Much has been made of America’s latest generation of adults, from Baby Boomers eager to lament the work ethic of the “participation trophy” generation to researchers intent on understanding how their buying habits could serve to shape the economy itself.
But, the latest generation is also the largest: adult Millennials now number more than 75 million, according to the Pew Research Center. Recognizing that many millennials are beginning to enter their early and even mid-thirties is important for realtors, considering that historically the average first-time home buyer is roughly 33 years-old.
Needless to say, it will be vital for real estate agents to evolve and find ways to intelligently serve the Millennial generation, a demographic that has so far been a difficult sell. Factors from student loan debt to stagnant incomes have led the majority of Millennials to rent or stay out of the game and home with mom and dad, but that trend is rapidly changing — in a recent survey, more than 65 percent of Millennials saw buying a home as integral to “the American dream,” and most analysts foresee a change in the wind and in the housing market.
“The millennials are now adding to the ranks of renters and will eventually spur demand for first-time homeownership. As the oldest members of this generation turn 30 this year and the economy continues to recover, that demand should begin to emerge more strongly.” This as mentioned in a report “The State of the Nation’s Housing 2015” published by Harvard University.
Research also demonstrates that Millennial homebuyers have different expectations than those from previous generations, which leads to one question: what do today’s real estate professionals need to do to capture Millennial home buyers as clients and work with them successfully?
Be social and connect.
It’s always important to meet consumers where they are, and for Millennials, that’s on social media, through web advertising, with search engines and on mobile apps. Marketing and sales efforts will need to be redesigned. Experts recommend being as accessible as possible because Millennials will expect an immediate response on any platform.
“If you are not using some form of social media, then it is likely you will not attract Millennials. Brief, frequent, and efficient interactions are the communication norm for Millennials. Get an online presence and stay connected,” said Larry Weltman, customer service representative with AccessEasyFunds, a Canadian company that aims to provide cash flow solutions for real estate agents.
Understand they have less money to spend.
They will be slow to enter the market, and in many cases will be sidelined by high unemployment, student loans and tight credit. 93 percent of renters between the ages of 18 and 35 want to buy a home someday. However, trends in the economy suggest when they are ready, their salaries will still be lower and they will likely be saddled with debt.
“Transparency, clarity and security will be essential for these new buyers,” added Larry Weltman.
Keep things environmentally friendly.
“We are concerned with economic growth, job creation, enhancing public health, bolstering educational achievement, and national security and diplomacy. Young people recognize that each of these concerns is inextricably tied to the environment and see environmental health and protection as a means to arriving at any of these outcomes,” said David Weinberger, senior Fellow for Energy and Environment at the Roosevelt Institute.
Although Millennials tend to prefer to be in the driver’s seats and control their own education and flow of information, it will still be necessary for them to have the guidance of a professional real estate agent. Realtors should be well-versed in the issues that are close to potential buyers’ hearts, and that means knowing what features of a home might appeal to them, whether it’s talking energy-saving appliances or what type of paint coats the walls of a home.