Technology can be grand sometimes. This is especially true when you’re able to “pull back the curtain” on a certain population of people – say, prospective homebuyers – to get into their heads and see what they really think about this subject. That’s exactly what Google did recently.
The search engine giant collaborated within the mortgage industry to create the “Search for Home Snapshot.” The partnership examined exactly how and what people are searching for when it comes to the subject of homeownership. The data shows activity for first-time home mortgages is at an all-time high!
About 44 percent of searches within the mortgage category were for “first-time buyer mortgages.” This search term was up 11 percent from 2016, when interest rates were much lower!
THEY HAVE QUESTIONS, YOU HAVE ANSWERS
The stats go on to reveal affordability is most Googlers’ No. 1 search criteria, which is no surprise there. The top mortgage-related questions Google encountered were:
- How much mortgage can I afford?
- How much mortgage can I qualify for?
- What kind of mortgage can I afford?
So there you have it. Google has literally revealed the Wizard of Oz and he’s told you exactly how to get back to Kansas. Again, most of us could have told anyone who asked that affordability would be a key component of most American’s home buying criteria and concerns. Still, it’s helpful (and validating) to have their exact concerns revealed to us in the form of their most pressing questions.
On face value, these may not seem like difficult questions to answer. And they’re not. However, their exact phrasing should cause you to pause and determine how you would respond to these questions based on a number of demographics and criteria (i.e. credit score, down payment, home price, interest rate, desired product, employment history, etc.). These questions should help you prepare not just for customers actively seeking out a loan, but for targeting ideal prospects as you network and actively look for ways to increase your deal flow.
THE TRUTH CAN ALWAYS BE PHRASED NICELY
While we always want to be truthful and realistic with our clients, there are many roads you can take to reach the same ultimate conclusion. Make sure you’re well equipped to be as sensitive, diplomatic, optimistic and yet forthright as possible. This is what builds trust when a loan works out, and it’s what builds respect and loyalty when this is not the appropriate time or asset for them. Should circumstances change, or should someone within their network require a loan, your fair, honest, yet empathetic treatment will not soon be forgotten.
Another relatively predictable conclusion to the Google study was that fixed-rate mortgages are still the preferred product of choice for many searchers. The largest concentrated population of people seeking out home buying information comes out of the South (37 percent), according to Google, followed by the West (26 percent), Northeast (19 percent) and Midwest (18 percent).
Now that your arsenal of information has grown just that much stronger, go out and use it to fight the good fight!