I recently had the privilege of attending a social media conference with some of the most brilliant minds in social media. I heard some jaw-dropping insights.
But there was one talk that had me floored:
“It will take forever to save 20 percent, which most of us don’t have, especially considering our student loans. By the time we save 20 percent, years will have gone by, and we could have invested that money elsewhere. Millennials should not buy homes but use that money for other investments,” said the social media influencer matter-of-factly as a handful of us lounged around after the conference sessions.
Shut the front door
This was misinformation on several levels that I had to correct. Unfortunately, I could tell this was not his first time using his influence to paint an inaccurate view of real estate, but I wasn’t going to sit back and let it happen. Nor should you.
I had to clue him (and the group) in on what we real estate professionals know — that there are many viable options for one’s downpayment monies for a home. There are loan, downpayment and grant programs available and not just for low-income consumers:
- Hello! What about doctor loan programs (that lends millions for no downpayment) like at Fidelity Bank?
- Howdy! Don’t forget co-investors like Unison that’ll match between 5 percent and 20 percent of the value of the home.
- Why hi there, 100 percent closing costs paid by builders like Kerley Family Homes.
- How do you do? Think no downpayment options for qualified Ph.D.s, accountants and financial analysts with lenders like Waterstone Mortgage.
- Welcome to the party conventional, FHA, VA, USDA and other loans that only require a small (no, in some cases) downpayment.
But who cares what real estate agents know if it is quietly kept to ourselves. You already know “the squeaky wheel is what gets the oil.”
We must squeak, ya’ll! This is why at social media workshops I get on my soapbox about how we, real estate professionals, must be on social media, and we must be advocates (aka influencers) for housing.
We must change the narratives that say:
- Homeownership is out of reach
- Buying a home robs your savings
- I can’t buy a home with student loans
And whatever else is being spoken outside the earshot of trusted real estate professionals.
Often, in social media workshops, I hear from agents attending that they are done with social media. They are over seeing pictures of the OOTD (outfit of the day), what someone just ate or whatever other perfectly angled and staged photo is on display as reality.
Yet, I stress that we must remain and become active on social media to make sure homeownership has an advocate — us.
We must tell the heartwarming and triumphant stories of homebuying clients achieving what is still an American dream for many (with their consent of course).
We are first-hand eyewitnesses. We are first real estate responders with a story to tell (again with consent). We must share the programs that make homeownership feasible.
In every class, after I have gotten on my soapbox, there is a moment of silence accompanied by smiles and smirks as attendees start to ponder how many programs could benefit homebuyers (if those buyers only knew) and the power of using social media to get the word out.
Here in Georgia, for example, we have roughly 66 programs that again are not limited to only low-income buyers. That could translate into just one post a week for well over a year (for those of you who have been racking your brain about what content to post online).
Imagine the good and goodwill that would be created just by us being true champions of the best that the real estate industry has to offer would-be buyers.
Yes, if you start sharing these wonderful programs that most consumers are completely unaware of and the real-life success stories of your clients using them, you will generate leads, a necessary byproduct so that you stay in business!
Beyond an individual agent’s success, however, is the big picture. We need to stand up for our industry, combat misinformation and energize our human connections to the wider community.
I am all about doing #BusinessGrowthChallenges, so here’s one for those of you that want to join me in this type of homeownership advocacy:
- Post at least once a week on your social media accounts about a different beneficial program that can help real estate buyers buy and/or sellers sell.
That’s it. It sounds easy, and it is easy, plus it will make an enormous impact on both your personal business and our real estate community at large.
Every time I share one of these great programs, the agents I work with are floored by the number of leads that result (I have generated hundreds from just a few of the posts I have down on my IG Stories. You can see examples here). It’s a win for you, and it’s a win for our industry, so let’s do this.
Lee Davenport is a licensed real estate broker, trainer and coach. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Google+, or visit her website. This post comes from her book, Profit with Your Personality.