The S.W.O.R.D.S “Separated, Widowed, or Recently Divorced Singles” are increasingly entering the real estate arena, and if you have the right real estate skills and tools to help them, they can add to a powerful base in your sphere of influence.
According to the National Association of Realtors, in 2015 single women made up 15% of all home-buyers. And the bachelors? Last year they accounted for about 8% of total home buyers. So why are the single women that outpace the men nearly 2 to 1 often overlooked? It is often because we haven’t shed some of the home buyer stereotypes that we have carried around for years.
Debunking the myths:
Women make less money than men.
According to an article in Fortune, Laura Lorenzetti states “One of the most important factors when buying a home is income. Single women are earning more money. In cities like Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, and San Diego, there’s been a significant rise in the share of women earning more than $100,000 over the past three years. That hasn’t necessarily been true for men, whose share making over $100,000 decreased in Boston, Seattle, and San Diego, as a comparison.”
Women don’t want single family homes.
The days of men having the corner on home improvement skills is over. Most school systems have eliminated or made “shop” classes unisex, so there is no longer a skill set exclusive to men. According to the Fortune article “Single mothers and widows especially will make sacrifices financially because they have a strong desire to be a part of a community” as stated by Jessica Lautz, managing director of survey research for the National Association of Realtors. With all of the changes to a family brought about by becoming “suddenly single” staying in familiar surroundings is a choice most single mothers make.
Women take less risk than men.
The housing crisis that gripped the nation for nearly a decade has come to an end, and both men and women learned lessons. What still holds true is that home ownership is still the best way to build wealth. There are very few investments out there where you can leverage other peoples’ money (the bank) to build your own wealth.
Another interesting fact from the National Association of Realtors survey of Buyers and Sellers is that 90% of women buyers use a real estate broker. The typical woman buyer does more research and wants to work with a trusted adviser. This gives Realtors a special opportunity to earn the trust and business of their female consumers.
Here are 7 tips to help you develop your services to this special “niche” market.
- Feature resources like Florida School Grades on your website.
- Use IDX pre-set searches for gated communities, or other target neighborhoods
- Send your property listings with the embedded “rate plug” feature so payment information is readily available.
- Conduct “The Benefits of Home Ownership” seminars or offer a free “ebook” on your website.
- Offer to give 20 minute presentations to local women’s support groups.
- Take the time to do a thorough “Buyer Consultation” using a home buying flow chart or other “info-graphics” to take the mystery about the process and expenses associated with the purchase.
- Provide superior follow up and follow through to develop a loyal following… and ask for a testimonial or referral.
Working with First Time Home-buyers can be rewarding regardless of their gender, and take a moment to look at your contact list on your phone. Do all of the single women own their home? If not, take the time to ask them: “Have you ever considered building wealth through home ownership?”