Homebuyers and sellers come from all walks of life. If you’ve been an agent for long, you’ve likely worked alongside a wide variety of folks—from first-timer homeowners and down-sizers, to second home searchers and those finally hunting for their dream home. While there is hardly a shortage of diversity in the housing market, there is one generation that is making big strides in homeownership these days: Millennials.
Millennials can be loosely defined as those between the ages of twenty-two to thirty-seven. As you can see, this constitutes a wide swathe of the population. If you’re an agent who stands to learn a bit more about a demographic whose influence and homeownership goals are rapidly evolving, tune in below for a few pointers that can help you expand a segment of your clientele in the process.
Many Millennials came of age during or immediately following the Great Recession, and as such, many of them relocated or returned to mid-size cities and smaller communities where the cost of living was most affordable. Of course, there are countless Millennials that call the U.S.’s major cities home—especially those in the tech industry. The good news is that you can court Millennial clientele no matter where you service area is located. That said, community amenities are of great importance to this generation. They value public transportation, green space, and entertainment—from coffee shops and top-notch restaurants to farmer’s markets and boutiques. Emphasizing those attributes will be key in selling to Millennials and locating neighborhoods they’re most interested in.
Most Millennials are digital natives, or close to. That means they grew up learning how to navigate digital spaces, and prefer to communicate through mediums like email, text, and social media. This isn’t to say that Millennials aren’t good communicators, but they’re often on the go, and have learned to research and shop online. To accommodate this, it’s best to build a presence across the most popular listing portals and social media platforms. Although, it’s not enough to establish a site and wait for the calls to come in. Responsiveness is a key factor for Millennials, who expect speedy response times. Make sure you’re checking your inbox frequently, responding accordingly, and engaging with your audience online. This will let Millennials know that you’re savvy, available, and understand the value of their preferred method of communication.
It’s a common misconception that Millennials are uninterested in the rite of passage of purchasing a home. While Millennials maybe waiting a bit longer than their parents did to buy a home, there are good reasons to explain this phenomenon. For starters, Millennials entered the job market during the downturn, which means they are more conservative when making big purchases, and have to play catch-up to reach a sound financial position. Likewise, student loan debt has proved a major financial inhabitation for Millennials. Instead of socking away a few hundred a month to save for a home, they’re forking over that cash to pay down their educational loans. How does a Realtor compete with this reality? For starters, a bit of understanding goes a long way. Work with your mortgage partners to find financing possibilities that cater to this younger demographic. Recognize that Millennials—like most buyers—have some trepidations when buying a home. Also consider fielding Millennial clientele with the long view in mind. You might be courting them for months or more until they’re ready to take the plunge, but they’re also famous for their reviews. When a job is done well, Millennials shout it from the rooftops—or at least share it a dozen time from their phone.
As time passes, Millennials will continue to dominate the marketplace when it comes to buying and selling homes. A little self-education on this powerful demographic can go a long way. If you know your clients and your audience, you’ll be in a far better position to serve their interests and make a customer for life.