I’m about to move across the country from North Carolina back home to St. Louis in a case of “I thought getting away was the most important thing, and then I realized how much I love and miss home.” Working remotely allows me the freedom to choose where I live, which is amazing. But truth be told, moving sucks.

  • Create a business relationship with local companies that help new residents move into town, and market your expertise.
  • Provide value before asked.
  • Millennial renters are future homebuyers -- reach out early in the process.

I’m about to move across the country from North Carolina back home to St. Louis in a case of “I thought getting away was the most important thing, and then I realized how much I love and miss home.” Working remotely allows me the freedom to choose where I live, which is amazing.

Truth be told, moving sucks. But I’ve gained a lot of perspective as a moving millennial.

Moving is stressful, and it’s one thing after another for months — and I’m a renter. I can’t imagine how much more stressful it would be if I were trying to work through the homebuying process as I move across the country.

espiegle / iStock.com

espiegle / iStock.com

Yep, I’m one of those millennials you read about on Inman all the time who is unmarried and still renting in her 30s.

However, I will be in the market to buy a home in the next year or two. (I’m also one of those millennials who prioritizes buying a home over marriage.)

So though my boyfriend and I aren’t looking to buy right now, in about a year, we will start looking seriously at agents.

For now, we are surviving on real estate porn and a dream, and you better believe our eyes and ears are open to anything we hear about agents, brokerages, areas, neighborhoods or properties that we might want to work with.

What I’m telling you is something you might already suspect: Millennials are looking at and listening to you a year or more before we even think of buying a home.

Agents, think about all that time you have to woo us.

You read all the time about how millennials are DIYers, and they might or might not want an agent’s full help (discounted or unbundled services) or help at all (for sale by owners).

I’ve never met a millennial who has pulled off a real estate transaction sans agent. And I know most of us wouldn’t dream of trying it either.

We are going to need a stellar agent who is patient and willing to walk us first-time homebuyers through the process. We will need advice about buying a home from start to finish. We will have a million questions, concerns and reasons to worry and rejoice.

So we are sponging up everything about a year out, and we know we will need an agent soon. When’s the best time to get a millennial’s attention? I have a few thoughts.

1. Catch them while they are moving

Even if millennials aren’t moving into a home right now, it’s a safe bet that at some point in the near future, those renters will become tomorrow’s homeowners. So, why not start with moving?

Look into making a business connection, whether it be advertising or something more creative, with the local chamber of commerce or local moving companies — as those often pop up when you Google “moving AND (insert city name here).” It’s a great place to be available.

Perhaps you can put an ad on a local moving company’s website. It might say, “Have questions about moving to St. Louis? Give me a call” and offer your phone number.

It’s less threatening to the consumer because you aren’t asking for anything; you are offering help to someone who needs it. I’m much more likely to reach out to someone who is providing value. What a great first impression to make on a future buyer.

2. Be available

We all know that a warm lead turns cold if not answered within five minutes. As I called local apartment after local apartment to no avail, I realized just how quickly I moved on. There’s no time to wait for calls back.

I’m not saying that agents should be available 24/7, but I am saying that we have short attention spans these days coupled with a lot to do — and being available builds trust and relationships.

If I — a millennial who isn’t planning to buy a home — call and ask you, the local expert, a question about the area or the homebuying process, you will make an excellent impression on me by simply answering the phone.

If you don’t do that, I’ll probably move on to the next resource who will answer the phone.

Position yourself as a local expert, and be available — that’ll win us over.

3. Provide value before you’re asked to

How do you tap into those millennials who prefer researching online? Content marketing.

Imagine if I Google “moving and St. Louis” and “10 things you should know before moving to St. Louis” pops up — I’m going to read what it says even though I’ve lived there most of my life.

Imagine if that article is by you. You have just captured my attention a full year before I’m even thinking of buying, when I’m moving to my next — and hopefully last — apartment.

Now follow up with more information about packing, moving day, apartment living, how to get started in the homebuying process, the low down on down payments, everything a first-time homebuyer should know and so on — and you have a future client.

Renters are future homebuyers, and you can’t afford to overlook us. Millennials are soaking everything up like a sponge even a year or more before buying, and if you can contribute to that education along the way, you’re golden when it comes time for millennials to chose an agent.

Email Dani Vanderboegh

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