Millennials. They seem to be the talk of the town in every industry, especially real estate right now. There’s a good reason for that – according to the National Association of REALTORS® 2017 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report, Millennials (age 18 – 35) were the largest group of home buyers for the fourth year in a row. Sixty-six percent of this group was also a first-time buyer. If you haven’t already thought about how your marketing strategy should change to reach millennial buyers, it’s time!
Millennials are vastly different from previous generations. According to Paul Taylor, executive vice president of the Pew Research Center and author of the book The Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational Showdown,“Millennials are different from their parents and grandparents in ways that are already impacting all aspects of life. For example, they are less religiously affiliated and slow to marry and have kids. They grew up with cell phones and on social networking sites while also obtaining a high level of education, but are still struggling financially because of the economy.”
While times may be a little tough for the millennial generation with higher student loan debt and difficulty entering the job market, they are still eager to reach the “American Dream" of owning their own home. In fact, the median age of first-time buyers has stayed relatively unchanged at 31. According to Jessica Lautz, managing director of survey research at NAR, this means that Millennials “are ready and willing to buy if they can in fact break into the market. It’s getting more difficult to get to that point, but the desire to do so hasn’t changed.”
So how can you connect with this large group of young buyers?
1. Demonstrate Your Expertise
More than any other generation, 74 percent of millennial buyers noted that help understanding the purchase process was the most beneficial part of working with an agent. They are new to home buying and selling and may need a little hand-holding as you work through the financing and overall process. Be patient and demonstrate how well you know your stuff! Take advantage of the millennial interest in infographics, videos, and visual content to take your expertise to the next level.
2. Build Trust
NAR’s generational survey found that millennial buyers rate the most important factor for their real estate agent as honesty and trustworthiness. In response to a Pew Research study question about whether most people can be trusted, only 19% of Millennials answered yes, compared with 30%+ of older generations. You have a great opportunity to close that gap. Be authentic in your communications and avoid the heavy sales approach, instead provide content that is directly related to the client’s interests.
3. Communicate On Their Terms
Millennials are connected. They are using their smartphones for everything – Facebook, texting, email, Snapchat… the list goes on! It’s important to make sure you’re connecting with them through their preferred method of communication. Times have changed and many in this generation like to avoid talking on the phone, preferring to text instead. Work with them to make sure you know that preference and respect it as you continue your professional relationship.
The presence of the millennial generation in the current market can’t be denied. The number of these young buyers is increasing steadily. Understanding their needs and wants can help you connect in a more meaningful way, expanding your target audience and helping you reach a whole new group of potential clients.
While the internet is a huge information source for the younger generation, Millennials still look to real estate professionals to provide them with relevant market information. Leverage tools to help you keep clients informed about how the market is performing in their area and make sure to ask them how often they want to hear from you.