Nothing Average About Being Similar

Back in a high school or college history class, your teacher/professor probably shared the following piece of information with you concerning life in the Old World back in the 1600s: the average life span back in that day was 35 years (or something like that – exact accuracy isn’t my point).  And when you heard that, if you were like me, you thought, “That means if I were living back then, I should be having my midlife crisis right about now.  Ouch!”

Your instructor wasn’t lying to you.  He or she just wasn’t qualifying the statement correctly.  The AVERAGE life span was, in fact, very short, but that didn’t mean that people were keeling over right and left after blowing out 30+ candles on their cakes.  The truth lies in the word “average”.  At that time, you had quite a few people living into their 60s and beyond, but there were equal numbers of infant deaths due to disease and poor living conditions – if you average the life spans of everyone in that time, you naturally get a number that skews much younger than expected.

For this and other reasons, statisticians like to use the median of a number set rather than the average (or in statistic speak, “mean”).  The median is the exact middle of a number set.  By going with the number that falls smack dab in the middle, you’re able to omit the outliers.  For example, you’re looking at income data for a marketing project, and you have someone who falls into the data set who makes $1 million.  Everyone else is ranging between $30K and $75K.  Your average by including Ms. Million Dollars is going to be MUCH higher than what you’re really seeking.  By going with the MEDIAN number, you’re going to come up with something that falls within reason.

I told you all that just so I can present you with this little piece of data I got from the National Association of Realtors:

If I’m being honest (when have you known me to lie?), I was a bit surprised by these statistics.  I would have thought the ages were slightly younger.  And because I assumed the numbers were slightly higher, my past marketing efforts, most likely, have been a tad misdirected.  For example, in running a Facebook ad, I was reaching out to people in their mid 20s.  Why would that make any sense?  Sure, you could make the argument that I’m planting seeds for future buyers, but that argument is full of holes because marketing really should concentrate on getting customers NOW (or at least in the next few months).

On another front, I’ve toyed with the idea of going to college groups to educate them about saving for a down payment and the advantages of homeownership.  It’s not a bad idea if it’s not going to take a lot of my time or cost me much (or anything) dollar wise – this is where planting seeds isn’t a bad thing.  But if this or a similar exercise is going to cost me time and money, I need to abandon that idea and go where I’ll see a much quicker ROI!

For those who already knew this, may the gods of real estate continue to smile upon you.  But for those of us who are JUST having this lightbulb moment, I hope this helps.  Either way, give your history teacher a call and let him know you want a refund for his class.

marketing, mortgage, prioritylending, realestate

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