Tracey Shell, Vice President, Director of Marketing Communications
Down payment assistance marketing strategies for loan officers are essential for homebuyer business growth. The future of the market is here. A 2019 TransUnion analysis found that the next three years are expected to produce more first-time homebuyers than any other point since the start of the recession — at least 8.3 million. However, this group has some hurdles to overcome before they can reach their homeownership goal. Saving for a down payment is the primary obstacle.
While you might be telling new homebuyers that they don’t need 20% down, are you also highlighting down payment assistance (DPA) programs? If you’re not, you may be left behind. The Clever 2020 Millennial Homebuyer Report found that 31% of millennial homebuyers are planning to use a first-time homebuyer assistance program to help with their down payment.
This means more consumers will be researching their options and asking their loan officers and agents about down payment solutions. With approximately 2,400 programs available across the U.S., there are many options for today’s buyers. Plus, Down Payment Resource’s Q4 2019 Homeownership Program Index reported an increase in programs for community service roles, including educators, police officers, firefighters and healthcare workers. It’s something more communities are considering to help improve affordable housing options.
So, how can you educate more buyers and make a positive impact on your business? Here are 4 ways you can power your marketing and referral business with down payment assistance content:
1. Start a conversation
Where are you meeting consumers? Today it’s more likely they’ll discover you via your website or social media presence than in person, as modern consumers want to research online before engaging with a professional. Let’s think about what information you’re sharing there. Sure, news about the latest interest rates is helpful, but that’s also expected. What if you could show potential homebuyers that there are solutions to their down payment problem? What if you told them about the benefits available? What if you helped them realize they could afford a home when they previously thought it was impossible?
Try one of these options: As a loan officer, create a social media post or section on your website that highlights a buyer who used down payment assistance, answer a common question about DPA, or feature a specific program or agency that administers the program. Raising awareness of down payment assistance will position you as someone who is there to serve – and maybe even turn some home searchers into homeowners!
2. Be the expert for your referral partners
Real estate agents tell us one of the main reasons they don’t bring up down payment assistance is that they aren’t experts in the topic — and they don’t want to be. Agents are actively seeking knowledgeable loan officers who know how to nurture first-time homebuyers and manage the process of applying for down payment help. If you can help their new buyers – and do it well – you’ll also earn other leads. By working together, you and the agent will be delivering the kind of valuable education and service that new homebuyers are eager to share with others.
3. Offer actionable detail
Don’t just highlight that programs are available in general — give them next steps and a reason to contact you. The average down payment assistance benefit is more than $9,000. That could make a big difference for a prospective homebuyer. Consider creating a series of short educational videos about DPA eligibility and getting pre-qualified for a home loan or offer up a handy homebuyer checklist to download. TransUnion’s survey found that only one-third of the respondents said they actually understood the home buying process. Let’s all do our part to improve that! Here’s one way you can help: add your leads to an ongoing series of emails that will help educate and prepare them for homeownership.
4. Pinpoint specific down payment assistance programs
While highlighting the fact that down payment help is available is always good, what if you could personalize that experience for your borrowers and really show them what could work for their situation? Modern buyers want the power to do the research themselves, often in the comfort of their couch; after all, 75% of all 2018 homebuyers found their homes on their phone.
One great option is a lead generation tool that also helps borrowers quickly research their own program eligibility: Down Payment Connect. Down Payment Connect is a new, subscription-based DPA look-up tool that helps loan officers match buyers to eligible DPA programs.
Here’s how it works: Loan officers share a personalized landing page via their website, social media, and referral partners’ pages. When a buyer searches for programs on this landing page, the lead is delivered right to your inbox along with the buyers’ preliminary program eligibility. You’re immediately providing information buyers are eager to discover when they fill out the form, and then you can follow-up to help answer any questions and walk them through the full homebuying and DPA process!
For more information on down payment assistance news and trends, download the latest Down Payment Report!
The opinions and insights expressed in this blog are solely those of its author, Tracey Shell, and do not necessarily represent the views of either Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation or any of its parent, affiliates, or subsidiaries (collectively, “MGIC”). Neither MGIC nor any of its officers, directors, employees or agents makes any representations or warranties of any kind regarding the soundness, reliability, accuracy or completeness of any opinion, insight, recommendation, data, or other information contained in this blog, or its suitability for any intended purpose.
Director of Marketing Communications, Down Payment Resource
Tracey Shell is VP of Marketing Communications for Down Payment Resource and editor of its homebuyer blog and industry reports. Down Payment Resource helps its business partners connect homebuyers to the down payment help they need to buy a home.