In real estate, it’s normal to see ebbs and flows in the market. Typically, the summer months are slower-paced than the traditionally busy spring. But this isn’t a typical summer. As the economy rebounds and life is returning to normal, the real estate market is expected to have an unusually strong summer season.
Here’s how this summer is stacking up against the norm and what it means for you.
Inventory is increasing.
According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), inventory levels have been rising since February of this year. Looking at the graph below, there’s a clear upward trend, as shown in the green bars. Currently, there’s roughly a 2.5 months’ supply of homes for sale. And while inventory is trending up as more houses are coming to the market, it’s still much lower than several of the previous summers, as the orange bars indicate.If you’re looking to buy, some relief is on the way in the form of more homes coming to the market. Just remember, we still have less inventory than the norm, so be patient in your search.
If you’re thinking of selling, now is the time. Work with your agent to list your house before it has more competition on the market.
Time on the market is still shorter than normal.
Unlike the typical summer trend, time on the market is moving at the fastest speed we’ve seen since NAR started collecting this survey-based information in 2011. The most recent Realtors Confidence Index shows that the average home is on the market for just 17 days, as shown in green in the graph below. This means houses are selling at a much faster pace than a typical summer, which the orange bars represent.If you’re looking to buy, this means you need to be prepared to move fast. Brace for a quick pace and rely on your agent to stay in the know on the available homes in your area.
If you’re thinking of selling, data shows your house will likely sell quickly. If you’re worried about where you’ll go once your house sells, consider a newly built home as a good way to move up.
Price appreciation is still rising.
The last big factor making this an unusually strong market this summer is home price appreciation. According to the State House Price Index from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), we’re currently experiencing double-digit house price appreciation and have an average of 12.6% appreciation across the country. The graph below uses data from NAR to show a more granular view of how prices have changed month-to-month over the past few years. The green bars show the current price appreciation we’re experiencing today. Our current levels are well above what we’ve seen in recent summers, shown by the orange bars.If you’re looking to buy, competition and bidding wars are driving prices up. Getting pre-approved can show the seller you’re serious and help you know what you can afford. Once you do, work with your agent to make a strong offer that stands out.
If you’re thinking of selling, seize this opportunity to use your additional equity from this price appreciation to power your next move.
This isn’t a typical summer. Whether you’re buying or selling, let’s connect to talk about how you can capitalize on today’s market conditions to sell your house or find your dream home.
While the housing market forecast for the second half of the year remains positive, there may not be a better time to sell than right now. Here are four things to consider if you’re trying to decide if now’s the right time to make a move.
1. Your House Will Likely Sell Quickly
According to the most recent Realtors Confidence Index released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), homes continue to sell quickly. The report notes homes are selling in an average of just 17 days.
Average days on market is a strong indicator of buyer competition, and homes selling quickly is a great sign for sellers. It’s one of several factors that indicate buyers are motivated to do what it takes to purchase the home of their dreams.
2. Buyers Are Willing To Compete for Your House
In addition to selling fast, homes are receiving multiple offers. NAR reports sellers are seeing an average of 5 offers, and these offers are competitive ones. Shawn Telford, Chief Appraiser at CoreLogic, said in a recent interview:
“The frequency of buyers being willing to pay more than the market data supports is increasing.”
This confirms buyers are ready and willing to enter bidding wars for your home. Receiving several offers on your house means you can select the one that makes the most sense for your situation and financial well-being.
3. When Supply Is Low, Your House Is in the Spotlight
One of the most significant challenges for motivated buyers is the current inventory of homes for sale, which while improving, remains at near-record lows. As NAR details:
“Total housing inventory at the end of May amounted to 1.23 million units, up 7.0% from April’s inventory and down 20.6% from one year ago (1.55 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 2.5-month supply at the present sales pace, marginally up from April’s 2.4-month supply but down from 4.6-months in May 2020.”
There are signs, however, that more homes are coming to market. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, notes:
“It looks like existing inventory is starting to inch up, which is good news for a housing market parched for more supply.”
If you’re looking to take advantage of buyer demand and get the most attention for your house, selling now before more listings come to the market might be your best option.
4. If You’re Thinking of Moving Up, Now May Be the Time
Over the past 12 months, homeowners have gained a significant amount of wealth through growing equity. In that same period, homeowners have also spent a considerable amount of time in their homes, and many have decided their house doesn’t meet their needs.
If you’re not happy with your current home, you can leverage that equity to power your move now. Your equity, plus current low mortgage rates, can help you maximize your purchasing power.
But these near-historic low rates won’t last forever. Experts forecast interest rates will increase in the coming months. Nadia Evangelou, Senior Economist and Director of Forecasting at NAR, says:
“Nevertheless, as the economic outlook for the United States looks brighter for the rest of the year, mortgage rates are expected to rise in the following months.”
As interest rates rise, even modestly, it could influence buyer demand and your purchasing power. If you’ve been waiting for the best time to sell to fuel your move up, you likely won’t find more favorable conditions than those we’re seeing today.
With supply challenges, low mortgage rates, and extremely motivated buyers, sellers are well-positioned to take advantage of current market conditions right now. If you’re thinking about selling, let’s connect today to discuss why it makes sense to list your home sooner rather than later.
Almost every first-time investment property owner will underestimate the amount of work it takes to make their investment successful. Many new investors buy investment properties, half expecting that investing in rental properties is like stocks investing, a passive investment.
Somewhere in their minds, they think the home will run itself, and all they have to do is to collect the monthly rent. This misconception is one of the reasons many investors fail. Those who don’t fail make massive mistakes that severely set them back on their investment journey.
But the thing is, with a slight education, you can avoid the problems that most property investors face. The knowledge new property investors need to make their investment experience easier is already out there. They need to look for it.
If you are reading this, chances are you have bought or are about to buy your first investment property but don’t know how you will manage it. Your willingness to look for answers can help you avoid costly mistakes in managing your asset.
How should you manage your first residential rental property? Read on to find out.
Managing your first residential investment property
1. Do you want to be a landlord?
The skills you need to buy an investment property do not always coincide with the know-how you need to manage that property. Do not be locked into thinking that just because you own the property, you should organize it as well. Do an honest assessment of your resources, temperament, and skills. Are you suited to the demands of managing a rental? If you are not, hire a property manager.
2. Cut costs and reduce mistakes with a good team
If you decide to manage the property yourself, surround yourself with people who will help you learn. As a bare minimum, you need a lawyer, accountant, and handyman to help you get a handle on landlord-tenant law, taxes, and maintenance. Consider what you pay them as the cost of your education.
3. Future-proof your property by doing critical repairs
Do not waste money on fancy renovations. Focus on the crucial systems and main mechanicals of the home. If the roof, windows, electrical systems, plumbing, water heater, and furnace are in good shape, tenants will be happy, and maintenance costs will drop sharply. If you want to update anything, renovate these features.
4. Pay attention to the rental’s design
The rental’s design is your best opportunity to make the home attractive to a broad section of potential tenants. Don’t design the home to suit your style. Don’t follow popular trends with the design. It would be best if you use neutral paint colors. Have as much storage space as possible. Use attractive and durable materials. Also, don’t buy cheap or overly expensive appliances.
5. Invest in systems
Whatever challenges you are facing with a rental, someone else has solved them in the past. Find out the best practices for managing residential properties. Buy and learn how to use property management software. Invest in systems that help you market the home. Have strategies for keeping in touch with the tenants.
6. Know your costs and manage them
Be familiar with the costs of managing the property. When making financial projections, create sufficient room for unexpected events. Identify expenditures that are likely to become a drain on your finances. Keep a tight rein on expenses and make sure you don’t miss critical payments like mortgage, tax, and insurance. An accountant who has experience with properties can help you here.
7. Price your rental competitively
Losing $25-$100 every month is preferable to having your rental vacant for long periods. At the same time, if you price the home too low, its value will not register with the best renters, and you will attract the wrong kinds of people. The point is; price your rental at par with similar homes, but do not be afraid to drop the rent slightly to make the home more attractive.
8. Tenant screening is vital
You need just one bad tenant in your rental to destroy your investments. Time spent on tenant screening is valuable. The more comprehensive the screening criteria, the safer you will be. Do not be afraid to raise the bar for what you expect from tenants, such as requiring renter’s insurance. Your lawyer can help you avoid doing anything that will appear as discriminatory.
9. Maintain good records
That is one of the benefits of investing in decent property management systems. Keeping records of all expenses – repairs, maintenance, insurance, rental payments, etc. – will make your accountant’s life easier during tax season. It can help you save money, and you will have an objective measure of the property’s performance.
10. Keep in touch with tenants
Have a welcome package for tenants when they move in. Educate tenants about clauses in the lease and valuable ways to care for the home. Also, maintain a record of their significant dates; birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Pop in once in a while to say hello; tenants dislike landlords who show up only to pick up the rent or when there are problems.
There’s no denying we’re in a sellers’ market. With low inventory and high buyer demand, homes today are selling above the asking price at a record rate. According to the latest Realtors Confidence Index Survey from the National Association ofRealtors (NAR):
Homes typically sell within17 days (compared to 26 days one year ago).
The average home sold has five offers to pick from.
54% of offers are over the asking price.
Because so many buyers are competing for so few homes, bidding wars are driving up home prices. According to an average of leading expert projections, existing home prices are expected to increase by 8.9% this year.
Yet even in today’s red-hot sellers’ market, it’s important to price your house right. While it may be tempting to price your house on the high side to capitalize on this trend, doing so could limit your house’s potential.
Why Pricing Your House Right Matters
Here’s the thing – a high price tag doesn’t mean you’re going to cash in big on the sale. While you may be trying to maximize your return, the tradeoff may be steep. A high list price is more likely to deter buyers, sit on the market longer, or require a price drop that can raise questions among prospective buyers.
Instead, focus on setting a price that’s fair. Real estate professionals know the value of your home. By pricing your house based on its current condition and similar homes that have recently sold in your area, your agent can help you set a price that’s realistic and obtainable – and that’s good news for you and for buyers.When you price your house right, you increase your home’s visibility, which drives more buyers to your front door. The more buyers that tour your home, the more likely you’ll have a multi-offer scenario to create a bidding war. When multiple buyers compete for your house, that sets you up for a bigger win.
When it comes to pricing your house, working with a local real estate professional is essential. Let’s connect so we can optimize your exposure, your timeline, and the return on your investment, too.
For many young or first-time homebuyers, purchasing a home can feel intimidating. A recent survey shows some homebuyers ages 25 to 40 may be unsure about the homebuying process and what they can afford. It found:
“1 in 4 underestimated their buying potential by $150k or more”
“1 in 4 underestimated the increase in value by $100k or more”
“47% don’t know what a good interest rate is”
Because they feel uncertain, many young homebuyers have given up on their search, or worse, they’ve decided homebuying isn’t for them and never started on their journey to begin with.
If you’re interested in buying but aren’t sure where to begin, here are three key concepts about homeownership you should understand before you get started.
1. What You Need To Know About Down Payments
Saving for a down payment is sometimes viewed as one of the biggest obstacles for homebuyers, but that doesn’t have to be the case. As Freddie Macsays:
“The most damaging down payment myth—since it stops the homebuying process before it can start—is the belief that 20% is necessary.”
According to the most recent Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median down payment for homes purchased between July 2019 and June 2020 was only 12%. That number is even lower when we control for age – for buyersin the 22 to 30 age range, the median down payment was only 6%.
2. You May Be Able To Afford More Home Than You Think
Working remotely, exercising, and generally spending more time than ever in our homes has changed what many people are looking for in their living space. However, some young homebuyers don’t feel they can afford a home that suits their growing needs and have decided to continue renting instead. That means they’ll miss out on some of the long-term benefits of owning a home. As an article recently published by NAR points out:
“Many young adults are underestimating how much they need for homeownership, the survey finds. Millennials underestimated how much home they can afford right now, how much interest they would pay over a 30-year mortgage, and how much home values appreciate, on average, over 10 years…”
Knowing how much home you can afford when starting the buying process is critical and could be the game-changer that gets you from renting to buying.
3. Homeownership Will Become Less Affordable the Longer You Wait
Finally, with mortgage rates starting to rise along with home prices appreciating, putting off buying a home now could cost you much more later. Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac,notes:
“As the economy progresses and inflation remains elevated, we expect that rates will continually rise in the second half of the year.”
Most experts forecast interest rates will rise in the months ahead, and even the smallest increase can influence your buying power. If you’ve been on the fence about buying a home, there’s no time like the present.
If you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of starting your home search, you’re not alone. Let’s connect today so we can talk more about the process, what you’ll need to start your search, and what to expect.
If you own or manage a small or medium-sized business (SMB), this article is for you. With less resources to play around with, SMBs must pull on all available resources to effectively work with and market to a wide customer base focused on interests, not social demographics.
That’s why SMBs must begin building strategies to effectively market to and work in an LGBTQ-affirming world.
The LGBTQ market is one of the fastest-growing sectors out there, and it’s becoming an increasingly valuable customer base across all industries. In fact, according to GayStar News, a conservative estimate on the size of the global LGBTQ market is $3.7 trillion – that’s a huge market that could be left out of your customer base unless you take the right steps. This community is also particularly sensitive to social issues.If your business is not perceived to be an ally to the LGBTQ community, its members will use their voice – and their money – to make it known.Share
Additionally, Dalia Research released a study showing that throughout the European Union, upwards of six percent of the population identify as part of the LGBTQ community.
The question now is how to engage the LGBTQ population effectively.
LGBTQ-Friendly and Affirming
It’s important to understand the difference between being LGBTQ-friendly and affirming.
To be LGBTQ-friendly means establishing your business as a safe space for LGBTQ people to work and shop. Having a diverse workforce, avoiding discriminatory hiring practices, and ensuring all employees understand the importance of using inclusive language are all part of creating a truly LGBTQ-friendly environment.
The urgency for fostering safe spaces is further underlined by hard research. A study by German LGBTQ staffing firm PROUTATWORK found a large percentage of LGBTQ employees feel dissatisfied with the lack of inclusivity in their workplaces. This eventually affects morale and – in most cases – businesses’ bottom line.
There are many ways to gain a reputation of being non-inclusive to the LGBTQ population – but one of the clearest and most effective ways to establish your business as LGBTQ-friendly is to follow the best practices for non-discrimination in terms of sexual orientation and gender, detailed further in this article.
On the customer side, it’s crucial to let LGBTQ customers know you welcome them to your business – whether in person or online. A customer who believes your business is friendly to their community is far more likely to choose your product over your competitors’ offerings, based solely on this one factor. This is especially true when it comes to millennials and Gen Z.
LGBTQ affirmation is another thing entirely. On a first-level basis, it’s accepting that the LGBTQ population is a present part of society, and that we must cater to their needs like all other demographics. But on a deeper level, businesses of all sizes are at the forefront of societal change, and the LGBTQ community needs businesses more than ever.
One mistake many businesses make is acknowledging the LGBTQ community only when everyone else is. When Pride celebrations take place all around the world, many businesses choose this time to essentially “hop on the bandwagon” in terms of marketing and business operations.
But it’s a year-round commitment to this community that makes a business truly stand out. AdWeek and many other marketing industry publications have found that the LGBTQ community notices which companies embody this constant commitment, and which ones only hop onto the international Pride week bandwagon.
This is a mistake most SMBs can’t afford to make. The bad press and negative public perception associated with a lack of fidelity or worse – outright intolerance, for example – can cost you money.
Tasteful LGBTQ-Inclusive and Sensitive Communication
In 2014, former CNN anchor Piers Morgan interviewed transgender rights advocate Janet Mock for the release of her book Redefining Realness.
The interview begins harmlessly with a nice greeting, but viewers will notice that very soon, the interview takes focus on the “otherness” of Ms. Mock – the fact that she is a transgender woman.
Why is this offensive? For starters, most of the interview just focuses on Mock’s gender identity as opposed to the work she is presenting. That means her gender identity is more important and more interesting than her contributions.
You’ll also notice that the subtitle under her name says “Was a boy until age 18,” which is a mischaracterization of Mock’s experiences and again puts undue focus on her gender identity.
Many people in the LGBTQ community find this kind of occurrence belittling and outright offensive – but it’s a mistake many people make every day. For SMBs, these subtle “microaggressions” – small but noticeably offensive instances of discrimination or misunderstanding – can make an LGBTQ person feel disrespected and impact morale.
For owners or managers of businesses of any size, it’s crucial to be aware of how to properly address an LGBTQ person.A transgender woman – someone who is transitioning or has transitioned into the female gender – most likely wishes for their colleagues to refer to them as a woman, not someone who “was once a man.”Share
Being LGBTQ-inclusive in communications can be difficult. It’s often small mistakes that create big waves in terms of a company’s reputation. Taking a hard look at how you communicate is essential to establishing your business as LGBTQ-friendly and affirming.
The Applicability Test
Different types of business communication have different objectives, but they all have one overarching goal in mind – being applicable to as many recipients as possible.
For internal communications, the idea of complete applicability is more clearly the objective. This is where the applicability test can truly be useful.
The applicability test aims to solve one question – does the communication deliver the intended message effectively and equally, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, and otherwise?
Using Inclusive Pronouns
Inclusivity is at the heart of many workplace and marketing issues when it comes to the LGBTQ community. That’s because LGBTQ people often feel like “the other” in professional situations.
Being inclusive means gearing your actions toward applicability for all people. That includes marketing practices and – perhaps more importantly – operational practices within your business.
The recognition of the widening definition of gender is one area where SMBs typically are not inclusive. Expressions and definitions of gender have expanded greatly as the understanding of the LGBTQ community has increased, which calls for new societal norms to take place in and out of the workplace.
Many people identify as male or female, but more people are identifying as non-binary – this means they do not identify with either gender. As is more often the case, non-binary people are starting to use they/them pronouns as opposed to he/his or she/her.
Addressing someone in a professional setting has its own challenges. For instance, we often use honorifics when addressing someone in a professional setting. Here’s a breakdown of gender-neutral solutions that can be used in any professional setting for English, French, Spanish, and German speakers:
It’s OK to Ask
It can be confusing to know how to properly address someone in a professional setting.It’s always okay to ask someone privately what their pronouns are. Far more often than not, people will appreciate that you were considerate enough to ask.Share
The point here is that there is nothing to lose by making internal communications more applicable to more people, or by using someone’s correct pronouns in direct communication.
Making the move toward gender-neutral pronouns and finding out a particular person’s gender is an incredible way for SMBs to become more LGBTQ-inclusive and friendly in their day-to-day operations.
Marketing to LGBTQ Audiences through Email, Social Media, and Online Forms
Many of your customers could be part of the LGBTQ community, so developing marketing content that is applicable to everyone is crucial.
Many companies make assumptions as to who is using their products. Sometimes, LGBTQ people are not incorporated into product marketing plans, so advertising campaigns miss out on – as stated above – a nearly $3.7 trillion market.
For instance, the cosmetics industry is dominated by the pursuit of women’s money, but transgender women are also potential buyers of these products.How can you reach out to the entire spectrum of people who might want to purchase your product?Get neutral – Consider using gender-neutral pronouns such as Mx., or doing away with pronouns altogether.Frame your message – Understand that any and all types of people are potential buyers of your products.Be diverse – When attaching media in emails, ensure they express the widening definitions of love, family, and similar concepts to include LGBTQ people.
SMBs can use social media as a way to cheaply and effectively market to their customers, and doing right by the LGBTQ community can open up a whole new market for your business.
Whether you use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or any combination of these, keep in mind that LGBTQ customers across the board use social media to find and interact with brands who support their community. The ease of sharing social media posts can also put your dedication to LGBTQ people on blast.
Yet, users’ ability to share content can have negative consequences, especially when something reaches viral status.
Take for instance what happened with the Twitter account @prideinlondon – they shared poster images that they believed would foster understanding between the straight and LGBTQ communities, with a little touch of humor thrown in.
What this actually caused was a social media backlash because the slogan uses the term “gay” as derogatory.
You’re not gay, though, so once you’ve cleared that up – what was it, your shoes, or your love of disco? – you get to just carry on. pic.twitter.com/2LpuIoVWm1
This and other images caused a negative response so large that @prideinlondon issued a long and exhaustive apology.
Fortunately, there are cases when brands make the right choice in marketing to LGBTQ audiences, especially when the message is based on building relationships and expressing support. This Starbucks ad, which ran during Pride month in 2018, doesn’t try to sell coffee. It’s a perfect example of relationship marketing at its best:
All together now. ❤️ #PrideHow can SMBs use social media to reach LGBTQ customers?
Use hashtags – Nearly all social media platforms use hashtags (#) to connect posts to particular conversations. Examples of hashtags include #loveislove, #LGBTQ, and #equality. Hashtags often help connect a post to a cause or a specific audience. Make a statement – Not all posts need to sell a product. As people are increasingly choosing brands that support their worldview, making a statement can show current and potential LGBTQ customers you stand behind them. Monitor posts for negative comments – Sometimes people who are anti-LGBTQ will post offensive comments. When this happens, it’s crucial for your business to show solidarity with the LGBTQ community.
Many SMBs use online forms to obtain important information about their customers for marketing purposes. If used correctly, online forms can shape the way you communicate with your customers as well.
Yet, one major mistake companies make when creating online forms is asking for inappropriate information, or asking in an inappropriate way.
Take a look at the picture below. Do you know which is the more appropriate approach to collecting gender information?
If you answered “left,” you’d be correct for two reasons.
First, the three choices cover the entire spectrum of generally-accepted pronouns. People in the LGBTQ community sometimes do not align with a particular gender, and the form on the left acknowledges this. Additionally, there is a space where someone can enter their desired pronouns if they are not listed.
Next, notice the “Why We Ask for This” pop-up. Asking for pronouns means asking for gender information, which some people regard as sensitive information. The pop-up ensures the potential customer that the pronoun information they provide is only used for one simple purpose – to help the business automatically refer to the user by their pronoun.
When you create online forms, remember these two things:
Be transparent – Always be upfront about why you are asking users for their information, especially when asking for potentially sensitive information such as gender pronouns.
Be inclusive – Design your forms so that people all across the LGBTQ spectrum can answer.
Video Campaigns and Commercials
Video campaigns are where SMBs can gain a competitive edge over competitors. Video can tell a detailed story in just a few seconds, to drive sales or express your company’s values.
When marketing to LGBTQ audiences, many of the same rules from other marketing methods apply. Avoiding stereotypes and treating the LGBTQ customer with the same respect as all other markets is paramount to converting these customers into sales and avoiding potential public relations disasters.
Here’s an example of toothpaste company Colgate creating an effective campaign that shows where the company stands on LGBTQ people:
What are some things you notice about this video?
If you were watching closely, you’d notice the subtlety Colgate uses in directly addressing the LGBTQ community. This ad, which ran in Mexico, expresses a family’s acceptance of two gay men moving in together.
What this video doesn’t do is concentrate on their relationship. The ad is not about the two men being gay – it’s about how family love knows no bounds. This drives Colgate’s message home: regardless of who you are, you have their support. It shows that being gay is a normal part of some families’ lives.
We can see another incredible example of normalizing and legitimizing LGBTQ people in this IKEA ad:
Again, the fact that the women are lesbians is not at all a focal point. The rather casual approach to showing two women in an intimate relationship does not over-emphasize the fact they are LGBTQ.
But sometimes, companies make bad choices when they engage the LGBTQ audience. See if you can identify why this next ad, from British airline company Silverjet, may be problematic:
Why is this a bad thing?
First and foremost, it assumes that lesbian couples can only think of one thing when there are women-only bathrooms – using them for sexual purposes. As opposed to being a humorous element, it paints lesbians as explicitly sexual.
Second, the advertisement uses this stereotype to sell a service that in and of itself is not sexual. Thus, it mischaracterizes an entire group of people for financial gain.
If you are thinking of creating a video or television commercial for your SMB to engage the LGBTQ population, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Avoid stereotypes – LGBTQ people have been suffering the effects of stereotyping for as long as anyone can remember. Using stereotypes not only dilutes the pain and suffering caused by that struggle, but takes a point of pain and cheaply utilizes it for financial gain.
Avoid “otherness” – In our day and age, LGBTQ people want to be treated just like everyone else. In the IKEA and Colgate ads, there is no real emphasis on the couples’ sexuality, which in turn, normalizes them.
Avoid “cheap laughs” – Nobody wants a company to poke fun at their struggles, hardships, or realities. Doing the same to LGBTQ people is offensive, especially considering that there are plenty of examples to the contrary.
Creating an Inclusive Brand Image
Changing your marketing approach is a big task, but one that is not impossible.
In order to make your brand image more inclusive, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
Does my company represent LGBTQ people in its marketing?
If it does, do the marketing materials avoid stereotypes?
Are there opportunities to market to both LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ people at the same time?
If you or your marketing manager answer “No” to any of these questions, it’s time to reassess your marketing practices. The changes required to be more inclusive can lead to big dividends later on. Remember, LGBTQ people are a $3.7 trillion market.
SMBs who leave the LGBTQ population out of the equation will, in due time, be left behind by companies that do.
In order to change your marketing practices to effectively court the LGBTQ community, here are a few steps any SMB can take:
Include LGBTQ people – In video content, voice content, and social media. Feature LGBTQ couples or individuals in commercials, and show that your products and services are for them, too.
Incorporate LGBTQ people – In almost any completely hetero-normative advertisement, whether online video or television commercial, there is an opportunity to include LGBTQ people.
Use focus groups and market research – Oftentimes, glaring inconsistencies in marketing are caught by customers. Consider conducting market research or running focus groups on your advertising to see what customers – especially potential LGBTQ customers – think about your advertising strategy.
It’s good business, and good business leads to a better world.
Creating an LGBTQ-Inclusive Workplace Conduct Policy
Now that we’ve covered both fostering LGBTQ-friendly workplace communication and creating LGBTQ-friendly marketing strategies, the only thing left is to ensure the work environment is safe and accepting of LGBTQ people.
SMBs – and any size business, really – should have a clear and understandable document that spells out its workplace conduct policy. There are three main points all proper policies that protect LGBTQ people cover:
Harassment – Harassment is subjecting a person to unwanted attention based on a sensitive subject. This can include:
Language of a sexual nature
Threats based on gender, gender expression, or sexual identity
Unacceptable physical contact
Hostility based on gender, gender expression, or sexual identity
Discrimination – Discriminating against someone for their gender, gender expression, or sexual identity is strictly prohibited by law in many countries, and should also be in any workplace conduct policy.
Bullying – Any form of intimidation or unwanted behavior that takes place because of someone’s gender, gender expression, or sexual identity should be strictly prohibited. Online or offline bullying can include:
Publicly shaming someone
Distributing inappropriate materials about someone
When you develop your workplace conduct policy, make sure it is clearly displayed so that not one single employee can say they were unaware of the rules regarding discrimination against LGBTQ people.
Be the Change You Want to See in the World
Now that we’ve covered internal communications, marketing, and workplace conduct in terms of LGBTQ people, let’s review the three biggest key takeaways:
Crucial to Success – LGBTQ people, whether as employees or customers, are a valuable part of any business’ bottom line.
Consequences Are Real – Companies who make light of the issues surrounding LGBTQ people can suffer operational inefficiency, lose market share, and face legal ramifications.
Celebrate LGBTQ People – As a business moving forward with the social and societal trends of today’s world, you need to remember that LGBTQ people – like any other group – are equally deserving of being celebrated.
Even small businesses can take steps to be on the right side of history:
Sponsor LGBTQ Events – Invite employees to Pride Month celebrations, or even hold events in your place of business.
Educate – Teach employees how to be more accepting and affirming of LGBTQ people whenever possible.
Be Willing – Keep an open mind about how to properly manage LGBTQ employees’ concerns, market to LGBTQ audiences, and to further deliver on promises to protect LGBTQ employees and customers alike.Feel free to share this report on Facebook and Twitter, just be sure to give us credit!
Home prices have increased significantly over the last year, which in turn has grown the net worth of homeowners. Appreciation and home equity are directly linked – as the value of a home increases, so does a homeowner’s equity. And with these recent gains, homeowners are witnessing their financial stability and well-being grow to record levels.
In more good news for homeowners, the most recent Home Price Expectations Survey – a survey of a national panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists – forecasts home prices will continue appreciating over the next five years, adding to the record amount of equity homeowners have already gained over the past year. Below are the expected year-over-year rates of home price appreciation from the report:
What Does This Mean for Homeowners?
Home prices are climbing today, and the data in the survey indicates they’ll continue to increase, but at rates that approach a more normal pace. Even still, the amount of household wealth a homeowner stands to earn going forward is substantial. This truly becomes clear when we consider a scenario using a median-priced home purchased in January of 2021 and the projected rate of appreciation on that home over the next five years. As the graph below illustrates, a homeowner could increase their net worth bya significant amount – over $93,000 dollars by 2026.
Home Price Appreciation and Home Equity
CoreLogic recently released their quarterly Homeowner Equity Insights Report, which tracks the year-over-year increases in equity. It shows an average annual gain of $33,400 per borrower over the past 12 months. In the report, Dr. Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist for CoreLogic, further explains:
“Double-digit home price growth in the past year has bolstered home equity to a record amount. The national CoreLogic Home Price Index recorded an 11.4% rise in the year through March 2021, leading to a $216,000 increase in the average amount of equity held by homeowners with a mortgage.”
The expected, sustained growth of home prices means homeowners can continue to build on the past year’s record levels of home equity – and their financial prosperity. It also presents today’s homeowners with a unique opportunity: using their growing equity for a home upgrade. With so few homes available to purchase and strong buyer demand, there may not be a better time to sell your current house and move into one that better meets your needs.
Home prices are expected to continue appreciating over the next five years, and the associated equity gains are the quickest way homeowners can build household wealth. If you’re a current homeowner who’s ready to take advantage of your built-up equity, let’s connect today to discuss your options.