Zillow’s Premier Agent program emphasizes key focal points to help their constituents succeed in 2019’s changing real estate marketplace.

Whether or not you subscribe to this program, take advantage of the insights that make the most sense to you, courtesy of Zillow.

  1. Empathize and appreciate the thinking of first-time buyers. Almost half of the people buying homes in 2019 are/will be first-time buyers. Most first-time buyers, 85% of them, will buy their home with a mortgage and most of those buyers have more obstacles in their paths toward homeownership (student loan debt, lower ability and wages to save for a down payment, lower credit scores) than repeat/move-up buyers. First timers, due to having more obstacles, are more willing to compromise in terms of buying a smaller home and increasing their commute time. 56% of first-time buyers have children and 43% of first-timers choose to live in the suburbs.
  2. Help buyers think through the essentials and realities of financial planning. Providing buyers with specifics about financing homeownership is an opportunity for you to build trust with your clients. For example, the reality is that more than half of buyers put down less than 20% as a down payment. The reality is that half of all first-time buyers rely upon their agent for a referral to a home lender. The reality is that potential buyers with less than perfect credit histories do have lending options. All of these realities are built upon listening to each client’s needs and responding to those needs with clear, trustworthy information.
  3. Be a strategic partner with your client. Your customer’s experience is tantamount to a successful transaction. Communicate your responsiveness and trustworthiness from the get-go (80% of all clients value these two traits in an agent above all else, including respect and expertise.) Remember that most younger buyers contact multiple agents before choosing their agent so be on your toes. Remember that younger buyers (all buyers, actually) want instant results so be responsive and engaged with your client’s desires/needs from day/hour/minute one.
  4. Zillow thinks it’s important that agents know the best time to sell. And that time is May…when prices are highest and DOM is lowest
  5. Be prepared for slowly, steadily rising interest rates and worsening affordability. Zillow anticipates interest rates to rise to 5.8% in 2019. Such rates have not been seen since 2008 and such rates will eclipse slower climbing home values/appreciation. Make sure to tell you clients about these projections AND to tell your clients when rates are particularly low…like right now!
  6. The frequency and magnitude of natural disasters will rise in 2019. The projections for flood losses due to rising sea levels are not encouraging. The same is true for fire losses. Higher insurance premiums for flooding and fires are anticipated for 2019. Higher costs for construction materials and designs to protect houses from natural disasters are also forecast for 2019. Communicate with your clients!

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