Pairing new agents with first-time buyers pays off

Minnesota-based Barker Hedges Group shares how they successfully targeted a niche market

by Rob Chrane

I’ve written that real estate is missing a significant opportunity to reach first-time homebuyers and millennials who don’t know that they are qualified to buy a home today.

However, we do see agents, brokers and others in the real estate industry who are aggressively and successfully serving this growing market. (By the way, if you doubt that working with first-time homebuyers is going to be essential to your success, look at the latest demographic projections for this group.)

Meet Matt Barker and Brandon Hedges from Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota.

2014_05_28_0047I first noticed the Barker Hedges Group several years ago because of their website’s phenomenal click-to-lead conversions using our tool provided by NorthstarMLS. They have been most generous in helping us understand how they’ve built a successful business focusing on first-time homebuyers and education.

We commiserated over a warm lunch on a recent cold Minnesota day about why so many agents intentionally choose not to serve first-time homebuyers. On the surface, the answer may seem simple enough — bigger houses generate larger commissions. And I get that — I was a commissioned agent and loan officer for many years. keep reading

Homeownership programs set Realtors apart from the rest

barkerhedgesEngaging today’s buyers can be challenge. One way to start the conversation with a buyer is by sharing information about down payment assistance programs. Most homebuyers aren’t asking or looking for this information, but when you help them evaluate their options, you earn trust and may even help them buy sooner than they expected.

Minneapolis REALTORS® and NorthstarMLS members Brandon Hedges and Matt Barker share how providing details about available state and local homeownership programs opens up more opportunities for their business and their buyers.

“It gives us a jumping off point and a lot of people are able to start sooner than they thought.” – Brandon Hedges

New homebuyers Brian and Anna Englehart share how their Realtors and Down Payment Resource helped them see how they could get into a home and even have money left for some home improvements.

“…you really do need a Realtor who knows what they are doing and has time to really explore your options with you…” — Brian Englehart

Do you have a success story to share? Tell us at keep reading

New agent boosts business with first-time buyer focus

Josh Morris head shotJosh Morris is a public servant first. Prior to becoming a Realtor he was a firefighter, but after an injury prevented his continued service he sought a new career. Today, he keeps public service front and center as a Realtor serving first-time homebuyers in the Sarasota, Florida market.

Morris pays it forward—literally—by paying a portion of closing costs for clients who are veterans, firefighters, police officers, teachers and other types of civil service providers.

“My passion is first-time homebuyers. It’s what got me into real estate. After a negative experience with an agent who didn’t want to help me as a new buyer, I decided to get my own real estate license,” said Morris. “The first house I bought and sold was my own.”

And, Morris went on to sell 19 homes in his first year. In just 18 months, he earned a Rising Star Award, became a member of the Florida Realtors Young Professional Network and participated in the 2014 Sarasota Association of Realtors Emerging Leaders program.

Morris says he finds it amazing that many Realtors avoid first-time homebuyers. “First-time buyers become buyers again and they provide referrals,” he said.

Morris also uses technology to help his first-time homebuyers find their best home financing options. keep reading