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Victoria Taylor, a marketing and engagement manager at Callahan & Associates, and her husband, Matt, are on the hunt to find a perfect home. Join them on their journey in this CreditUnions.com timeline exclusive.
3 Ways To Reach First-Time Homebuyers (According To A First-Time Homebuyer)
If you’ve been following along, you know my husband and I bought our first home in Greensboro, NC, back in August. We put 20% down and opted for a conventional 30-year fixed loan through a local mortgage company that our real estate agent recommended.
Our experience was probably a bit different from that of most credit union members. We were moving to the Greensboro area from Raleigh and had no relationship with a local credit union (or bank). We had no FI to turn to for help and guidance. That said, I’ve learned a lot as a first-time homebuyer, and I hope my experience can help readers of CreditUnions.com better target members (and non-members) for their first home loans.
Here are ways credit unions can reach first-time homebuyers, especially those of the millennial ilk.
Make it easy to find you. Unless we are already a member, us random townies might not know you exist or what you offer — even though your product might be perfect for us. According to the National Association of Realtors, nine in 10 homebuyers today "rely on the internet as one of their primary research sources," and 52% "turn to the web as their first step." If you are not building an online presence for your mortgage products through social media, digital ads, and local SEO strategies, first-time homebuyers won't see you.
Target your messaging. One-size marketing messages DO NOT fit all. The way you talk to first-time homebuyers must be different from how you talk to members who have bought in the past. And the way you talk to members has to be different from how you talk to non-members. The days of blasting the same message to your full list, or sending the same postcard to everyone, is over. Segment your list and send content that is relevant and personal.
Stay on top of your online reviews. Before we found a lender or a real estate agent, my husband and I read more than 100 online reviews from people who were both happy and unhappy with their providers. According to the Opinion Research Corporation, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, and one negative review can push away as many as 30 potential customers per Convergys. Asking happy borrowers for a review — and then monitoring and responding to positive and negative reviews on sites like Google, Yelp, and Facebook — will give potential consumers the information they need to feel comfortable partnering with you. As a bonus, it will also help your local search rankings.
Are you reaching first-time homebuyers in your market? Share what’s working by leaving a comment below.
— Matt Taylor contributed to this article.
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Click through the timeline below to see homebuying milestones and read more from the series. Come back to CreditUnions.com to read about the Taylors' experience in making an offer and financing a home loan.