There is an amazing amount of buzz around millennials. The primary focus in the real estate industry is if and when millennials will purchase real estate. We’ve heard and read that millennials think and act differently than previous generations.
Let’s take a look at the millennial generation and see if they are all that different.
Who are millennials?
There isn’t a clear delineation as to when the first millennials were born. The years of the first millennials entering the world range from 1977 to 1981 and the end year ranges from 1997 to 2004. If you take the two extremes, millennials constitute a large percent of the population.
Millennial culture and mindset
Unlike boomers (baby boomers were born between 1946-1964), millennials have little to no perspective of a world without cable television, cellular telephones, computer access or the Internet.
With electronic devices giving them access to information at their fingertips, it’s no wonder that millennials expect everything they want and need to be provided quickly. Because of the “I want what I want when I want it” mentality, I often describe them as having the new ED (entitlement disorder).
Millennials and social media
In addition to a slight case of entitlement disorder, millennials are quite active on various social media platforms. Millennials look to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr (just naming some of the major players) to provide social validation before making purchases or even selecting restaurants and vacation spots.
Although their usage of Facebook is on the decline, Pew Research found that 55 percent of millennials have posted perfected selfies using the platform.
Are millennials that different than the rest of us?
Now that we are all used to the instant gratification, there is no going back. We have access to information at our fingertips in a matter of seconds.
Amazon can get us our packages in 48 hours. We can ask Siri or Alexa virtually anything and get an answer. We can check our photos instantly and take another shot if you don’t like what we see.
We can see our family and friends whenever we like from almost anywhere in the world. Our attention spans are much shorter, and much like millennials, we expect instant access and availability.
Millennials and real estate agents
Numerous speakers have said that real estate agents will lose business if they don’t jump on the bandwagon and learn how to attract the millennial buyer. We are so often told that millennials want to work with an agent who has integrity and is honest.
After hearing and reading about what millennials want from real estate agents, I constantly ask myself, how does this differ from how real estate agents currently run their business?
The new bright and shiny doesn’t exist
Millennials might be the new bright and shiny object in the real estate world, but they won’t directly change how we conduct business. Like every other successful businessperson, real estate agents pay close attention to changes in technology and business practices.
Many agents might have gotten into the real estate business when it was standard practice to fax an offer, but they progressed to email when the times changed. Cellphones became an agents’ best friend because they were no longer tied to the office and could conduct business on the road.
No changes necessary for successful agents
Successful real estate agents operate with a foundation of honesty and integrity. It’s difficult to build a thriving, referral-based business without honesty and integrity at the core.
Buyer presentation is one of the first steps in the homebuying process. The agent meets with the prospective client and talks about the homebuying process, what they can expect from the agent and what the agent expects from them.
It tickles me when I respond to a text or an email, and the recipient replies back with, “Thanks for getting back to me so quickly.”
Why is that so shocking that a client feels the need to commend me for it? That’s my job and my standard of practice. Any real estate agent worth their salt knows that time kills all deals.
Real estate agents make adjustments
Real estate agents are accustomed to working with a variety of personalities. Millennials aren’t the only ones who have the market cornered on entitlement disorder. Don’t we all wish we could have our way all the time?
Every client brings a different set of expectations, and it is up to the agent to explain if those expectations are realistic or not. Providing information upfront is key to having a smooth transaction with any client, millennial or otherwise.
Successful real estate agents are skilled at reading people and know when they need to adjust their demeanor and communication style to reach that client. It’s not a one-size-fits-all mentality.
Don’t get distracted
A National Association of Realtors (NAR) 2015 study showed that millennials began their home search online, but they also used an agent more than any other age group. They value the knowledge and experience that real estate agents have and want help interpreting the information they’ve read online.
In my view, millennials aren’t that much different than other generations. But if you listen to all of the hype, it’s easy to get distracted with the new, bright and shiny — millennials.
However, if you’ve been keeping up with technology, business trends and modifying your business practices when needed, then you have the skill set to work with any generation.
Candy Miles Crocker is the founder of Real Life Real Estate Training.