Much has been written recently about the overall influence of the rapidly growing Hispanic community on the U.S. housing market. A recent study, however, has revealed that within that community, Latina woman have an immense amount of influence in their family's home buying process. As a result, real estate brokerages should focus on becoming more culturally diverse and creating marketing strategies directed to this very important segment of buyers.
Latina women and the U.S. housing market
In September 2015, the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals released a report in partnership with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate that found 91 percent of Latina women think buying a home is the best possible investment they could make.1 Even more, a majority of these women, 61 percent, feel they have more influence than their partners in making important home purchase decisions.
The study surveyed 1,000 Latina women, ages 25 to 60. Almost 60 percent said that it is their responsibility to research homes and neighborhoods, and 43 percent said they are the primary decision-maker when it comes to deciding which home to purchase and how to finance that purchase.
"...It's vital to understand that Latina women in particular are a driving force behind decisions related not only to the home, but the actual home-buying transaction process," Sherry Chris, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC said in the report. "It's our responsibility to educate the industry on the primary role these women have taken on as primary decision makers."
How real estate agents can win Latina clients
Making Latina clients feel comfortable and understood takes more than an agent who speaks Spanish. Of course it is a great start, as the NAHREP/Better Homes and Gardens survey found 48 percent of Latinas who are currently looking for homes would prefer their agent speak Spanish, but what will truly make Latina buyers want to work with your brokerage is demonstrating a keen understanding of their culture.
A 2014 study by the National Association of Homebuyers found that home buyers of different ethnicities actually demonstrate different priorities when searching for homes - with different preferences in factors such as square footage, number of bedrooms, preferred location for master bedrooms and number of stories.2 Taking the time to understand cultural preferences can make a big difference.
When it comes to language, Spanish speaking agents are great, but Boston Agent Magazine recommended also providing important documents in languages beyond English to increase the comfort of diverse clients.3
The Orlando Business Journal emphasized the need to understand the strong family values held by many Latinas.4 Many of these clients will probably rely on family members for advice and will want them around throughout the process, and real estate agents should expect and be sensitive to these needs. Even more, 34 percent of the Hispanic population would rather live in a less appealing home that is close to their family than an ideal home that is far away. Demonstrating a strong understanding of Latina values will help them feel more connected to and understood by their agent.
The first step to appealing to a diverse set of clients is building a diverse team of agents. Today's housing market is filled with people of so many different cultural backgrounds, and real estate agents should try to make everyone feel heard and represented. Boston Agent Magazine said crafting a strong call to action that highlights your culture of success is a great start in recruiting a wide variety of people.
1NAHREP/Better Homes and Gardens
2National Association of Home Builders
3Boston Agent Magazine
4Orlando Business Journal