As we look toward 2021 with a hint of optimism about what lies ahead, I think real estate marketers would be wise to focus on a largely untapped opportunity: the Latino community.
Just like others in this country, many Latinos want to achieve the American dream. This dream can be elusive and difficult to define, but the pillars have traditionally been a stable career with upward mobility, educating children beyond the education you were able to afford and owning a home. This last one is critical, especially for immigrants. Purchasing a piece of land in your adopted country is fundamentally important in creating a sense of place, encouraging a long-term commitment and inspiring patriotism.
Latinos have made great strides in homeownership in recent years. According to the most recent State of Hispanic Homeownership Report by the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, which analyzes data directly from the U.S. Census Bureau, 2019 was the fifth year in a row that the Hispanic homeownership rate rose — with a net gain of 277,000 homeowners. Additionally, Hispanics have been responsible for 51.6% of growth in U.S. homeownership over the past decade.
Despite this forward momentum, the real estate industry still has room for improvement when it comes to serving the Latino community. From what I've seen, many companies don’t even bother communicating culturally with Latinos, even though we represent nearly 20% of the total U.S. population.
Drawing on my own observations and my experience working with real estate companies, here are a few lessons that I think agency and in-house marketers would be wise to heed when engaging this demographic.
Culture, Not Language
Too often in the past, companies targeting the Latino cohort would do so by merely translating a press release or advertisement and assuming that would do the trick. In reality, this market craves authenticity and typically responds well to companies that take the time to consider the nuances of Latino culture. Real estate companies would be wise to hire outside experts who focus on the U.S. Hispanic demographic.
Insights, Not Stereotypes
Similarly, there is a tendency to rely on outdated clichés, such as advertising with folkloric music, only appearing once a year to “celebrate” Cinco de Mayo or heavily featuring Mexican food when that only speaks to a single country of origin. Throw out the stereotypes, do your homework and lean into the elements of your real estate brand that can organically engage Latino subsegments.
Households, Not Individuals
One cliché about the Hispanic market that happens to be true is that we are more likely to live in multigenerational households. A typical Latino home might include three or even four generations, and each one can be critical in making the decision to buy a home. For that reason, marketing strategies should often aim to connect with older generations who may be out of the workforce as much as the younger breadwinners.
Overall, the real estate industry appears to be bouncing back well from a difficult year, but companies will need to be smart to ensure a viable future. One clear place on which to focus is the Hispanic demographic. To effectively engage Latinos, remember these lessons and apply them in your communication efforts.