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7 things millennial homebuyers won’t tell you

Learn how to read the new generation of clients

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The millennial generation is a social bunch. They love social media, they love texting, and they love connecting with their peers. Millennials share almost every detail of their lives, which is different from earlier generations. Yet there are things that millennials won’t tell you during the homebuying process. To reach your millennial clients, look for the things they aren’t telling you.

Here are seven things a millennial will not talk to you about during the homebuying process.

1. They want to feel special.

Older generations see the millennials as the spoiled generation. Well, it is the millennials’ baby boomer parents who fed this idea. Millennials grew up with parents who praised their every move. Everyone got a participation ribbon just for playing on the team. This treatment led to the millennials’ need to feel special.

Millennials know this attitude exists, but they don’t talk about it. They like you to wine and dine them, court them and make them feel important. This is true regarding their careers, their future spouses and even the homebuying process.

Bonus tip: Do whatever you can to go the extra mile for a millennial client. They will notice and appreciate it — and they will tell their friends about you.

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2. They want reassurance.

Millennials grew up with the Internet, where they can find a review of any product before they buy it. On social media, they can get their peers’ opinions before making decisions — and some do! Millennials also rely on their parents’ views and look for their approval. They need reassurance when making decisions, especially the big ones.

Your millennial clients will appear indecisive at times and completely confident at others. Millennials will consult their parents and their friends before they decide on one house. If Mom and Dad are local, be ready for extra showings or to accommodate one or both of them during the house hunt. This is all part of the millennials’ decision-making process. Make it easy for them, and you will look good to them (and Mom and Dad!)

Bonus tip: Make it easy for millennials to share listings on social media and email. They will reach out to their sphere to get opinions!

3. They want to know you.

A millennial is not going to see your ad on a park bench, call you and pick you as their agent. They are part of the connected generation. They want to know who you are before they sign any contract with you. Millennials will Google you and look for you on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. They will click any link that has your name on it in the Google search results. They will look for your reviews on Zillow and Trulia. What are they looking for when they do this? Millennials want to know they can trust you. They wish to know that you know what you are doing and that you don’t have any bad reviews. A millennial will even do this detective work if a family member or friend refers you. They will do it before they pick up the phone to call you.

Bonus tip: Check your reviews monthly. Respond to all reviews, if possible, including the negative ones. Freshen up your website with testimonials, and try to include one on every page.

4. They want honesty.

Millennials want and value 100 percent honesty from their real estate agent. They don’t want you to sugarcoat an issue or beat around the bush if something is wrong. If there’s a problem with an inspection, be upfront and direct about the issue. Worse, if you do something wrong, tell them right away. Millennials don’t want you to lie to them or tell them half-truths. You are the professional, and millennials expect you to educate them on the process. That includes being upfront with them when there is an issue.

Bonus tip: Tell millennial prospects that you will be 100 percent honest with them. They will appreciate your directness, and this will help build their trust in you.

5. They don’t want you to sell them.

The traditional sales tactics that worked with earlier generations may not work with millennials. You can’t scare a millennial into buying a house. You can’t tell them that interest rates and house prices will increase next year so they have to buy now. You can’t tell millennials they have to buy now because they can’t afford it in a year. Most millennials will shrug their shoulders and say, “Oh, well.” Buying a house has to feel right for them and their situation. If it doesn’t feel right to a millennial, he or she won’t commit to it.

Bonus tip: Understand what motivates your individual millennial clients to buy a house. Then you won’t have to resort to hardcore sales tactics that don’t work.

6. They are already decorating.

When millennials start looking at houses, they also begin decorating — thanks to Pinterest. Pinterest has grown in the last three years, and much of this growth is because of three things: weddings, babies and buying houses. Doesn’t that sound just like the millennial clients?

The millennial love for decorating is good news for you, the agent. Once millennials hit the “Pinterest stage,” they are ready to buy a house. It may take them time to find their dream home, but they are on a mission. They have to find the perfect house because they have already picked out their color schemes!

Bonus tip: Become Pinterest-savvy. Create your own profile and boards that will help educate buyers. Include boards with decorating ideas and tips to impress your millennial homebuyers.

7. They are scared.

Millennials entered the workforce as the economy began to crash. Many graduated college without a job and with massive student loan debt. Many millennials had to move back in with their parents. They didn’t experience the stability that their baby boomer parents had in the ’90s. It was a scary time for these millennials to come of age, and it has made them nervous about money. They don’t feel like they can save enough money for a down payment. They worry they can’t get qualified for a mortgage because of strict lending guidelines. Buying a house is scary enough without adding these factors into it.

Bonus tip: Acknowledge the fears millennials have right from the start. Empathize with them and let them know you understand that buying a house is a big deal.

Millennials will be upfront with you during the homebuying process, but there are some things they will keep close to the vest. To “wow” your millennial clients, get to know them and listen to the hidden things they aren’t telling you. This will impress your millennial clients and make you look like a savvy real estate agent!

Jennifer Snyder is a real estate marketing consultant, speaker and blogger at Marketing Ideas for Agents. She loves to research and write about marketing ideas, tools and resources that will make real estate agents’ lives easier and help them grow their business.