Our parents got one thing right: They jumped headfirst into the real estate game without holding back. From the suburban boom following World War II until the housing crash in 2007, real estate ownership continued to set record highs. An untouchable real estate market, thriving economies, massive wealth and a tangible measurement of the “American dream” were a reality for many Americans.
Fast-forward to 2015, and you probably feel like we are constantly taking one step forward and two steps back, perpetually searching for a way to thrive once again. Ironically, as a real estate professional, you can take charge of putting your career on the fast track once again. It’s simple: Educate the most educated generation in American history: millennials.
A recent rent.com survey indicates that the millennial generation has little regard for the long-term detriment to holding off on homeownership; 51 percent of millennials are spending more than 40 percent of their annual income on rent, putting money back into the pockets of our parents (the landlords) and sacrificing the stability of their future (and yours) due to their lack of a real-world education on the values of homeownership.
Furthermore, 24 percent of millennials are willing to dish out an additional $400 a month just to stay in their current rental. By some measurements, that’s nearly $85,000 more home they can afford! Are they crazy!?
So what is the answer to getting millennials to jump into real estate? It lies in the most precious attribute the millennial generation boasts: their education!
Millennials need an education that takes place outside the classroom and lies solely on us in the real estate profession. As Albert Einstein famously stated, “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”
It is the duty of real estate professionals to educate millennials about the positives of homeownership, set the economy back in drive, and put the American dream back on the menu.
Local agents, national brokerages and the National Association of Realtors: It is time to start marketing the positives of real estate to millennials. Stop sending direct mail campaigns about homeownership to apartment buildings … that doesn’t work with millennials.
In order to sell millennials on the joy of owning, on the rewards of equity and the benefits of borrowing money, reach them where they are each and every day: the Internet. Here are some ways to use the findings from rent.com’s survey on your own digital platforms:
1. Educate millennials on the value of a dollar now versus a dollar tomorrow, on the economic impact one new home creates, and on the bright future of our country by adding fun infographics to your website and putting together exciting, fast-paced videos of the homebuying process.
2. Add eye-catching photos of fantastic kitchens and backyards to Facebook and Instagram to show the 27 percent of millennial renters who put apartment size and amenities at the top of their wish list that they can get something bigger, with more amenities, if they buy.
3. Show the 57 percent of millennials who rank affordability as the most important factor when choosing an apartment that ownership is just as, and sometimes more, affordable by having a kick-ass mortgage calculator on your website, which you promote through Twitter.
4. Host a happy hour for millennials to explain the benefits of a mortgage — how it increases your credit score, how you are putting money back into your pocket, how it is the cheapest money you will ever find, and that their interest is tax-deductible without sounding like a broken record playing over and over again in a classroom.
Start making the education of millennials your top priority, and start selling more this year!
Jay Dixon is the managing partner of GQRE, a cutting-edge real estate company in Charleston, South Carolina. He focuses on new ideas, concepts and teamwork to grow his business. From Southern California to South Carolina, he is determined to change the way real estate and business is done in America. Check out www.GQRE.com for more information about his team’s ultramodern real estate brokerage.