Published on May 27, 2021
Robert Louis Stevenson once famously told us “don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
There’s a lesson in there for everyone in terms of keeping a sound perspective on our daily productivity and accomplishments. But it’s especially applicable to those of us in lifestyle community sales and marketing.
The good news for our industry is that there’s been plenty of harvest to reap lately. Despite a lot of economic uncertainty over the past 12 months, the lifestyle community homebuyer market has been exceptionally strong.
Demand is high, inventory is low, and you think you have too many leads.
But in reality — and regardless of market trends…
Age-targeted consumers looking for lifestyle communities have unique research habits and longer sales cycles, it’s that simple.
In fact, recent PCR research revealed that a whopping 81% of lifestyle homebuyers said “within 2 years” when asked how soon they planned to buy.
Why so long?
Well, before turning 65, many active adults between 55 and 64 years old are beginning their search for maintenance-free living that aligns with their ideal retirement lifestyle. The key here is “beginning their search.”
There are a lot of factors that motivate their research — and hold them back from making a quick decision. Whether they’re just throwing out initial feelers, are a little skittish when it comes to economic issues, or have other homes to liquidate before they can make a commitment, they’re taking their time in shopping a lot of different communities and doing their due diligence.
And just because the market is hot right now doesn’t mean your prospect’s research and purchasing habits have changed. Sure, some may be compelled to convert quickly because of current conditions. You’re probably seeing a lot of this happening now — it’s a good place to be, we get it.
But there will always be those in the active adult market that require 18 months or more of careful nurturing before they’re ready to pull the pin.
It’s these same lifestyle buyers that are engaging in many different places: they’re browsing portal sites like PCR, keeping up with social media, and receiving marketing emails from a variety of developers and communities. They’re consistently digesting an influx of information about your community (and your competitors) — for months if not years.
Markets heat up, markets cool down. When asked by Kiplinger about the housing demand through the rest of the year, Realtor.com’s chief economist Danielle Hale had this to say:
If we’re in for a “weaker fall” as Hale projects, what will your community inventory and sales look like 6 months from now?
Having matched lifestyle communities with their ideal buyers for more than 25 years now, we at PCR have seen our share of real estate ebbs and flows. When things are flowing, communities tend to focus on current conditions and risk becoming short-sighted in their sales and nurturing approach. They hit the pause button on marketing efforts, let current leads go cold, or worse — stop generating new leads altogether.
But where does that leave you when the ebb inevitably shifts the tide?
With the market expected to normalize in the coming months coupled with what will always be a longer sales cycle for lifestyle buyers, now’s the time to fill your sales pipeline and work your funnel.
After all, the active adult 55+ community market size is projected to reach $732.1 billion by 2027. So planting the seeds now can only result in a richly rewarding harvest for years to come.
Whether you have a new community coming soon or simply need to ensure full capacity on your current properties, it’s imperative you get targeted leads now…so you can keep sales strong in the future — regardless of market conditions.