There’s plenty of content making the rounds about exactly how real estate agents should market to and serve Millennials. But it’s almost all written by non-Millennials. So I decided to let you hear it straight from the horse’s mouth. Of course, I don’t pretend to perfectly represent an entire generation of people across the entire country. But, from my research, my experiences and desires line up pretty closely with my peers.
You’re smart to be working on solving the Millennial homebuyer puzzle. We represent almost 25% of the US population, and hold about $200 billion in purchase power. And we’re just now hitting the average age of first-time homebuyers. But, we also operate a little differently than any other generation.
Here are a few insights into my daily life, thought processes, and recent homebuying experience. Hopefully there are at least a few nuggets in here that can help you as you try to reach Millennials in your real estate marketing efforts.
Technology and social media
I’m on my iPhone so much that I really feel bad about it sometimes. It’s easily the #1 way I find and consume information. It’s how I search. Will I find you? It’s where I read reviews. Do you have any? It’s where I look at pictures and watch videos. Are you posting any? I text message way more than I talk on the phone. Do you take that into account when contacting me? I click Facebook ads and offers (if they’re timely and relevant to me). Are you running any? I read Tweets about what’s going on in my city this weekend. Would I see something from you there? I immediately hit the back button if I land on a site that doesn’t look good or function smoothly on my phone. Does yours? I read blogs. Are you posting interesting content on your blog regularly and sharing it? I immediately trash marketing postcards with all my other junk mail. Are you spending money on those? Are you still marketing the way real estate agents marketed to my parents, or have you adapted?
For better or worse (probably the latter) I’ve been conditioned to not only want, but expect immediate results. I barely remember dial-up Internet and pre-DVR tv. But that was a long time ago. Now, I want immediate response, reactions, and results at just about any time of the day. If I don’t get it, I’ll move on to the next option. How quickly do you respond to leads? Do you stop responding after 5 PM? Want me to work with you? You need to be fast. No hard feelings, it’s just how I operate. As a generation, we’ve become impatient and accustomed to speed.
I’ve grown up with so much information at my fingertips, it’s been easy to learn things for myself. What people used to call a specialist for, I search on YouTube and try myself. Why schedule, wait for, and pay a plummer $150/hour if I can find a video showing me how to fix a leaky faucet with a 5-cent washer in 5 minutes? If I can google a few things, find listings, neighborhood stats, etc., why not just do this homebuying thing myself? Of course, there’s more to it than that. But you have to prove that to me. I need evidence that makes me confident in your knowledge of the market, your ability to quickly get listings in front of me, set up showings, etc. In my case, I actually found the home on my phone, called my agent, he got us in it ASAP, and helped us get an offer in quickly and beat out multiple other offers.
As the first generation to really grow up with advanced digital technology, we’re also pretty creative problem solvers. In a general sense, we’ve bucked the trend of doing things the “traditional” way. We’ve disrupted many large industries with innovative solutions (think Uber, Airbnb, Spotify, etc.) This applies to housing as well. Luckily, I didn’t have any debt going into my home buying process, and had enough savings to supply a good downpayment. But that’s not the norm for my generation. The average student loan debt has tripled in the last 20 years. For Class of 2016 college graduates, it’s $37,172. That means 20% down on a home may not be an option. So we’ve adjusted. Getting creative with financing and housing options may be the reason I choose to work with you.
Whatever you do, it’s clear that reaching the Millennial generation absolutely relies on digital technology. The ultimate question is, as we go through our daily lives, will we find you?
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