SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (11/23/15)--Consumers tend to buy homes in late spring or summer--the weather is nicer and kids are out of school. But the best time to attract buyers’ attention if credit unions want to close more mortgage deals is just after the new year begins, according to data from CU Realty Services, a credit union service organization (CUSO).
CU Realty reviewed the last five years of registration activity and usage to identify marketing opportunities for its credit union clients. In doing so, the CUSO discovered that an average of 22% of registrations to its online real estate portal by credit union members come in during the months of March and April.
“We believe that once the holidays are over, buyers are finding the time to get more serious about the goals they set for themselves in the new year,” said Tandy Vincent, CU Realty Services director of marketing. “Especially as it relates to buying a new home since this decision typically takes a long time.”
The CUSO’s research also revealed that members who registered with the program in the first quarter of the year were more likely to close on a purchase mortgage loan. From 2010 to 2014, an average of 16.2% of users who registered in the first quarter resulted in a closing, or are under contract. The remaining quarter’s average varies from 14.5% to 15.3%.
“Armed with the knowledge of when members are starting to focus on real estate decisions, credit unions can maximize their reach by adjusting their marketing schedules,” said Vincent. “And it appears that January and February are proving to be the best months to start promotions.”
Nearly half of homebuyers start their search online, and then connect to a real estate agent, according to the National Association of Realtors. Getting a mortgage is a typical last step. Vincent said credit unions should get out in front by shifting away from being seen by members as just a lender.
The first step is to offer real estate-related services and programs to help members make smart buying decisions about real estate. “If messaged successfully, when a member is thinking of buying a home, they will think of their credit union and its services first,” she said.