Century 21, the first choice among young, first time buyers

Marc Davison

Focus groups are so critical. Even informal, unscientific ones are better than nothing. They always reveal hidden gems.

Last night I found myself in the company of a dozen 27-31 years olds. None owned a home. When asked what I do, I explained the mechanics of a consulting company and its role in real estate. The conversation meandered, but soon my instinct to mine kicked in.

I learned some interesting things from this group:

  • Predictably, all would turn to the Web as the first step in searching for a home.
  • None would visit agent websites in this process. Each felt that by going there they would somehow be sucked into a sales cycle.
  • The consensus was that all agents are alike and only care about the sale.
  • When asked why, most said they don’t have a concrete reason. Others stated they have heard others say this. But none had their own experience to draw from.
  • They would never, under any circumstances, fill out a form on a real estate agent or broker site that required them to cough up their contact information.
  • If they were interested in a home they would call the company powering whatever site they were on to find out about it.
  • When asked how long they would be willing to wait for a call back, the average, surprisingly, was around 24 hours.
  • I asked them how they go about choosing a Realtor. None said by their website. One person, a 29 year-old law school graduate said, “I’d walk into the closest Century 21 office and pick the first 40 to 50 year-old woman I could find.” One by one, each of the individuals agreed. Especially on Century 21. When asked why, several said “it’s the brand I grew up with”. It’s the one they know. The only other brand that received acknowledgment was RE/MAX. I rattled off a few others and most to all went completely unrecognized.

Who knew?