Helping younger generations buy a new home is a challenge. As more millennial homebuyers enter the real estate market, it’s important to understand their buying behavior. Millennials think differently than previous generations of homebuyers. They expect more based on the unparalleled amount of resources within their reach, and they often don’t understand the full process of a real estate transaction, especially first-time homebuyers.
The Google Consumer Survey, conducted in April 2014, revealed that 30 percent more millennials visited real estate websites in July 2014 compared to the previous July. At the time of the survey, millennials were twice as likely to plan a home purchase in the next year as compared to those between 35 and 54 years old.
Mobile real estate sites and apps are also rapidly increasing in usage. Google noted an 81 percent increase in mobile real estate site and app usage from May 2013 to July 2014.
As a seasoned real estate professional, your job is to guide millennial clients through the homebuying process, educate them along the way and help them reach a decision when it comes to finding their new home. This sounds easy, doesn’t it? There are a few things you’ll need to understand and consider when it comes to managing the homebuying process for millennial clients.
3 key challenges you might run into with millennial clients
1. They take longer to close the deal.
Indecision is common for millennial homebuyers. With the technology and abundance of information available, your millennial clients will want to do their research, consider what else could be out there, get a second opinion — often from their parents — and weigh the pros and cons before signing on the dotted line.
2. They desire more than they can afford.
Millennials are often looking for more than their bank account will afford. Their wish list might be more along the lines of someone looking for their dream home rather than a first-time buyer, which means their expectations can often outweigh their reality. Understanding your client’s thought process and managing their expectations is crucial to getting your millennial clients to the finish line.
3. They are unable to see past cosmetic updates.
With their already high expectations, some millennials also want a move-in-ready home. First-time homebuyers need to understand that they can still get what they want, but sometimes that comes with a little elbow grease.
Not all millennials will have the same set of challenges when it comes to buying a new home. Keep in mind that they were raised in an era where everything they wanted was at their fingertips. Feeling entitled is often a battle faced by millennials that your experience as a seasoned real estate professional can resolve.
4 tips to help you better serve millennial clients
1. Put yourself in their shoes.
The key solution to dealing with millennials is acknowledging the full range of information they will access on their own terms. To truly understand them, dedicate a small amount of time to begin a hypothetical house hunt as a millennial client. Speak through the information found rather than around it. This will build respect from your millennial clients and reinforce your value as an integral part of their homebuying process.
2. Provide ample time to help your clients find their new home.
Don’t rush the process. As a homeowner, it took more than two years to find my first home. Millennials will often be moving out of their parents’ house and won’t have a timeline like clients who are selling a previous home. Be patient with your millennial clients.
3. Encourage your millennial clients to ask questions, and give them lots of information.
You know they’ll want to find out more information anyway, so why not provide thorough property reports and neighborhood information so your clients feel informed before they do their own research? Provide them access to information they can’t get elsewhere.
4. Remind your clients that you’ll be with them the whole way.
The homebuying process is stressful for first-time homebuyers. There are a lot of things to consider, lots of paperwork to fill out and lots of information to absorb. Being a resource for your clients and encouraging them to look to you for information and answers will grow your relationship and can result in second-time clients and referrals down the road.
Millennials are thirsty for information. Provide ample information on your website to help answer their questions. Offer links to local vendors your clients will need to help make the real estate purchase a reality — mortgage companies, home inspectors, home improvement, design and decorating. Build your social media presence with information to target millennial prospects — provide information and resources before they know they need it so they’ll look to you for assistance when they’re ready to purchase. Provide a mobile-friendly website so your millennial prospects can take your website and information anywhere they go.
There are a variety of tools and resources you can use to engage millennial clients. With interactive websites, video resources, social media engagement, listing presentations and reports, you can capture more business from millennial clients by tailoring your business to suit their needs.
Maggie Hall is the communications manager at Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies.