How to Host a First-Time Home Buyer Seminar

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Home buying seminars are a great way for real estate agents to educate local residents, while generating new business at the same time. After all, what could be better than a roomful of people who need the very services you provide?

Yet many agents overlook this educational (and fun) approach to business growth. In this guide, you'll learn how to successfully plan, promote, and host a home buying seminar for buyers in your city or town.

Topics covered in this guide:

Benefits of Hosting a First-Time Buyer Seminar

Home buyers have a lot of questions about the buying process and the real estate market. Especially the first-timers.

Which type of home loan is right for me? How much house can I afford? What's the real estate market like right now? How do I make an offer? Are home prices going up or down?

Home buying seminars are a great way to answer these types of questions all at once, in an educational group setting. The primary benefit, from an attendee's perspective, is that they can ask get answers from a live person. They don't have this benefit when reading articles or books about the process.

But buyers aren't the only ones who benefit. Here are five benefits for real estate agents, when hosting a first-time home buyer seminar:

1. Providing a valuable public service

Seminars are a great way to educate potential buyers about the home buying process, and all of the important steps they'll encounter along the way. You'll be equipping them with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions while avoiding costly mistakes. So you're providing a valuable public service in support of your local community.

2. Generating leads from potential clients

Hosting a seminar for local home buyers can also help you generate valuable leads to support your real estate business. For many agents, this is the primary goal. By providing valuable information and answering questions, you can position yourself as a trusted advisor and build relationships with potential clients.

3. Distinguishing yourself from competitors

As a real estate agent, you have a lot of competition. Just consider the following statistics.

The National Association of Realtors claims to have more than 1.6 million members. And that doesn't even account for all of the licensed agents who are not members of NAR. The Association of Real Estate License Law Officials (ARELLO) estimates there are more than 3 million active real estate licensees in the United States.

This is one of the most challenging things about being a real estate agent. There's so much competition out there! Because of this, you have to do everything you can to distinguish yourself from competitors. That's how you attract new clients.

Hosting a home buying seminar is one way to accomplish this goal. It allows you to "humanize" yourself, and to demonstrate your expertise in front of a live audience. During a seminar, you're not just a name on a website or business card. You're a knowledgeable person helping local home buyers pursue their dreams of homeownership.

And that's a great way to stand out from all of the other real estate agents in your area.

4. Growing your sphere of influence

In a real estate context, the "sphere of influence" includes all of the sources through which you might generate new business. This can include friends and family, past clients, other industry professionals, and leads from potential clients.

Hosting a first-time home buyer seminar can help you grow your sphere of influence in several ways. After all, you're not just connecting with the people attending the seminar. By extension, you're also connecting with their extended networks -- especially if some of those attendees become actual clients.

5. Having some fun along the way

Putting on a home buying seminar requires time and effort. But it's not "all work and no play." In fact, many real estate agents discover that hosting a first-time buyer seminar is actually a lot of fun. You get to meet new people, share your knowledge, and help people achieve their dreams of homeownership.

How to Plan, Promote and Host Your Event

Want to put on an educational event of your own? Here's how to host a home buying seminar for future buyers in your local area.

  1. The first thing you need to do is create a presentation of some kind. PowerPoint is the most popular tool, because it's widely available and fairly easy to use. You can project a PowerPoint seminar onto a screen or a white wall with very little hardware (and some venues will provide the hardware).
  2. Next, you'll need to identify your venue. Check with public libraries in your area. Tell them you're planning to host a home buying seminar, and ask if they have meeting space that can be reserved for that sort of thing. If you strike out there, check with local colleges, schools and universities. Google "meeting space for rent" followed by the name of your city.
  3. If you think you'll have a large audience (because you live in a major metro area), consider renting a conference room at a hotel. I once helped plan and promote a home buying seminar that was held in a rather large Embassy Suites conference room. We filled it to capacity!
  4. When you have a presentation and venue squared away, you need to start promoting the seminar. Schedule the venue at least a month in advance, so you'll have enough time to spread the word.
  5. There are many ways to promote a home buying seminar. Use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Publish a press release online, and send it to all local news outlets. Post a flyer in the event location (e.g., public library), if they'll allow it. Consider doing a letter campaign. Leverage your newsletter list, if you have one.
  6. Have a web page where people can sign up for the seminar. Get their email addresses, so you can email them a courtesy reminder a day or two before the event (some people will forget).
  7. Prepare a handout version of the presentation — something the attendees can take home with them. Make sure your contact information is in the footer of each page. Put your bio on the last page.
  8. Place a business card and a handout in each chair, or on the tables.
  9. Give a great seminar. Get into the details of the home buying process. Bring people up to speed on local market conditions. Offer plenty of examples and anecdotes to reinforce each topic. Tell jokes. Show your personality. Have fun!
  10. Go easy on the sales pitch. At the end of the seminar, tell people you'd be happy to help them purchase a home. Let people sign up for your newsletter, if you have one. These closing remarks, along with the handout and business card, is all the self-promotion you need.

So there you have it, a crash course in how to host a home buying seminar. In closing, let's talk about some of the topics you should include in your presentation.

Popular Topics to Include in a Buyer Seminar

I've been answering questions through the Home Buying Institute for many years. Many first-time buyers ask the same questions, over and over. These FAQs represent the sorts of topics you should include in your home buying seminar. At a minimum, I recommend including the following topics:

  • An overview of the home buying process, from financial preparation all the way to closing
  • An overview of the mortgage process (pre-approval, GFE, underwriting, conditions, closing)
  • The different types of home loans, with pros and cons of each
  • How to get the best deal on a loan (credit score considerations, paying points, etc.)
  • Current mortgage rates, trends for the last few months, and rate predictions going forward
  • The current state of your local housing market (supply and demand, negotiating leverage, etc.)
  • The current inventory situation in the area (how easy / hard is it to find a home)
  • How to make an offer and negotiate with sellers
  • What happens on closing day and how to prepare for it

Feel free to include any other topics you feel are important, based on your experiences as a real estate agent. Use the topic list above as a starting point. Your attendees will thank you for it.

Frequently Asked Questions from Agents

We've been involved with many first-time home buyer seminars over the years, helping agents create and promote their events. In that time, we've fielded a lot of questions on the subject, including these...

How do I find a suitable venue for my event?

Consider using a public library, community center, co-working space, your real estate office, or a partner location such as a mortgage lender's office. Factors to weigh include cost, capacity, accessibility, and available amenities (parking, presentation technology, etc.).

Important considerations:

  • Capacity: Estimate your expected attendance. Add a buffer of 10-20% in case you get more sign-ups than initially predicted.
  • Cost: Compare the rental costs of different venues. Look for budget-friendly options or explore potential partnerships to share costs.
  • Location: Ensure the venue is centrally located and easily accessible for your target audience. Consider proximity to public transportation or ample parking availability.
  • Amenities: Determine if you need essential features like projection equipment, Wi-Fi, comfortable seating, tables for materials, and accessible restrooms.
  • Atmosphere: Choose a space that is well-lit, has good acoustics, and provides a suitable ambiance for your seminar (professional but comfortable).
  • Inclusions: If you're renting a venue, find out what's included with the rental fee (tables, chairs, AV equipment, setup/cleanup services, etc.).
  • Book early: Popular venues can fill up quickly, so start the search well in advance of your seminar date.
  • Visit in person: Before finalizing, visit the potential venues to assess the layout, ambiance, and suitability in person.

What date and time works best for hosting a seminar?

Generally speaking, weekends or weekday evenings work best because they offer flexibility for your audience. Here are some other considerations when choosing the time and date for a first-time home buying seminar.

Mid-Week Convenience: Studies and experience show that Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays tend to attract the highest attendance. People are more likely to be in a focused work mindset during the mid-week.

Ideal Time Slot: Consider hosting your seminar in the early evening (6 PM - 8 PM). This allows people to attend after work without requiring a very late night.

Target Audience: If you specifically aim for young professionals, early evenings might be better. If many first-time buyers in your area are families, the flexibility of a weekend option might be helpful.

Should I partner with a lender or other professionals?

Partnering with a mortgage lender or other industry professionals can make your first-time home buyer seminar more valuable, while helping you connect with a wider audience.

You could team up with a lender, title company, home inspector, or insurance agent.

A mortgage lender is arguably the most essential co-presenter due to their expertise in loan processes, pre-approval, and down payment assistance information. Similarly, a title company representative can educate buyers about title insurance, closing costs, and the escrow process.

These are all popular topics among first-time home buyers and would therefore make a great addition to a seminar.

But you don't have to bring in a co-presenter. With the right preparation and planning, you could host a successful first-time buyer seminar on your own. Consider the pros and cons of flying solo versus having a co-pilot and go with your gut.

What kinds of resources and materials do I need?

When hosting a first-time home buyer seminar, the presentation itself is the most important piece. So make sure you have a great PowerPoint presentation ready to go.

(Note: We can help you by creating a fully customized PowerPoint complete with information slides. See the top of this page for details.)

Here are some other items you might need to host a great seminar:

Speaker Notes: Prepare notes or a script for yourself to ensure you don't miss key points and to help with the flow of the presentation.

Seminar Summary: Provide a one or two-page handout summarizing the key points of your presentation. This adds value for attendees while increasing the chance they'll contact you after the home buying seminar.

Contact Info: Make sure handouts include your name, contact information, and website address for further inquiries.

Technology: Ensure you have any necessary laptops, projectors, screens, microphones (if it's a larger venue), etc. Consider a test run in the venue beforehand to avoid technical difficulties.

Sign-in Sheet: Have a sign-in sheet to collect attendees' names and contact information for later follow-up.

Refreshments: Simple refreshments like water, coffee, or light snacks can enhance the experience.

Giveaways (optional): Branded pens, notepads, or other small takeaways with your contact information can help attendees remember you.

And don't forget the most important resource of all—yourself. Show up for your first-time home buying seminar ready to help people. A little enthusiasm goes a long way, so bring the best version of you!

How can I promote the seminar to increase attendance?

Promotional strategies can vary depending on the audience and the agent. Do you have any existing marketing channels with good visibility, like a blog or social media? Start by promoting your first-time buyer seminar on those established channels.

Explore public relations (PR) opportunities as well. Consider sending a press release to local news outlets or housing-related publications. Sell the benefits of your home buying seminar, like the fact that you're educating local residents at no cost.

Here are some messaging strategies well suited for first-time home buyer seminars:

  • Focus on benefits. Instead of just listing seminar topics, communicate how attendees will directly benefit (e.g., "Learn how to qualify for down payment assistance and save thousands").
  • Address pain points. Identify common first-time home buyer anxieties and tailor your message to address them (e.g., "Confused by the home buying process? Our seminar breaks it down step-by-step.").
  • Urgency and incentives. Consider offering a limited-time discount for early registration or a raffle for attendees. Creating a sense of urgency can encourage sign-ups.

How We Can Help You

This tutorial was written for the do-it-yourself (DIY) types, primarily. At the same time, I realize some real estate agents lack the time and/or technical ability to complete some of the tasks listed above.

That's why I've created a home buying seminar presentation for you. This PowerPoint presentation includes a total of 18 informative slides that you can edit as needed (or use them as-is). I'll also customize the presentation for you, with your company information and preferred colors.