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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   October 2017

Moving Millennials Off the Wall

Educating young homebuyers may be the best way to reach this market

Moving Millennials Off the Wall

According to Realtor.com, 52 percent of mortgage borrowers in 2017 will be first-time homebuyers, and 61 percent of those will be under the age of 35. This is exciting news about millennial homebuyers­­ — who have been delaying purchasing — which will provide great opportunities for those originators who can understand and reach this expanding market.

The first step to reaching the millennial market is to understand the challenges, questions and needs that have kept them standing on the sidelines. Only then can you design an action plan to help educate them and move them off that wall.

A JD Powers Mortgage Satisfaction Survey revealed that millennials seek guidance. In fact, 37 percent of millennial borrowers indicated the origination process was not completely explained to them, and 58 percent indicated their options, terms and fees were not completely explained. Providing videos, information, how-to guides and online education can help provide millennials the guidance they seek.

According to the National Association of Realtors, 94 percent of millennial homebuyers start their home search online. So, why not provide education online on how to qualify, save, plan and go through the homebuying process? This information will help millennials conduct their research, and can place your branding and marketing in front of potential clients who are actively searching to purchase a home.

Begin by determining your message. Millennials want information and education. Consider what you know that will help them through the process. You can use education to market your expertise as well as educate borrowers throughout the process. It is best to divide your plan into segments that include establishing yourself as an expert and providing answers to questions, explaining the process and sharing stories.

Show your expertise

Millennials are searching for information, so why not position yourself as an expert? You can provide education on loan programs, downpayment assistance plans, saving for a first home, finding the best Realtor, mortgage insurance, home insurance, appraisals and more. The topics are endless.

Establishing yourself as an expert is one of the most effective ways to utilize education and build your brand. To broadcast your expertise, consider including videos, blog posts, articles, podcasts, radio shows, webinars and online courses within your expertise as part of your lending plan.

Once you establish your expertise, why not include Q&A webinar segments on your blog or website as a way to answer questions posed by millennials? You can even partner with local real estate agents to hold online Q&A forums. Set it up as a webinar where you interview agents who can invite potential homebuyers, who are allowed to ask questions upon registration.

You can use education to market your expertise as well as educate borrowers throughout the process.

You can start a Q&A segment with as few as five to seven questions and build from there. Make your blog searchable with key words and include a recording of your webinars. You can build on your Q&As by holding a monthly webinar and inviting real estate agents to invite their guests as well.

Millennials want answers, so provide them a means to ask questions, and then utilize the opportunity to establish yourself as the expert and build your business. 

Explain the process

Mortgage processing is where most millennials get lost and an area that few originators focus on. Think about it: When you meet a borrower to take an application, you go through a laundry list of information. You may shoot them an e-mail afterward that explains some of the process, but that can get lost in translation.

The best way to explain the process is by creating a series of how-to videos that provide step-by-step instructions borrowers can review. Go through the timelines; documents they will need; how to submit information; what happens in underwriting; and information to help them understand disclosures, mortgage insurance, downpayments and debt-to-income calculations.

Just like establishing yourself as an expert, explaining the lending process has limitless topics. Keep your information flowing in a way that makes sense, however, and deliver it in a way borrowers can access on their own time. You can deliver videos in an online university or blog, for example, organized chronologically from application to closing.

Share stories

Millennials want stories about others who have been able to save to buy a home. They want to hear about homes in their neighborhoods. This is the last piece of your millennial education plan.

To build a collection of stories, always ask your clients for testimonials and successes. See if your new homebuyers will let you join them as they cross the door into their first home, then record the event for them. Create a cool emotional video set to music and call it your “Coming Home” series.

Be sure to have your clients release the video to you and allow you to post it on your website, social media channels and YouTube. Add a header, and your branding and contact information, in the footer of the video. The great thing about video is that it gets watched and shared. Be sure to share the video with your new homeowners and watch how often the video is shared.

Now that you have a plan, let’s look at some technology tools you can use to create that millennial homebuying education program.

Video is king

If you are not using video content you won’t reach the millennial market. According to online marketing site WordStream, marketers who use video grow revenue 49 percent faster than nonvideo users, and social video generates 1,200 percent more shares than text and images combined.

There are several options for shooting good video today, including digital cameras, mobile phones, tablets and even computers. When shooting, be aware of noise that may decrease your audio quality, and keep your background uncluttered and relevant. You may even want to purchase a green screen or white screen to provide a clean slate for including your logo and call-outs.

If you want to truly position yourself as an expert … you must create an online knowledge center.

Once you shoot some footage, you will need video-editing software to put it all together. Camtasia is easy to use, reasonably priced and includes easy-to-follow instructions. Adobe Premier offers more editing capabilities, but has a longer learning curve and options you may not need. You can get audio music to add to your videos at sites like AudioBlocks, as well as stock photos at iStock, Getty Images, etc.

Keep your videos about three to five minutes long, and add an introductory header and ending. Don’t go for a long intro. Keep it short and sweet, and get to your content in order to hold your audience’s attention.

Delivery methods

Once you have your content, you need to get eyes on it. YouTube, webinars and knowledge centers are all excellent delivery methods.

Use YouTube for all of your “Establishing Yourself as the Expert” and “Sharing Stories” videos. Basically, use YouTube for any videos you want found by potential clients. Your YouTube plan should be for your business-building activity and social media strategy.

Begin by creating a YouTube page and categories where you will post your videos. Get on a regular schedule for posting every week. You can embed your videos onto your blog if you have one and, of course, include them in your social media strategy. You can increase your search ranking on YouTube by adding closed captioning to your videos. YouTube is focusing on this area, so when you add this free option to your videos, you can increase your likelihood of showing up in a search.

There are several webinar-hosting sites. The best-known may be GoToWebinar, but consider using some newer technologies like WebinarJam, Zoom and Tovuti. WebinarJam offers software where you simply upload a recorded video and it becomes an automated webinar. This is cool technology but it needs someone who knows how to save an MP4 file onto Amazon Drive and embed HTML code.

If you want to truly position yourself as the expert and build your business in the millennial market, however, you must create an online knowledge center. Millennials like learning and they have probably completed a course or two online, so offering them a place where they go to find information on loan programs, processes and more will showcase you as the true expert.

There are many options out there for creating your own knowledge center, including LearnDash, which is a WordPress plug-in; Kajabi, which is an online course-management system; and Tovuti, which offers a complete social-learning platform to truly build an online presence and house all of your training.

• • •

Creating education for millennials does not have to be complicated. Those originators who embrace using education as a part of their marketing and branding plan will see results in a relatively short period of time. It’s worth an investment of your time to create your plan and help educate the millennial market on the benefits of homeownership.


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