3 Things You Should Know About Hispanic Homebuyers
By: Bridget McCrea
National Hispanic Heritage Month is the perfect time to hone your sales and marketing strategy in a way that speaks to the nation’s growing Hispanic population.
Each year from September 15th to October 15th, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
Hispanics lead the nation in net household formations and are expected to drive one-third of the total U.S. household gains between 2015-2025, according to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. And despite low homeownership rates on a national level, Hispanic homeownership rates increased for the second consecutive year, the only ethnic demographic with an increase, according to The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP®).
“Going forward, half of all new homeowners will be Hispanic,” says Keith Bickel, neighborhood lending & mortgage policy executive at Bank of America. Bickel sees real estate professionals playing a key role in helping those buyers into homes, and says REALTORS should be keeping a close eye on these three trends:
- These buyers have a high-tech bent. Hispanics are into technology, and they expect their real estate professionals, lenders, and other providers to share their passion for mobile devices, laptops, tablets, and other gadgets. “Three-quarters of Hispanics are apt to use a mobile device,” says Bickel, “and about half of them access financial applications on those devices. This presents quite an opportunity for the tech-savvy professional who can meet customers on this level.”
- Yet language barriers persist. Real estate professionals who want to work with Spanish-speaking customers are going to have to learn the language or risk losing business. Bank of America, for example, employs about 700 multilingual loan officers (400 of whom speak Spanish fluently). “Those individuals have to go through a rigorous internal process to be certified as multilingual,” Bickel says, “and are well trained on how to work effectively with our non-English-speaking customers.”
- They love mobile technology. Hispanic buyers don’t mind taking a hands-on approach to the home search. In fact, they relish it. This opens the door for real estate professionals who develop mobile applications that customers can, in turn, use on their own time to look for homes, shop for mortgages, and cross other things off their “to do” lists. For example, Bank of America offers a mobile “Real Estate Center” that buyers can use to shop for homes, look at neighborhoods, explore statistics on those areas, and find out more about the lender’s affordable loan solutions (and other products). “We pull it all together for them,” says Bickel, “and put it right on their fingertips.”
Bridget McCrea is a freelance writer based in Dunedin, Fl