Why you should adapt your strategy for female home buyers

by MPA25 Nov 2014
Men and women differ in their perspectives, motives, rationales and actions. So, it should come as no suprise that each has their own view on what he or she considers the most important aspect of a mortgage and your business strategy should reflect those differences. Everything from advertising style, message and media to customer interaction need to be adapted accordingly. 
Becky Walzak, president of Looking Glass Group and rjbWalzak Consulting and partner at MortgageTrueView, said while men tend to focus on the investment portion, women care more about the actual monthly mortgage payment. Walzack is a 30-year veteran of the mortgage industry with experience in all facets of mortgage lending. 
The disparity between the two sexes requires different tactics from mortgage professionals. Men look at the bigger picture and how long it will take them to get in positive equity, said Walzak. “From a broker’s perspective, it would be good to know, what the appreciation rate is in the neighborhood."
However, that may prove to be a challenge for mortgage professionals. “There have been some very positive numbers about the appreciation of properties, but we are still seeing a flat market,” Walzak added. “I think some of that is people don’t trust appreciation, which is something a broker is going to have to overcome, because you can’t promise equity growth.”
She recommended mortgage professionals appeal to the male thought process by emphasizing on how to gain more equity, such as through a 15-year mortgage, or making double principal payments.
Women have the final say
In traditional households, women often have the final say, as they make or influence 85% of all purchasing decisions, including everything from healthcare, auto and new homes, according to marketing website She-Economy.com. However, 91% of women said they feel companies don’t understand them. 
Most women tend to focus on how the mortgage payment will affect their day-to-day life. “Women are more traditionally looking at how much this is going to cost me monthly,” said Walzak. “Am I still going to have money left over to buy the clothes my kids want, or to get a spa day every once in a while? How much is this going to be from the spending perspective?”
She added that women typically manage the day-to-day errands of running a household, and therefore, are more familiar with the expenses required to run a family. Walzak suggested mortgage professionals sit down with women borrowers to discuss their monthly expenses. “You need to figure out what worries them the most.”
Another thing mortgage professionals can discuss to ease concerns is how equity can help decrease their monthly payments. “Give the options on how they can reduce their monthly payment. Talk about using equity to refinance their home.  Go through the different loan programs and calculate those payments.”
Also mortgage professionals should talk about worst-case scenarios the borrower may encounter and try to give them a game plan, she said. “They want to make sure they are not going to end up out on the street.”
Not all women are alike

Walzak emphasized that not all women fit into the reserved category, and depending on what stage in life they are in, can be more of a risk-taker.
For example, she said most millennial women are more likely to be risk-takers. “If they haven’t had children, they really haven’t had to deal with monthly and day-to-day expenses and may be willing to spend more on a monthly basis."
Women who are in the middle of their child-raising years are less likely to take risk because they have more expenses. However, they are still willing to think about their family’s potential income growth. “They are okay with it being tight for a year or so and will consider the long-term,” Walzak said.
Females in baby-boomer generation, who are preparing for retirement, focus much more heavily on the monthly mortgage payment. “They know all the monthly expenses and what their income is going to be. They want to know what happens if ‘Joe’ gets laid off tomorrow,” she added.


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