Through all of life’s highs and lows, there’s truly no experience like buying a home — especially your very first one. As a builder, you know that first-time home buyers are a unique demographic to understand and market to, considering they’ll experience a momentous life event at a (typically) younger age.
Whereas move-up buyers have been through the process and know what to expect, first-time buyers are unaware of what’s to come beyond the research they’ve completed. You have a unique opportunity to not only appeal to your potential first-time home buyers with the right marketing tactics, but to build trust and assure them that their experience with you will be stress free, easy, and enjoyable.
Highlight the Benefits of a New Home:
First-time home buyers aren’t just looking for the features of new, they’re looking for the benefits of new. So while your high-end finishes are great selling points, don’t forget to market the new experiences and lifestyle they’ll get to enjoy in one of your comfortable, contemporary homes and communities.
For example, if you offer modern options like a multi-generational suite, highlight and promote the comfortable, flexible lifestyle that this option creates along with its physical features. Whether it’s used as a home office, as space for children to learn virtually, or as a living area for an aging parent, this kind of feature provides unmatched flexibility that’s not necessarily available in a resale home.
Share Educational Information:
The process of buying a home can seem overwhelming, especially for a younger, first-time buyer. This is where your years of knowledge and expertise come in. Build trust with potential buyers by spelling out your process in a way that’s straightforward, honest, and easy to understand, such as with a Path to Ownership on your site.
Particularly now that the buying process has become more virtual, make sure to keep buyers aware of exactly what has changed, and how you’re committed to making their process convenient and easy. First-time buyers don’t know what to expect, so it’s your responsibility to make them feel confident and informed in your marketing. Think about a dedicated “Virtual Process” on your site, emails promoting virtual appointments, reviews from buyers who have bought virtually, Instagram story polls about what buyers might like to see, blogs about the fun of virtual tours from anywhere, and social posts highlighting how easy it is to buy virtually.
Emphasize the Benefits of Owning a Home:
It’s understandable that first-time buyers might not feel assured that they’re in the right position to own a home at this point in their lives. It’s your job to prove to them that owning is attainable, and to demonstrate the long-term benefits of owning a home vs. renting (or buying resale).
We recently created a campaign that spelled out a clear message: “If you can rent, you can own. If you can own, you can buy new.” Our goal was to make new-home ownership stand out as a viable option for first-time buyers, despite concerns or lack of confidence. We used bold colors and fonts to make it clear that owning a new home is entirely possible (and not overwhelming).
There’s a time and a place for a “sales-y” tone, but that’s few and far between with first-time buyers, especially millennials. This demographic is a no-nonsense group of people that wants to be spoken to with candor, not condescension. They’re certainly not interested in a brand that comes across as disingenuous… so make it a priority to communicate your brand promise and personality in an honest way.
Solidify Your Rep:
Now more than ever, your reputation can make or break a decision. First-time home buyers are the most digitally savvy demographic, and will certainly look at online reviews before considering you. Make sure that your reviews are strong and accurately reflect your value! You can start by encouraging your current homeowners to leave a positive review.
Buyers still hope for a level of personalization in their first home. They want this place to feel special and unique, which is why your new homes offer extraordinary value over resale. Highlight the fact that with your exclusive customization and personalization options, they have the power to choose what their home looks and feels like, from their cabinets and countertops to lighting and flooring.
Make it clear that buying a resale home, on the other hand, means settling for someone else’s choices — because why should they have to do that? Post two photos of two distinct kitchens on Facebook, and ask which style buyers prefer. (Start a conversation!) Send out an email highlighting the unique lighting options that buyers can choose to bring their home to life. There are so many ways to prove to buyers that the choice is theirs, which is something that any resale home simply cannot offer.
Consider the Platforms:
The sales funnel is always evolving to make way for new platforms. Stay on top of where this demographic “lives,” from social media sites like Instagram to Zillow and everywhere in between. You need to show up where they are, and provide them with the information that they want and need at each particular point.
For example, you may already know that the popularity of video content continues to grow with this demographic, but are you incorporating video into your digital funnel? Do you do live tours on Facebook? Do you post video stories on Instagram? First-time buyers want to be understood, and if you provide the type of content that they’re used to and looking for, you’ll not only pique their interest, but begin to build trust that you’re tapped into their mindset.
Helping a buyer find and settle into their very first home is an experience (and an honor) unlike any other. You have the ability to make this life event unforgettable — and the first step is communicating with them the right way. With these recommendations in mind, you’ll not only effectively target first-time buyers, but create a relationship that sets them on a path to lifelong happiness.