Online home listings have made it easier than ever for home buyers to begin the process right on their computers or smartphones.
But according to research, this also means there’s a lot of untapped potential for putting the right information in their hands.
According to a study by the National Association of Realtors, among all generations of home buyers, the first step taken in the home search process was to look online for properties.
The next three steps included contacting a real estate agent, looking online for information about the home buying process, and contacting a bank or mortgage lender.
A 2021 consumer survey by Blend, a cloud-based banking platform, found that only 8% of people shop for a mortgage as their first step of the home buying process, despite the number of online lenders available just as easily as a real estate agent.
According to the survey, potential homeowners’ lack of education is a consistent barrier in the buying process. Many buyers, and especially first-time buyers, feel they lack the education they need to feel confident purchasing a home.
The survey found that while homeowners were knowledgeable about home warranties and the real estate agent’s commission and incentives, they lacked knowledge about the appraisal and closing costs.
The top challenges for consumers when buying a home were as follows:
- Understanding the closing process and timelines, 67%
- Obtaining an appraisal and understanding what the appraisal meant, 66%
- Getting final mortgage approval, 61%
- The home inspection, 60%
- Signing closing documents, 50%
- Obtaining homeowners insurance, 44%
- Purchasing title insurance, 39%
The report found that consumers have a significant interest in learning more about the home buying process from their mortgage lenders.
Seventy-eight percent of consumers said they’d like their lenders to educate them on the cost of homeownership, financing options, and the closing process, while 89% want a one-stop shop from their lender for all services involved in buying a home.
For mortgage marketers, these studies highlight the gaps in knowledge for homebuyers and the untapped potential for educating clients on the home buying process.
Buyers are thirsty for knowledge, experts say, and the best way to connect with mortgage clients is to develop a marketing strategy that meets their needs by addressing their many unanswered questions about the buying process.
A mortgage marketing strategy for lenders involves a clean, user-friendly website with clear lead paths, experts say. The website should be filled with helpful content that specifically addresses the needs of the clients.
Content examples include blog posts, videos, and infographics.
Developing a solid, research-backed digital marketing strategy can get complicated, experts say, so it may be in a lender’s best interest to first connect with a marketing expert or digital marketing agency that can help get things started.
In the meantime, experts say mortgage professionals should first take stock of their overall goals, their story, and what makes them unique.
Then, they can move on to listing out their clients’ most-asked questions and finding the best way to answer them with content via their website or social media.
Photo by ANTONI SHKRABA