October 2016

Are First-Time Homebuyers Back and Here to Stay?

  • View post

There were many positive headlines this month from various news outlets highlighting the continued growth in total number of real estate sales and growth in home prices. Aiding this growth is the percentage of potential buyers that will make up the next generation to influence the real estate industry and the economy – Generation Y, or the Millennials. The month of September was another solid month for real estate closings, according to the National Association of Realtors sales were up 2.8% over previous year with a total of 484K existing homes sold during the month. What drove the increase was the return of first-time homebuyers to a respectful level of 34% of all buyers being first-time purchasers during September, which is a level that has not been seen in over four years.

The three primary generations that made up over 90% of home purchases this year were the Baby Boomers, Generation X, and the Millennials.  The generation segments coincide with an explosion of growth in population after World War II, from 2.8 million annual U.S. births prior to the boom, to averaging over 4 million births for the period classified as the Boomer generation. The birth decline did not begin again until 1963, when the next demographic generation, Generation X, saw a decline in population growth through new births for a period that lasted until 1977.  Now, the Millennial generation has entered the prime years for buying a home and how they educate themselves about homeownership is very important to understand as they outnumber the amount of Baby Boomers with a total estimated population of over 83 million and are far more diverse than previous generations.

Millennials currently compose 35% of all homebuyers and I safely predict, from the stand point of the total number of them that percentage will increase in 2017 and beyond.  According to a recent survey published by Realtor.com, first-time buyers have increased to 52% of prospective buyers planning to buy a home in 2017.  This is up from 33% of prospective buyers that were first-time purchases when the company conducted the same survey the previous year. So, what makes this next generation of home owners different from previous generations but yet the same?

I am part of Generation X, which means I grew up with access to a computer in a classroom but the majority of learning took place from textbooks, and communication was in person or via the phone. Society and the media describes the Millennials as enthusiastic, tech-savvy, entrepreneurial and opportunistic – all good things!  Now for the negative labels: lazy, unproductive, and self-obsessed. I like the generation behind me, and hasn’t the label of being self-absorbed been a common description for everyone who is still growing up?

The ironic thing is those are the very similar descriptions that were placed on my generation.  We were the slacker generation because of the different music style, referred to as grunge or alternative rock, which was popular in the 1990’s. However, as a demographic group, Generation X became very independent and went to college at a higher percentage rate than the Baby Boomers before them.  We all age and mature, but the emotional needs of people that drive their behaviors remains the same.

So what will be different with the Millennials that will affect the housing market? They are delaying or eliminating marriage, but that is nothing new, as the average age of marriage and percentage of unmarried households has been going up since 1960. What is dramatically new is the way of communication. Since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, people have been able to be connected online through a mobile device 24/7.  It has always been a critical skill in business to know how to communicate effectively with your customer. As the Millennials will continue to dominate home sale purchases, communicating effectively and expediently with them will all be about how well agents tap into technology to market and respond to them. While personal referrals are critical for an agent’s success to grow their business, the latest surveys conducted by Zillow showed that 29% of Millennials found their agent online, bypassing the personal referral process. I expect that number will increase, and the number of first-time homebuyers will continue to grow.

How do you communicate effectively with this population demographic?  It actually starts before they contact you, as they begin to research the market long before they speak with a Realtor. For starters, you need to have a mobile strategy, a video strategy, and be easily found online with your agent brand visible to them in multiple online formats. In targeting this group, just like with any marketing campaign, you should focus on the buyer’s interests.  I like what the Minneapolis Association of Realtors is doing with its first ever campaign targeting first-time homebuyers. They are creating humorous 30-second videos that will be available on social media.  You can see their ads at MatchMakersForHomes.com. This makes sense, as the Millennials consume information more and more through brief video segments.

To learn more about building your business, be sure to join the many Baby Boomers, Generation X’s, and Millennials who are all part of United Real Estate and register to attend the United Convention! Go to: Unitedpalooza.com.

Peter Giese

President & Co-Founder

United Real Estate

The Best of Bob Dylan and How Going Electric Could Be Good for Your Career

  • View post

This past week Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize in Literature, making him the first musician to ever win the award.  I was not yet born when he started his journey from a controversial folk singer to a popular rock star, who plugged in an electric guitar at a folk music festival and in doing so went on to change the song writing process of popular music forever. I have to admit, I was also not old enough to remember the original releases of some of his famous songs that would blend poetry with music and lead to him receiving the Nobel Prize.  However, as a music fan I have enjoyed his songs and the first concert my wife and I saw together (over 14 years ago) was a Bob Dylan performance.  By that time his voice had faded, but the energy and passion had remained and the audience knew the words to all his hits.

I have read about the night Bob Dylan plugged in an electric guitar at the Newport Folk Music Festival and in doing so upset the purist of acoustic folk music fans, while at the same time elevating his career to superstardom. It was documented that some fans were booing him, thinking this type of innovation was not what was needed. Even at a music festival, people don’t like surprises or change.  The strange thing is people do like good surprises, who doesn’t like it when they find twenty dollars in the laundry machine, and successful people will change. Bob Dylan was right when he wrote the song The Times They Are a Changin’ in 1964. The times are always changing.

The change he made introduced an entire new audience to his music and changed the direction of popular music. It was a bold move as he expanded his audience and he was rewarded in his career and financially with now over 100 million albums sold, a Nobel Prize, and the respect from artists of all genres. A move, that some thought was crazy, paid off by embracing the inevitable change that was occurring in consumer tastes.

I think of how many people I’ve met, and businesses I have seen, that have not changed. They have stuck with the status quo and do not reach their potential, reach a larger audience, or go in the same direction where their customers are heading. In the business world this is easy to point to, as 57% of the companies on the Fortune 500 list in 1995 are no longer on the list. Just think of Blockbuster and you can get a clear idea of how competition, when properly using technology, can displace an incumbent brand. Netflix changed the customer experience making it more user- friendly, and as a company they continue to change.  They now added a streaming video service, which attacked their own original disruptive business model.

Take a look at your business and do an honest assessment of how you are keeping up with the demands of your current and future customers.  In real estate, this means embracing technology to enhance relationships, working mobile to meet the customer where they want to do business, and promoting your agent brand effectively online so potential clients see you as the right choice to assist them with the largest financial decision they will make in their lives. How do you go electric in real estate to reach a larger audience?  There is an entire new audience for you to reach who is digesting information in quick segments of video. In August 2016 alone, over 15.5 million videos were uploaded to Facebook generating over 236 billion views!

The real estate consumer’s behavior has permanently changed.  Last year 60% of people searching for real estate didn’t just look at properties online, they actively googled real estate agents to learn more about the agent they were thinking of contacting.  Those trends are not going to reverse, so plug into them by having your online profile positively positioned on all relevant websites and social media outlets.  Give it a try to go electric by plugging into an entire new generation of home buyers by filming an introductory video of your services and making it available on your website and Facebook page. It will be a good surprise to the next generation of homeowners, who don’t see many agents communicating with them how they want to be communicated with.

As for the best of Bob Dylan, here are my top three:

  • Like A Rolling Stone
  • Lay Lady Lay
  • Tangled Up in Blue

All the best, and I would love to hear about your success stories of implementing a video strategy into your businesses, and also, what are your favorite Bob Dylan songs?  I am certain we will see and hear from both of these categories at the United Real Estate convention in Austin!

Peter

Is Developing Grit The Key to Success for Your Business and Children?

  • View post

Success and fulfillment are common goals all parents have for their children, and also what all entrepreneurs have as goals for their businesses.  This summer my family relocated to Texas, with that move came the excitement of a new adventure, as well as the apprehension that comes along with change, including a new school for our children. It is certainly true that the type and quality of education for school aged children is different from state to state, city to city, and within different school districts.  We were very comfortable with the school environment we had been a part of in Florida, and wanted to replicate this experience in Texas.  Regardless of the school, there is always one child who is deemed to overachieve, and one who is categorized as not meeting their potential. I ask myself, what is one common factor that has such an important influence on an individual reaching full potential, or a business succeeding?

As the school year started, we became more excited about this fresh start for many reasons, but we were thrilled when we found out our new school is introducing a way to teach kids about grit.  Grit is a characteristic I have always firmly believed in to overcome the inevitable life challenges we all face, and thanks to the work of Psychologist Angela Duckworth, how to develop grit in children and apply it to your business is being made available to everyone.  In her famous TED talk and now best-selling book, Angela defined grit as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals,” and documented grit is a better indicator of future earnings and happiness than IQ or talent.

I am pleased my children’s school is using this research, not as another school assessment, but rather as a vehicle to build grit in the students.  The students are taught a simple way to remember the importance of building grit by using the acronym Growth, Resilience, Integrity and Tenacity.  After all, people and businesses generally won’t succeed if they don’t learn how to work hard, remain committed to their goals, persevere through struggles, and do not take short cuts.  It is these values we, as parents try to instill in our children, and it is powerful to see it supported in our new school environment.

Throughout my career, I have built several successful multi-million dollar businesses, having also conducted thousands of coaching calls with successful sales people and business owners; I know first-hand these same principals of having grit do hold true in the business world.  If it is important to instill these characteristics in your children, isn’t it equally as important to instill them in your business? The question an entrepreneur has to seek the answer to is this; how do they push themselves, making certain they have the optimism to reach their goals, knowing they will face rejection, feel uncomfortable, and receive no indication they are going to meet their desired outcome for months, years, or in some cases decades?  How do you, as an adult, become grittier to reach your goals?

The answer is complex, but there are some simple steps to get started. The three key factors I have found people should immediately focus on to build grit are:

  • Have a growth mindset – Learning is not finite and your commitment to research and learning about your profession should be a daily exercise. The goals of growth for a business should be large and a belief you can improve is a must to stay on course for the long run ahead.
  • Develop a routine of daily success – In order to end right, you have to start right, and that includes what you do when you start your day. Habits determine our behaviors and you want to develop good habits, not bad ones. Developing the commitment to daily exercise will give you a great feeling of improvement and control over your future.
  • Visualize success – If you train your brain to see success each day, you will begin to see the path to success in the real world – The old adage “I’ll believe it when I see it” is fine for the naysayers, not for the people who reach the pinnacle of success and fulfillment. Prosperous, thriving people stay motivated each day by visualizing their end outcome, knowing that setbacks are not a permanent state.

To learn more about Angela Duckworth’s work check out her TED talk

To find out where you currently rank you can take the grit assessment test

Best wishes on your success and enjoy the TED talk and grit assessment.  I would love to hear your story of success!

Peter

President & Co-Founder

United Real Estate

CAN YOU DEFINE FREEDOM?

  • View post

Freedom is a symbol of the American dream. The hope of freedom has attracted millions of people from across the world to come to America.  The idea that freedom has always been promised to people in the United States may be comforting, but certainly not factual. There is a checkered history of freedom in America being interpreted to be meaningful to an inclusive group while excluding others. As I travel and meet with people across the U.S., I am more interested in how they define freedom for their lives, as opposed to having a debate on the historical timeline of freedom in this country. After all, shouldn’t we know what freedom looks like and means to ourselves as individuals?

A common question I ask people I meet is “Can you give me a definition of freedom?” The reaction to this question usually brings the look of bewilderment and a quiet awkward silence.  When I give an approving nod and a look of assurance to those that I posed the question to, I often times get a response that typically falls into one of two categories.  Either 1) to have enough money to never work again, or, 2) to do whatever I want.

Both of those answers sadden me a little bit, as I believe we have a built in need to contribute. Most successful people who gain true fulfillment do so by the contributions they make in their career or business, that then afford them the opportunity to give back to their community and family.  The other reason, often stated as doing “whatever I want” is the leftover rebellion of teenage years and the desire to not have anyone tell them what to do.  With either response, the individual may be missing the fundamental truth that is associated with the pursuit of happiness.

At the 2016 United® Convention in New Orleans, we first introduced the Webster dictionary of freedom: The absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action. However, as with most things in life, obtaining freedom is more complex than that simple definition in the dictionary.

Find Your Freedom® is United Real Estate trademarked recruiting slogan for real estate agents to work in a modern, relevant brokerage that allows an agent to grow their business, their income, their satisfaction in work and in life. What our slogan expresses is the reality that having freedom is not the ability to do whatever you want to do, but rather freedom is the ability to do what you are supposed to do! And in real estate that means investing in yourself to improve your business knowledge, while having the resources and training available to generate clients to meet your business goals. This is the dream of living life absent of necessity. To reach this level, it is critical to know what steps to take, and how to take them. In addition, this journey requires help and support.

At the 2017 United Convention March 2-4 in Austin, Texas, we are going to give you the knowledge to do what you are supposed to do to have the best year in your business and happiness in your life. Our special guest is one of the most dynamic speakers you will ever see. Mel Robbins energized the United audience last year, and she will spend more time with us this year to assist and push all attendees to do what they should be doing to gain success and fulfillment.

To learn more about Mel and her message, you can view a brief video clip here

To find out more about the 2017 convention, go to Unitedpalooza.com.

Peter Giese

President & Co-Founder

United Real Estate