I was fortunate to attend a workshop in California recently at which bright young millennial Casey Wright discussed the next generation of home owners.
Some of the data he shared was extremely interesting. Casey’s statistics are US-based, but that said, the millennial population globally is following a very similar path. Here is a summary of the highlights to keep in mind when selling real estate to millennials.
- 31 per cent of home buyers right now are millennials
- 76 per cent of all first home buyers are millennials
- They move every five years compared to a national average of 10 years
- Their agent ratings have the highest levels of satisfaction
- They refer more often than any other generation
Millennials, or Gen Y, are currently aged between 14 and 34. They are active in buying real estate and soon to be just as active in selling, so as agents it’s important for us to adjust how we do business to meet the needs of our millennial clients.
Casey stressed the most important trait they will demand from us is authenticity – a trait that goes a long way, no matter which generation you fall into. Casey mentioned that the younger generation hate to be sold to and will need to connect with real people. They want to know the people behind the brand in order to trust us.
At the end of the day, Casey’s findings proved equally relevant for any real estate professional dealing with a range of clients, so it makes sense to adopt at least some of these practices and really think about modernising our approach as agents.
So here are the rules:
1. Build trust through absolute honesty
Talk about the good and the bad. Admit when you don’t know something. Don’t be afraid to be “real”. Provide advice that benefits them, not you.
2. Explain why
Most agents focus on what they do and how they do it. To really engage a millennial client, explain why you do what you do to build trust and understanding.
3. Don’t call them on the phone
Email them or text them to ask for a good time to call. Millennials prefer interaction on their terms, when it’s convenient to them.
4. You can’t always match wants to the property
Sometimes, it seems as though millennials aren’t always sure what they are looking for when it comes to property features. That’s why it’s so important for us to ask a lot more questions to find out the lifestyle they seek and why. Then we’ll be able to match our clients with the property that will meet their lifestyle.
5. Do not advertise property on Facebook
Do it once and every millennial will block you. Instead, provide information that is of value with photos and graphics. Be the go-to expert on real estate.
6. Educate them
Decades ago the great dream was to own your own home. Today, that’s not always the case. Some commentators are making a case for renting well into our retirement years and young people are settling down later in life. So we need to educate our millennial clients on the benefits of owning a property rather than renting long-term – and that goes for educating our clients on finance as well. Some younger clients may not know the ins and outs of qualifying for a home loan. Go that extra step of explaining and demystifying the experience for them.
7. Involve them
Millennials love to feel included, so invite them to help with anything from writing ads, assisting with photography and discussing their favourite rooms. Ask them to send you the 10 things they want from their real estate agent. Involve them in the process and always explain why.
Moving forward, I believe as agents we need to get better at marketing our real selves, at connecting in an authentic way and communicating more by text and email.
I am looking forward to working with the Casey Wrights of the world and the best idea is to ensure we have one or two millennials on our teams to help us along the way.