“Consumers do discriminate. They want to work with people they feel comfortable with,” Dan Forsman, president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties told attendees at RISMedia’s Power Broker Forum Thursday at the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. Brokers learned about emerging market opportunities and the importance of showing cultural sensitivity in their work with clients.
Panelists offered insights about growing opportunities with Asian, Hispanic, and LGBT home buyers, including:
- Global is the new local. “When breaking into new markets and communities, you need to hire agents who speak the language” of that community, said Eddie Berenbaum, president and chief marketing officer of Washington, D.C.-area Century 21 Redwood Realty. More than just having agents who can work with a client on a transaction in their native language, “you need to do networking in their language,” he said. For many countries, it’s also essential to learn about how money transfers are handled and their economic issues.
- LGBT clients are looking for agents who are respectful and courteous. “You don’t need to be LGBT-identified,” said Jeff Berger, founder and CEO of the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals. “The community just wants to be treated fairly.” He noted that a recent market survey by NAGLREP indicated that 59 percent of LGBT millennials plan to have children, suggesting that the “family formation” prospects are trending up for this group. “Between this and the legalization of marriage equality, there will be a major impact on the real estate business,” Berger said.
- Hispanics are a young demographic. The median age of Hispanics in the United States is 29, which represents huge home-buying potential as 69 percent of new households formed in 2015 included people of Hispanic descent. “Hispanic buyers will drive the market. You’ll be left behind if you’re not involved,” said Joseph Nery, 2016 president of the National Association of Hispanic real Estate Professionals.
- The Asian-American market is larger than the Asian market, noted John Yen Wong, founding chairman of the Asian Real Estate Association of America. He noted that the life expectancy of Asians—87.5 years on average—is nine years longer than the overall population, which means that if you’re able to secure their loyalty, you can count on a sustained relationship.
Source: “Boost Your Business With Diverse Markets” (by Wendy Cole, REALTOR® Magazine, May 13, 2016)