There are many real estate niches you can specialize yourself in as a real estate professional.
And maybe you are a realtor or a real estate investor who has already or wants to specialize in the niche of first-time home buyers.
But how to market to them?
Target millennials in the age range between 22 and 39, with an average household income between $69,000 and $80,300 and promote homes in the price range of $300,000 with an open floor plan, two full master suites and one standard bedroom.
The ideal marketing channel would be Facebook Ads with ad placements on mobile including interests related to weddings and using first-time home buyers in the detailed targeting section.
However, if you would like to dig a bit deeper, on what this answer is based on, read on in the rest of my article.
Let’s Get Smart About The First-Time Home Buyer Group – An Analysis
What do you need to know before you start marketing to first-time home buyers?
Exactly who they are and what their needs, greeds, and pains are.
Here, we are doing again some of the prep work that is daily business in copywriting.
We need the right marketing angle, as covered in this article of mine.
Well, the vast majority of them consists of millennials and/or generation Y (which is actually the same).
They are roughly between 22 and 39 years old. Surprisingly, with 38%, they make up the largest share of home buyers (older millennials are at 25% and younger ones at 13%, source).
Older millennials prefer buying previously owned homes or townhouses.
A high priority is also convenience and a low cost for commuting.
About a third of millennial home buyers purchased homes at a selling price of $300,000 or more in 2018 (source).
According to this well-known realtor website, many millennials find realtors and/or available homes via social media sites.
Millennials also slightly prefer the suburbs to more costly urban areas, and the preferred communication with realtors is texting (source).
But this contrast is by far not that large as in previous generations.
Many millennials still also prefer central city areas (source).
Another interesting trend is that millennials are more willing to accept a smaller house to make the purchase more affordable (source).
Then, there is the preference for two full master suites and one standard bedroom in contrast to one master and three standards preferred by previous generations (source).
In terms of style and amenities, millennials prefer pre-world war II, mid-century and Mediterranean homes.
When it comes to features, the following are the most desirable and essential (ordered from high to low, source):
- Laundry room
- Hardwood Front Exterior
- Garage Storage
- Exterior lighting
- Ceiling fan
- Front porch
- Table space for eating
- Double sink (side by side)
- Central Island
- Granite/Natural Stone Countertop
- Dining room
- ENERGY STAR rated windows
- Both shower stall & tub in master bath
- ENERGY STAR rated appliances
- Double vanity
- Rear porch
- Linen closet in master bath
- Drinking water filtration
- Park area
- Energy star rating for the whole home
- A full bath on the main level
- Efficient lighting that uses less energy
- Whirlpool tub in the master bathroom
- Lot with trees
Regarding colors, millennials prefer soft colors, earth tones, and lots of blues, greens, and browns.
For the walls, they like brilliant hues of red and orange accents and generally strong contrasts (source).
When it comes to rooms, they prefer open-floor plans, especially for the dining, kitchen and living areas, media rooms, work-out rooms, and playrooms for kids.
Regarding floors, no carpeting is the preferred option.
Make sure you don’t offer properties including the features and amenities mentioned below, because these are the least wanted ones by millennials (source):
- Cork flooring in the main living spaces
- Wine cellar
- Laminate countertops
- Golf course
- High density community
- Pet washing station
- Laminate flooring
- Only a shower stall in the master bath
- Dual toilets in the master bath
- Plant covered roof
- Stucco front exterior
- Wine cooler
- Wet bars
- Bathroom aids
- Tennis courts
- Aluminum windows
- Bamboo flooring
- Ceramic tile countertop
- Two story family room
We now reached the other needs and pains with regard to the home purchase process.
No matter if you are a real estate agent or a real estate developer targeting millennials, since they are first-time home buyers, one of their major pains and worries will be to not make a big mistake when buying their first home.
This means they will need some extra hand-holding, which requires a knowledgeable real estate professional who can guide them through the whole process.
Another requirement for building trust and credibility with first-time home buyers such as millennials for the most part is patience, the willingness to provide a large amount of information (a lot of questions will be asked) including potential risks and pitfalls, and an overall slower pace during the whole sales cycle.
Market to First-Time Home Buyers by Providing Offers That Meet Their Needs
Now that we know the first-time home buyers audience better, you can define and create a suitable offer.
The offer usually includes the product (your properties) and the services you are providing.
Based on the preferences mentioned, you might want to focus only on the types of properties mentioned above when acquiring them as realtor, building them yourself as a real estate developer, or investing in them as a fixer and flipper.
If you are not only focused on first-time home buyers such as millennials, you may want to offer a special section on your real estate website (e.g. homes in the $300k range, and the regarding features and amenities they are looking for) or applying certain features in your filters that come with your property listing search.
When it comes to the more ‘hand-holding’ that these types of buyers evidently need, you might want to include this in your way you create your content (read my article about this topic), your lead magnets (another article of mine), and additional services you offer.
The Following Could Be Examples of Content:
- Content that explains how to easily apply for mortgages and/or how to clean up credit, interviews with your favorite mortgage broker giving advice on how to get the right mortgage
- Explaining in articles or videos how government loans work and what type of new restrictions there are
- Including information about down payment assistance programs in your articles or videos and other available tips and tricks about down payments
- Using all the frequently asked questions you receive from first-time home buyers in different content formats (articles, videos, etc.).
A little ‘secret’ SEO trick to get the right content ideas for your local real estate business targeting first-time home buyers is using the autocomplete function of the google search.
For example, you can type in ‘down payment assistance programs in [your location]’.
Usually, when there are a certain number of people searching for this term, Google will suggest it to you or other similar search terms.
You can tackle these search terms and produce a piece of content for each one.
All the above content examples could also be prepared in some nice type of print format that can be handed out after a showing.
But usually millennials already come well-informed and prepared.
Lead Magnet Examples
My other article already covers in depth lead magnets for real estate.
To attract the first-time home buyer leads, you now can also create a lead magnet that helps with needs and pains, such as:
- A quiz which tells the first-time home buyer if they are ready to buy their first home or not, and suggesting according to the different quiz results different short ebooks or other types of content (e.g. sending someone over to a helpful article, or service that helps with credit repair who doesn’t qualify, because of bad credit, etc.)
- Different types of online calculators: down payments, monthly payments, home affordability, rent or buy. You can find some more inspiration about that here and here
- A mini video course or an ebook about how to buy homes the first time in your specific area, which pitfalls to avoid and what the best mortgage offers with low down payments are
- A virtual first-time home buyer seminar as webinar
Examples of Additional Services You Can Provide
If your first-time home buyer knows that you are also offering additional services that show that you offer ‘professional hand-holding’, you are likely to convert more leads into customers.
- Offering to help find the right mortgage broker, moving company, calculating the monthly mortgage payments, repairing bad credit, etc.
- You can offer a home warranty to sweeten the deal and reducing the first-time home buyer’s anxiety
Market to First-Time Home Buyers Through The Right Marketing Channels
We now have an idea about what to include in the offer so we can find the right marketing channels to target first-time home buyers.
From the above audience analysis we now know that…
- they have an average household income between $69,000 and $80,000
- they buy homes priced around $300,000
- they find real estate pros such as realtors via social media on their mobile device
- their age range is between 22 and 39
For short term results, which marketing channel does the above information cry for?
You are right, Facebook advertising as covered in this article of mine.
Long-term results could be also achieved with the right local SEO content marketing strategy (read my article about it here), as shortly mentioned above.
So, in Facebook ads you could use all the above information to target the already analyzed audience of first-time home buyers.
By creating the audience on the Facebook ads platform, you could define the age range between 22 and 39, include the average household income (this feature is only available in the U.S.) and even first-time home buyers in the detailed targeting section.
For the ad placement selection, you could do only mobile devices.
Since this age group is also using Instagram, this social network could be an additional ad placement beside the newsfeed on Facebook.
As a short and little secret tip, you could also include in the Facebook Ad campaign the interest of all wedding-related things.
Because 35% of married adults bought their first home together within two years of being married (source).
The more expensive version of this would be to bring this ‘wedding interest targeting’ offline and rent some space at a wedding expo and approach potential first-time home buyers on-site.
Before you start driving traffic to your website, make sure it meets the user behavior of this age group.
This means it should be mobile friendly, have great pictures and maybe even better virtual tours (my article).
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