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Time to capture more leads

Aug 13, 2007

One size fits all ... not!Art Israelov, CMC, CRMSGeneration X, self-sufficient, technology, information, realistic guidance I had the pleasure of attending the Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors Northside Division lunch meeting on Jan. 10 in Indiana. There were several panelists discussing some very important topics, which I thought were of interest not only for real estate agents, but also for National Association of Mortgage Brokers members. Jim Litten, president of the F.C. Tucker Residential Real Estate Service Division, made an interesting point. He emphasized how important it is going to be to understand and appeal to the fastest-growing segment of buyers - Generation X. Generation X is a term coined by sociologists to mean Americans born between 1963 and 1977, who are now in their 30s and early 40s. In fact, the generation after that is called Generation Y, and we're even starting to see them to buy homes. These younger clients are very different from their parents in terms of consumer behavior. (Nothing makes us feel older than when we ask for a borrower's birth date, and that date comes later than the year we graduated high school!) Brace yourselves. This coming year, as the market for new home purchases returns to normal levels, we're going to find ourselves in that situation more and more. Buyers come to you, you gather information about their finances, goals and needs, you make recommendations based on this information, and they accept your expertise. That's the order, right? Not! How many of you experienced a situation where a Generation Xer marched into your office, laptop in hand, prepared to show you all of the various options available to him and which option he had already selected for buying his new home? The sociologists explain that Generation Xers and the even younger Generation Yers are self-sufficient, prefer audio and visual data to print media, quickly sift through information and hold little respect for age, experience or professional titles. Dealing with this younger set of buyers presents a tremendous challenge to our profession. But once we understand the situation, we can use some of these factors to our advantage. The younger buyer needs our expertise and our advice more than ever before in order to navigate amidst the "noise" of offers and options. For our part, we need to convey our knowledge in language the younger buyer can hear and understand. We won't just have a Web site; we'll constantly update it with the latest technology and information. Since we know these younger buyers expect more than basic data, we'll work on wowing them away from their iPods and laptops, yet we'll continue to offer level-headed, realistic guidance. Clients of Generations X and Y respect speed and results, and if we don't give these things to them, they'll find them somewhere else. Two-hour face-to-face meetings are so last generation for them. Younger buyers expect not only to apply online, but to have information provided via e-mail. In fact, it's now becoming commonplace for Generation X and Generation Y buyers to complete an entire transaction without ever meeting in person. Have you run into a stranger who, upon hearing your name, is quick to inform you that you were his loan officer on his recent home purchase? The mortgage business has changed in many ways in this information age, and we mortgage professionals have been, in many cases, too slow to get on board the high-speed train. While we don't need to scrap all traditional forms of doing business, we must present information to clients of every age in ways that are comfortable for them. We must continue to present ourselves as important, trusted advisors, but remember that the one-size-fits-all thing just won't work anymore. Art Israelov, CMC, CRMS is the professional director of the Indiana Association of Mortgage Brokers. He may be reached at (317) 251-9000 or e-mail [email protected].
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Aug 13, 2007
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