Just mortgaged! House-proud millennials rush to share
Just as he was about to close a sale, Colorado real estate agent Marvin Martinez found himself coping with a crisis. A beauty crisis.
His client, in her 20s, knew the agent would post a photo on the Colorado First Time Home Buyer Facebook page that has 85,000 followers.
The problem: she needed false eyelashes. And not just any false eyelashes, but a specific set she had at home.
Mr Martinez offered to make a trip to Walgreens but was rebuffed. The client went home, changed her outfit, got her own false lashes and about an hour later, emerged for the shoot, soon after signing the papers.
“We just waited, that’s all,” Mr Martinez, said. “What else could we do?” As US millennials buy homes in greater numbers, new wrinkles are emerging in an age-old process. Gone are the days of popping a champagne cork once the purchase and mortgage forms are signed. Today, more first-time buyers rush to share their newfound status as homeowners across social media.
That has led some to craft elaborate photo shoots in or outside a first home. These often feature props such as “first home” signs or heart-shaped hand poses around new keys. Others buyers are captured dancing in their bedrooms or giving piggyback rides through the front door.
Real estate agents are taking note, and playing along.
In the year to July 2016, millennials — people 36 or younger — were the largest group of home buyers, making up 34 per cent, according to a National Association of Realtors report. About twothirds of those buyers were rookies, according to the March report, the most recent generational data available.
Joey Cabibbo and his new wife Morgan were so excited about their new home they posted a photo of themselves on Instagram sitting on their front lawn with the “SOLD” sign — “before we even got the keys,” Ms Cabibbo said.
A few days later — after gar- nering about 100 likes and more than a dozen comments — they did a picture shoot with photographer friend Dawn Richardson around their newly built home in Boerne, Texas. Pretty soon Mr Cabibbo was flinging Ms Cabibbo over his shoulders in their driveway. Then he gave her a piggyback ride in front of their wooden garage door and stone three-arch entry area.
In October, it was Ms Richardson’s turn in front of the lens. When she and her husband bought their first home, she had a photographer colleague document the event.
Despite 35C Texas weather, Ms Richardson donned a grey sweater and dark-blue skinny jeans. Never mind the heat. “I wanted that cozy feel,” she said.
“AHH!! #Adulting,” she wrote on her blog when posting the pics.
Although they are intentionally sharing news of their purchase, some buyers are surprised by the attention they get.
Homebuyer Nicole Salas, 28, her husband Jay, 27, and their younger son posed for pictures with a custom toolbox at the title-insurance company where their closing took place.
After their real estate agent posted the photo in July, 550 people liked it.
“I noticed a lot of people had commented, so I was like ‘Do these people know us?’ ” Ms Salas said.
Blair Pomeroy and her husband Matt had a photo shoot in 2015 to showcase their new home in Florence, Kentucky.
One of her favourite photos came from an idea she spotted on Pinterest. Before they posed for pictures in their bedroom — prefurniture — they tested a paint sample by drawing an outline of a house. She added “home sweet home” above the painting and three hearts coming from the fake chimney. The couple later used the photo for invitations to their house-warming party.
But not all the attention is positive. Some of the pictures posted by Home-Smart Realty Group in Greenwood Village, Colorado, have been labelled “fake news” by Facebook users. Their beef: they can’t believe so many millennials are buying their first home.
“It’s (a) scam, people,” one person commented in late October. Another wrote on a first-time homebuyer’s post: “I don’t understand how something like this could be a home for a first-time buyer. This is something you would really have to work for. Unless you’re related to daddy McBigbucks.”
However people react to the pictures, real estate agents have discovered they are good for business.
Corey Maurice Gilmore, an associate broker at Capstone Realty in Huntsville, Alabama, said social media had a “huge role” with the first-time homebuyers he works with.
“It’s kind of like a domino effect: I see a lot of people, a lot of circles of friends, buy houses around the same period of time ... because they are seeing their friends make home purchases,” he said.
He has also learned some new tricks of the trade. More than a year ago, Mr Gilmore photographed a couple who bought a house in Madison, Alabama.
The wife quickly texted him: “I hate those pictures,” she wrote, begging him not to post them on Facebook.
Mr Gilmore said he now takes at least 10 pictures of homebuyers, making sure they will have plenty to choose from.
Joey Cabibbo and his now wife Morgan celebrate outside their new home in Texas last year