By John Williamson
2013 is going to be the year of the first-time homebuyer. With home prices rebounding, the job market stabilizing, and mortgages more affordable than ever, the next wave of homebuyers are ready to act. This will be the first time that generation Y will make up the majority of the first-time home buying market.
Some changes are about to occur. Today’s buyers are not going to make the same mistakes their parents made a few years ago.
First, agents have to know who this prospective client is. The millennial client is coming to the transaction with a critical eye, having witnessed the mortgage meltdown of recent years -- and having felt the economic consequences that came with it. The typical gen Y buyer is someone who:
• Watched the housing market collapse and struggled in a slow job market for five years but is optimistic now.
• May have moved in with parents or rented apartments to save money and establish a financial footing.
• Has grown tired of living with Mom and Dad or wasting money on increasing rental rates and is ready to put the money he's saved toward a down payment.
What does this mean for agents? A tremendous opportunity, but one that will require agents to adapt, specifically when it comes to the technology used in the home-buying process. This group of buyers has come of age on high-speed internet, mobile apps and instant access to information. They don't just want a comparable level of technology to be included in their home-buying process -- they expect it.
The reality is that well before the 2013 calendar advances too far, agents will fall into a new classification of have's or have not's: Those who have the technological tools and know-how to work with gen Y buyers, or those who don't. Those who recognized and planned for new business opportunities or those who factored themselves out of the equation.
Fortunately, it's not too late to ensure "have" status. The critical first step is recognizing the characteristics and expectations of gen Y buyers. The second is to connect with them with tools that work for them:
• Share documents and other important information with them electronically. They don't want a stack of printed paper.
• Quickly communicate and connect them with service providers like mortgage lenders and inspectors. Don’t create an endless three-way voicemail chain that leaves them waiting.
• Provide them tools that facilitate these things to differentiate yourself in the market.
• Homebuyers and sellers have high expectations for 2013, which presents a big opportunity to real estate professionals. Those who are prepared will reap the benefits.
John Williamson is the CEO of Ucloser .
For more information, visit www.ucloser.com.