As a millennial in real estate, the joke that is Millennial Monopoly cuts deep; so many in my generation ache for the American dream of homeownership but struggle to make it a reality.
Hi Hasbro, it’s me Lindsay, a millennial. You probably saw this coming, you know, my entire generation lighting up their social networks to whine about your new Millennial Monopoly game. Well played, you went viral, which is something we know a lot about.
As part of the last generation to grow up primarily playing board games on a board rather than an app, I’ll admit your game got my attention. At first glance, I thought it was a funny photoshopped meme joining the thousands of other millennial stereotypes jokes out there, but I was wrong. It was real.
Look, here’s the thing, it’s a joke, and I get that. Some of it is funny like making fun of our affinity for selfies, vegan bistros and three-day musical festivals. But the tagline, “Forget real estate. You can’t afford it anyway” stung.
As a millennial in real estate, it cuts deep — so many in my generation ache for the American dream of homeownership but struggle to make it a reality.
I recently joined Climb Real Estate, a brand laser-focused on serving not just millennials but also the entire “Connected Generation.” As we set our sights on national expansion, one of our many missions is to support those entering our industry, whether it be as a first-time renter, buyer or agent.
Call us hyper-sensitive, but when it comes to affording real estate, there is some truth but also a ton of misconception. One thing the game got right? Throwing in the millennial go-to phrase for frustrating life moments, adulting is hard. And when it comes to real estate, adulting can be really hard.
On the consumer side, renters aren’t exactly the clients most real estate agents are jumping to talk to. In fact, some agents don’t play in the rental arena at all. At Climb, 25 percent of our business comes from serving Bay Area renters. We pride ourselves in supporting the dream of home whether “borrowed” or bought.
On the career side, getting into real estate as a first-time agent is arguably one of the most challenging career paths there is. It could take a new agent anywhere from six months to a year to really hit the ground running. (A few great tips for those just starting out here.) At Climb, our door is open to any agent looking for a home, whether a seasoned pro or a first timer.
Getting back to “Forget real estate. You can’t afford it anyway,” it’s true millennials are struggling to purchase their first home. Some of it could result from the financial barriers we’re up against like rent being at an all time high or perhaps it’s the heavy burden of graduating with student debt.
A quick note on that, I haven’t read the rules of Millennial Monopoly, but I hope rule No. 1 is that everyone must pay the dealer $37,000 before they start. That would accurately depict the amount of student debt that the average graduate is carrying once they “start adulting.”
And some of the delay simply comes from choice. Millennials are delaying traditional domestic milestones like getting married and having kids, which we all know are two of the biggest lifestyle triggers for buying a home.
But if we are choosing to delay buying a first home for whatever reason, please lay off the living at home in our parent’s basement stereotype. It’s played out.
- I moved at home for one year after college. I lived in the room I grew up in, not my basement. There are no stats on this, but I am pretty sure my situation is the norm for most millennials.
- Parents and millennials co-habitating is a fairly accurate stereotype for the younger half of the generation, not so much the elder. As of 2017, 16 percent of older millennials (25-34) and 54 percent of younger millennials (18-24) lived home with their parents. (Source: Statistica)
- Living at home is a great way to save up cash for a down payment. A down payment is one of the biggest barriers to first homeownership. Saving money is smart so let’s put the stigma of living home with parents, in their basement or wherever else, to rest.
The best resources for advice on saving up for a down payment are real estate agents. From explaining pre-approvals and FHA loans to giving the low down on renting versus buying, they’ve got the scoop.
Regardless of whether it is by choice or not, we’re getting there. It might be a bit slower than those before us, but give us a chance. Don’t forget, a generation is a wide spread, and in this case, there is a huge difference between what one could expect from an early 20-something to someone in their mid-30s.
Whether someone is just dreaming or ready to make the jump into their first home, we are cheering them on and hopefully even get a chance to make their dream a reality.
So Hasbro, there it is, give us millennials some slack. You can make fun of our expensive coffee, our permanent attachment to our cell phones and even our overuse of emojis, but leave out the shots about homeownership because we’ll get there — just give us some time (and some cash to get us there if you have it!)
P.S. We know the importance of nailing the right price the first time for our clients. Your original list price of $19.82 for the game set, we assume was an attempt at being clever by alluding to the year this generation was first born, but it is actually off by a year. We suggest a price reduction of 1 cent to accurately depict the year 1981.
Lindsay Listanski is the head of marketing with Climb Real Estate.