Beam Me Up Jimmy – A Look At Tomorrow's 1st Time Home Buyer

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Jason Benesch, our resident twenty-something, distracted by something he stumbled across online, looks to paint the picture for what Realtors’ future clients are bound to ‘look’ like.

The message is clear, this maturing generation of First Time Home Buyer’s is not enticed by the “Old School.”

Beam Me Up, Jimmy

By Jason Benesch, Tomato’s Director of Technology.

As I watched this video on Web 2.0 and the shifts occurring online, it made me wonder what it was like before the telephone was invented.  You mean I had to write someone a letter; with a pen (or was it a quill?)?!?!   Once the video had ended, I quickly switched windows (control + tab) over to my iChat with my head still beating to the rhythm of the hypnotic techno that was playing over the screen cast.  I wanted to show Jim the video that had just inspired me with a million Web 3.0 ideas.   After waiting for maybe ten seconds without a response, my 21st century patience soon grew tired and I decided to email him.   He was not at his computer, but I knew that if I emailed him, his Treo (which he sleeps with) would go off and he would get my message.  While I waited for his response, I decided that I liked that song so much that I wanted to buy it.  Control tab over to iTunes where I can click on the store, power search for the artist, and have a one-click purchase for $0.99, which I have set up to automatically debit my bank account.  I press play on the song and within the first few notes, I hear a somewhat similar Southwest ding, meaning that I had an email.

Control tab, Jim wrote back, “Cool.  Write an article.”

So what should I write about?

Then it occurred to me.  Five minutes was too long to wait for a response from Jim.  Driving to Sam Goody takes too long to buy an album.  When I write this article, I don’t bother emailing it to Jim, I share it instantly on Google Docs. Phone calls, no way … and when are they going to invent that teleporter, cause I just hate driving in the city!

I am a 25 year old, MySpace citizen, YouTube watching, Internet stumbling, impatient, information crazed, generation x/y, product of two middle class baby boomers.  I have two iPods, a Mac Pro, a Toshiba laptop, and a new smart phone every year.   I have almost no memory of not being able to jump online to get whatever I want: answers, dates, music, directions, collectibles, clients, news… whatever.  I not only want information quick, but I also want it for free.  I mostly avoid sign-up/lead generation forms.  If I ever do enter information, it’s using a spam account (jasonbenesch(at)hotmail.com) which I never read.

Now… here’s the scary part:  I am saving money to buy a house, as soon as possible.

I certainly know what a blog is, we have four of them.  I know what an RSS feed is, I browse through about 30-40 everyday.  What about the newspaper?  I might read the sports section every once in a while, but I am careful not to dirty my white apple keyboard with the grunge that sticks to your fingers after handling the local rag.  So where do I get my information on the current state of the Real Estate market?  On the internet.  But I can’t stand doing a ‘San Diego Real Estate’ search; or even a ‘soccer cleats’ search because every site on the top ten results of Google are most likely commercial sites.

My generation has the mentality of avoiding paying menial costs, revealing our identity, and committing to membership.

I don’t want to give you my information just so you can overload my email box with canned marketing (spam).  I don’t want you calling me; when I am ready to buy, I will call you.  Instead,  I will more often than not do a search similar to ‘are homes in San Diego overpriced.’  I click on the first link that comes up and it will be a blog. They have tons and tons of free articles about the San Diego real estate market and more importantly, they aren’t asking for any of my contact information.

My generation has the mentality of avoiding paying menial costs, revealing our identity, and committing to membership. It is the convenience of the internet that is to blame.  The past barriers of expense and membership are frequently circumvented by ‘gaming’ the system.  Our approach is that we expect to be able to get the information and data we want without having to make any solid commitment. Our generation has learned how to seek out and find information online and we don’t stop until we are satisfied or exhausted.

Our knowledge comes from the intelligence of the mob.  There are websites that let us view user ratings on news, bookmarks, urban definitions, wines, burritos, beers, and videos.  I want to have that same experience when searching for my first home.  Show me what the community thinks.  Show me what the Realtors think.

Give me the data the way I am used to receiving it.

If your business model does not in some way connect you to this growing market mentality, you are essentially alienating yourself from the next wave of first time home buyers.  Leveraging your knowledge and offerings in a platform that encourages the participation of the mob, and consequently makes it easier for you to be found and engaged, will establish yourself as a trusted source of information and you will thrive on the internet.  For today, proper blogging gives you that capability.

Thanks Jason.  Now get back to work!