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]