Homebuyers are increasingly looking to texting as a way to communicate with housing professionals on the go during the home buying process, however, certain topics are off-limits for this method of communication, according to a new study from Ellie Mae.
Ellie Mae’s study, Great TEXTpectations: The Text Messaging Playbook for Sellers, surveyed 500 consumers and more than 350 sales professionals to understand consumer expectations surrounding text messaging during the home buying process. The study also looks at the current uses of text messages, and measures them against consumers’ expectations.
“Consumers have been telling us that text messaging is well suited for their on-the-go, digital lives,” said Nick Hedges, Ellie Mae senior vice president of consumer engagement strategy. “And while consumers expressed a nearly universal expectation for text communications from sellers, there were a number of surprises regarding the appropriateness of texting them for different reasons.”
“This detailed feedback can be invaluable for sales professionals looking to make smarter decisions about integrating text messaging into their digital lead generation and sales workflows,” Hedges said.
But while both consumers and sales professionals advocated for the usage of texting in order to speed up the home-buying process, there were a few key areas which homebuyers said were off limits when it comes to texting.
For example, just 29% of homebuyers thought it was appropriate to send promotions or special programs through text. Another 26% said it would be ok to send happy birthday wishes and just 19% said it was ok to use texting to just say hello.
Respondents were the most open to receiving text messages for appointment reminders and deadline reminders.
“Sales professionals have a tremendous opportunity to improve engagement and outcomes by integrating and synchronizing text with other communication channels,” Hedges said. “They can deliver a more optimal consumer experience by aligning text use and other efforts to individualized preferences.”
The survey found that as the demand for communication through text increased, less homebuyers prefer to communicate through email. In fact, the number of consumers who find emails intrusive has grown over the past five to 10 years, the survey found.
“Though it has a long way to go, the widespread upward trend of preference for text raises the possibility that text might someday become the preferred method of communication,” Hedges said. “But for the foreseeable future, consumers prefer text on a situational basis and there is no contact strategy that is one-size-fits-all.”
But despite the increasing demand, housing professionals still cite various challenges to texting, including 56% bringing up compliance concerns, 50% saying there is no tool available and 34% saying they don’t want to use their personal cell.
These pain points outline areas technology companies could improve the process for real estate professionals, allowing them to more easily communicate with their homebuyer and speed up the home-buying process.