Takeaways:

  • Millennials are quirky with different needs.
  • Millennials love agents, but are hard to please.
  • Millennials value honesty and trustworthiness more than any other character trait in real estate agents. 

Raised with smartphones and the Internet, millennials are a different breed of consumer. They’re also the largest homebuying generation in the U.S.

For example, millennials — which the National Association of Realtors defines as anyone born between the years 1980 and 1995 — are harder for agents to please than other generations, according to NAR’s 2015 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends report.

Here is what millennials (aka Gen Yers) say they want.

We love agents!

Despite what you may think, millennials are big into working with agents, more than any other generation. Ninety percent of millennial homebuyers use an agent.

Work hard, though, as we’re difficult to please

Sixty-three percent of millennial home sellers would use their agent again or recommend him or her to others, the lowest percentage of any generation.

The same trend emerges on the other side of the deal.

Seventy percent of millennial homebuyers would hire their agent again or send a friend or family member to him or her, a lower proportion than buyers in any other generation.

We find our agents through friends and family

Approximately half of millennial homebuyers and sellers — 45 percent and 50 percent, respectively — found their agent through friends or relatives, a much higher proportion than other generations.

Text us, but also call

It’s more important to millennials that agents communicate with them via text message than other generations, but a large percentage (75 percent) also highly value phone calls.

Because we’re on our smartphones

Millennial homebuyers are more likely to search for homes on their smartphones and via mobile apps than older generations. For example, 58 percent used an iPhone and 32 percent used an Android device, more than any other generation.

We love the Internet

More millennial homebuyers used websites (94 percent) for information in their home search than buyers from other generations.

In addition, over half (51 percent) of millennial homebuyers found the home they purchased online, more than any other generation.

But we rely on agents to inform us

Three-quarters of millennial homebuyers, more than any other generation, rely on agents to help them understand the homebuying process.

More millennial homebuyers turned to agents for information (87 percent) than buyers from other generations.

With that, please don’t take advantage of us

Close to a quarter (23 percent) of millennial home sellers didn’t know they could negotiate their agent’s commission and fees, a much higher proportion than older generations.

Win our business with trust

More than a quarter of millennial homebuyers (26 percent) rated honesty and trustworthiness as the most important factor they considered when choosing an agent, more than any other generation.

Homes = $

A higher proportion of millennial homebuyers (84 percent) felt their homes were a good financial investment than other generations. A higher percentage (42 percent) also felt that buying a home was a better investment than stocks.

We dominate homebuying

Millennials make up 32 percent of all homebuyers, the largest proportion of any generation. At 27 percent, Gen X (people born between 1965 and 1979) accounted for the next-largest segment. Younger boomers account for 16 percent, older boomers for 15 percent and the silent generation for 10 percent.

The full 2015 NAR Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends report is available here.

Email Paul Hagey.