Psychology of Marketing Real Estate, Part 1: Who

Psychology of Marketing Real Estate image of parts of the brain
The Psychology of Marketing Real Estate is rather complex but let this handy, three-part series sort it out for you.

As with any business where humans participate, there is a psychology involved. Real estate is no different.

In fact, it’s more varied and diverse because there are a larger number of roles interacting with the buying or selling of properties.

In this article, I’m going to look at the psychology of marketing real estate from the Listing Agent’s perspective. While in my home city’s market is tilted towards home sellers just a few short years back this wasn’t the case.

And even expert Realtors can learn a thing or two when it comes to such an incredibly complex entity we call home buyers.

Who: Psychology of Marketing to Humans

Photo of a couple of retirees
Marketing real estate to retirees is vastly different than to other people groups. Understanding your clients is key to being successful.

Let’s first speak to the idea of personas. According to wiki, personas came to marketing in the early 90s from a gentleman named Angus Jenkinson. The idea is simple, here it is:

A persona is a fictional person with distinct goals and behaviors.

There you go! Next, make sure your marketing messages target each persona appropriately.

Test. Measure. Tweak. And, voila, marketing is enhanced and sales improve. (For more on this topic, visit How to Create Detailed Buyer Personas for Your Business.)

In the field of real estate, the following list covers the most common people types. I’ve created some fun names to make things more memorable.

Sample Real Estate Personas

  • Frank Bailey (First Time Home Buyer)
  • Mark and Melissa Fenton (Moving Up Families)
  • Vincent and Bethany Lawrence (Luxury Buyers)
  • Anabel Palmer (Business Professional)
  • Hank and Jill Farmer (Farms and More)
  • Lawrence and Gladys Ragsdale (Retirees)

[Note: Renters might be another persona but in my market, they’re most often on their own as there is little financial incentive for professionals to get involved.]

Of course, there can be other personas that make sense as well but these cover most of the real estate transactions professionals deal with today.

Let’s take a look at each persona and see what motivations are involved.

Frank Bailey (First Time Home Buyer)

For Realtors targeting this persona, the name of the game is full service. Given that these clients have never purchased a home before Mr. Bailey is going to need someone to explain all the many details and walk him through every step.

Setting expectations is especially important with this persona. No one likes surprises and no other persona is likely to be surprised more often than first-time home buyers.

Mark and Melissa Fenton (Moving Up Families)

This persona has some experience with the process of a real estate transaction. They are extremely family-focused and will place a greater emphasis on things like quality schools, larger lots, and more spacious houses.

Targeting these topics with your marketing efforts will pay dividends. Communicating your expertise in these areas will further enhance your reputation to this people group.

Also remember, sharing common experiences builds rapport. We all should know that excellent interpersonal skills are an important asset to a successful real estate agent.

Vincent and Bethany Lawrence (Luxury Buyers)

The Lawrence persona has achieved some level of success in this world. Building up wealth isn’t easy and now they’re ready to enjoy the results of their labor.

When Realtors target this persona, marketing your own professional success resonates with the client. Setting yourself apart from the crowd and highlighting your expertise in catering to the high-end of the market should be your goal.

This real estate client will likely be the most challenging of all. Expect challenges both in the home search process and with the client/agent relationship during the transaction. The good news is that compensation for these transactions is generally worth the additional trouble.

Anabel Palmer (Business Professional)

Photo of some young professionals
The Psychology of Marketing Real Estate understands that young professionals, like Anabel Palmer here, respond differently to various triggers.

Anabel is a mover and a shaker. Buying a home is just another task that needs to be “checked off” even though it is still a very important one.

Being able to save Ms. Palmer time and energy is paramount. Target properties are often located in more urban areas. Condos may be preferred to a single-family home to these busy individuals.

Put yourself inside this persona and feel what her life is like, then as her real estate professional, you can anticipate her requests and have solutions at the ready.

Hank and Jill Farmer (Farms and More)

This farmer family will place a premium on the land—does it provide the necessary space and topology to accomplish their most vital tasks? The house often plays second fiddle to the parcel.

Again, Realtors that can share similar life experiences will always have the upper hand with any persona but it’s especially true with this one. Are there horses that need a barn? Other livestock? What about space for agricultural plantings?

In recent years agents haven’t specialized in specific aspects of the market but farm experts may be the one persona that thrives with a niche specialist.

Lawrence and Gladys Ragsdale (Retirees)

The fastest-growing persona is this one, as more and more Baby Boomers are looking to downsize. We’re not talking about nursing homes here, just smaller homes.

Number one on the list is low maintenance. A close second is few, if any, stairs. The home’s level of finish is still very important but perhaps more so is the proximity to both amenities and family support. This persona wants to feel safe and in control.


Stay tuned for parts two and three of this series on the psychology of marketing real estate.