Build business, and long-lasting relationships, by providing consumers with information on the home financing process.
There are currently some 75 million homeowners in the United States¹ — and at one point, every single one of them was a first-time home buyer. In fact, every year, about one-third of all home purchasers are first-timers.²
More to the point, nearly half of those newcomers find the mortgage application and approval process difficult.² Even for many repeat buyers, enough time has passed since their last move that they may have forgotten how the whole purchase process works.
All of which means you have a lot of customers and prospects who could really use some advice when it comes to home financing. Read on to see what first-time (or “first time in a long time”) home buyers need from you and how you can provide it — securing their gratitude and their business in the process.
Demystify the Financing Process
Lets face it. Buying a home is complicated and securing financing for the purchase can be one of the most challenging parts, particularly for first-time buyers. Here’s some essential information you can share to help clear the confusion:
- A glossary of terms. Decipher acronyms like APR, ARM, PMI and FHA, and define important concepts like appraisal, discount points and loan-to-value.
- Budgeting advice. Provide calculators, but also help buyers understand the full costs of homeownership, including insurance, property taxes, utilities and ongoing maintenance.
- Explanations of your home loan options. Be sure to highlight products specifically designed or suitable for first-time buyers, such as low down payment options. (Fact: Three percent of first-time buyers financed their purchase with a low down payment Federal Housing Administration–backed mortgage.²)
- Tips on qualifying for a home loan. Help customers understand the importance of reviewing their credit reports, and share ideas they can use to improve their credit score, pay down debt and save for a down payment.
- Definition of pre-approval. Discuss not just how to get it, but also why it’s important to have, particularly in a heated seller’s market like many regions are currently experiencing.
- Step-by-step breakdown of the application process. Include a checklist of documents that customers will need to complete the application and provide a timeline for the process.
- An explanation of what to expect at closing, including the documents they’ll be signing and the costs involved.
Go Above and Beyond
Financing topics are obviously your forte. But consider expanding your educational offerings to the larger home buying process. For instance:
- Provide tips related to the home search, too — how to pick a real estate agent, how to develop and prioritize a list of housing wants and needs, how to investigate neighborhoods, how to negotiate with the seller, etc.
- Share advice related to moving — finding a moving company, saving money on the move, packing tips and timeline, etc.
Spread the Word
It’s one thing to develop your content, but if you don’t distribute it properly, it won’t help you build those relationships and the business that follows. Below are four ways to get your content in front of first-time buyers. You can promote each on your website (home page and anywhere you talk about home loans) as well as other customer and prospect communications.
- Add a first-time home buyer resource center on your website.
- Host seminars or webinars periodically throughout the year.
- Let consumers opt into a short email series focused on understanding the home purchase process.
- Offer an ongoing homeowner email or e-newsletter with tips and advice related to making the most of their home after purchasing.
Put it all together, and you have a strategic plan for staying top of mind before, during and after the purchase process. Best of all, you’ll cement your position as a trusted advisor — someone who isn’t interested solely in making the sale, but truly wants to help customers make sound life decisions.
From first-time home buyer tips to veteran investor advice, providing education to your customers is a proven way to build relationships and business. CCG can help, with strategic content experts and more than 30 years of experience helping our clients build their bottom line. Email us or call 800.525.0313 today.
Customer Communications Group, Inc., is not responsible for products or services offered by third parties or websites mentioned. We provide such information and sites solely for your convenience.
1 “Quick Facts: Resident Demographics,” National Multifamily Housing Council, based on 2014 American Community Survey microdata, updated September 2015, https://www.nmhc.org/Content.aspx?id=4708#Rent_and_Own, accessed June 2, 2016
2 2015 National Association of Realtors® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, http://www.realtor.org/reports/highlights-from-the-2015-profile-of-home-buyers-and-sellers