News flash: “Millennials like to share stuff on social media.” Yes, this is about as shocking as saying avocado toast should be its own food group. But it can’t be overstated that millennials really, really love to chronicle every life moment. Even the once-private marriage proposal is no longer sacrosanct. So it’s hardly surprising that they—and, yes, buyers in other age groups too—are eager to post photos of themselves showing off their newly purchased home, whether it’s their first or their third time through.
Whether they rely on their agent to snap their close-up, hire a pro photographer, or take selfies, they’re telling the world that buying a home is a big deal. And that’s a golden marketing opportunity for agents as well.
Something to Talk About
Liz Smith, ABR, SRS, an agent with RE/MAX Results in St. Louis, has been capturing her buyers’ big moment for four years, since she started her business. “Now when I get referrals from past clients, the [referrals] ask, ‘When do we do the photo shoot?!’ ”
Kyle Schulze, an agent with Berkshire Hathaway Home-Services, Ambassador Real Estate in Omaha, agrees. “The practice stirs up a lot of conversations,” he says. “Facebook has an algorithm that recognizes milestones, like buying housing and having a child—and those posts reach more people. So these posts get a lot of likes and comments, and then their friends are interested in buying, too.” Shortly after Schulze closed with one of his clients, Heather Mangiameli, and they both posted photos, he got two referrals from her friends.
Buyers like Mangiameli, a marketing manager who bought her first home at 24, are rightly proud. “It was a big accomplishment for me,” she says. “I always had a strong work ethic. I bought my first car at 20. My mom always encouraged me to save money. One day after writing my rent check, I did the math and decided it was time for the next investment in my life.”
So when she closed on her three-bedroom, just-remodeled home, Mangiameli was revved to capture the big day. “I told Kyle I didn’t want a regular Sold sign. I wanted to do something cool and different.” Inspired by the reality show “Say Yes to the Dress,” Schulze ordered a giant key prop for her shoot with the words, “I said yes to the address.” He also emblazoned the key with his contact info. “I typically get an average of 20 likes,” Mangiameli says. “I got about 400 likes on that photo. And the feedback was that no one had seen that before.”
Schulze says he got a good number of likes, comments, and congratulations on his feed, too. The beauty of this marketing is that I’m getting my name into the consumer’s feed.”
Portrait of a Buyer
So hot is this practice that some buyers are opting for a professional shoot. Morgan and Joey Cabibbo, of Boerne, Texas, tapped their wedding photographer, Dawn Richardson, to take an album’s worth of new-home photos. “We wanted to capture a big moment in our lives,” Morgan says. “We’d have it forever.”
In fact, Richardson encourages her subjects to opt for prints, not just digital photos, so one day their “great grandkids [will] find your first-home photos and wedding photos in the attic.”
More Ways to Spin Off a Great Idea
The closing photo can be just the beginning of the memories. Kyle Schulze plans to send his buyers cards featuring that photo on the anniversary of the house purchase. Anna Kolm, with Manor Windsor Realty Ltd. in Windsor, Ontario, frames the photo and makes it part of her closing gift.