Some real estate professionals feel that Millennials seldom close and are thus not good prospects. But they would be wrong.
The truth is that this cohort makes up the largest contingent of home buyers today, but what they’re looking for isn’t exactly the same as what their parents and grandparents were seeking. Yet, as long as real estate marketers and professionals adjust their practices accordingly and implement sound marketing strategies, there’s no reason why they can’t add a significant number of Millennials to their list of satisfied customers.
So, what are these necessary adjustments?
Be present where they are
Millennials tend to view investments in real estate as hassle-filled and confusing. While this might seem like a negative for those in the industry, it is actually a positive because it means that these would-be buyers prefer to leave the details in the hands of the professionals instead of attempting to negotiate private deals themselves. However, members of this generation won’t just show up at your doorstep if you don’t do anything to lead them there. This group of digitally-reliant consumers is tied to the internet and especially social media, so real estate sites will have to maintain a strong online presence with added interactive aspects if they hope to successfully court them. Comprehensive internet listings and virtual property tours can do wonders for initial interest with this younger set of buyers. Mobile compatibility is key because these Millennial shoppers are seldom to go anywhere without their smartphones in hand.
Digital usage by realtors is also helpful in educating Millennial homebuyers, particularly those who are concerned about finances. When realtors can crunch the numbers and tangibly show Millennials that investing in a house today often represents a much better long-term value than renting they will find greater success. Some Millennial buyers may feel that they can’t save up enough for a down payment, but this may be because they’ve heard advice recommending that they put down a full 20 percent. Realty marketers should educate them on their options for smaller down payments from the first touchpoint – the realty’s website and social media channels.
Understand their wants
But putting listings and information in the right place isn’t the end of it. Millennials have a keen sense of what they want in a home, and they will extend their search as long as it takes to ensure they find it. Millennials as a cohort generally want wide-open spaces that they can configure themselves, at low cost, in alignment with their own preferences and needs.
Digital-friendliness is also a must-have because this generation feels discomfort if they can’t properly use their gadgets to stay connected in their personal spaces. This ties into home automation, which is becoming increasingly prevalent as equipment becomes more affordable and devices become easier to use. Smart lights, security systems and cameras are just a few of the cool features that weren’t available to Millennials’ predecessors. There’s no reason to go all out with dozens of gizmos costing thousands of dollars, however. A simple programmable thermostat, for example, will immediately make a house more user-friendly while highlighting the possibilities for future expansion in the eyes of the Millennial buyer.
Walkability is another factor that’s often overlooked but that plays a major role in the final selling price for this generation. Realtors should be sure to mention to Millennial clients if a home is near public transportation, local retailers, grocery stores and restaurants. Even in suburban locales, there are probably a few parks, bars and other neighborhood hotspots that will make the property more appealing to these younger shoppers.
Aside from initial awareness, technology has stepped into the forefront when it comes to making the entire real estate consumer journey easier. Real estate professionals should communicate with their potential buyers via email and text messages because these are the methods that they’re used to and that they find most convenient. Realtors should keep Millennial shoppers apprised of the latest news because they’ll appreciate quick responses. Further into their journey, digital document signing can speed the process of closing without compromising on security.
In addition to these smaller conveniences in the home-buying process, there are other tools available to both real estate agents and their Millennial clients to ensure that the houses they consider are within their budget. For example, Zillow had recently launched a website specifically for Millennials who are searching for their first home – RealEstate.com. Users are able to search for potential homes according to monthly costs, which includes estimates like homeowners insurance, property tax, utilities, and homeowner’s association fees. Because Millennials are entering the market with lower incomes and higher prices than their previous generations, tools like RealEstate.com are important for first time homebuyers to close.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Today’s aspiring Millennial homeowners are starting new families, earning promotions and pay raises, and hoping to buy into the American Dream by acquiring their own properties. They have these things in common with their forebears, even if their market-visible attitudes and behaviors come across as different. By tailoring real estate marketing efforts to the ways in which they’re unique, realtors and realty marketers can help many of them on achieving their life goals.
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