buyers consider choices around things like wall colors and lighting fixtures can also help them focus their need for control on what to do with the house once they buy it, and less on the fine print at closing.
Communication Management: This persona has a lot of anxiety around buying a home, and needs answers as quickly as possible. They are going to need highly responsive agents, transaction coordinators and lenders to ease the anxiety they’re facing.
The Man Behind The Curtain
Responding to the shifts in the types of real estate clients we’re seeing as a new generation enters the housing market is going to be one of the biggest challenges for brokers and agents moving forward.
With evolving differences in nearly every aspect of shopping for real estate — from family values, buying pain points, and communication preferences — agents and TCs are under more pressure than ever to make sure clients feel supported at every step of the journey.
And if you’re a real estate broker or team leader, you’ll need the right tools to help you deliver on the varying expectations of today’s real estate clients. Preclose GO! provides a yellow brick road of real-time notifications, customizable client views, and much, much more, all designed to help you elevate the customer experience in real estate. Try it today for free!