In real estate, effective communication is crucial, and smart agents take their client’s needs into consideration when choosing the best contact methods. In a competitive market where homes move quickly, adopting newer, faster methods of communication is essential in winning and retaining each client, especially if that customer is a millennial.
Millennials make up one-quarter of the U.S. population at 80+ million people. Plus, they are buying the largest number of homes with 45 percent of mortgages going to this age group, compared to 37 percent for Generation X and 17 percent for baby boomers.
Since their housing needs will likely change as they mature, this generation will be the largest share of buyers for the next decade at least. Plus, according to an Owners.com survey of 1,800 recent homebuyers nationwide, millennials are willing to spend the money to move into their dream home with 46 percent stating they went beyond their budget by an average of $12,000.
As such, millennials have the numbers to affect real change across the industry. Changes in communication style are just the beginning.
So what does this mean for real estate agents? Adapting to your clients’ preferences will go far in earning their trust. According to the same survey, 68 percent of millennials would prefer electronic communication (39 percent text; 29 percent email) rather than a phone call from their agent. In stark contrast, a preference for phone calls took the top spot for both Gen Xers (35 percent) and baby boomers (37 percent). It’s essential for agents to adapt to this shift.
While written communication can come across as impersonal, for these digital natives, it’s their primary method of communication with everyone — friends and family included. Texting is short, instantaneous and easily answered, no matter where they are, and 68 percent of millennials admit to texting “a lot” on a daily basis.
It’s important to keep in mind, too, that because of this preference, phone calls could be seen as an intrusion or interruption. Calls demand an immediate answer and clients may feel pressured or put on the spot when they pick up. However, texts or emails allow the client to think through a response carefully and could go a long way in making customers feel more comfortable with their agent, thus building trust.
Additionally, if they don’t recognize the phone number, millennial home buyers may not answer, making it essential to establish contact before calling or setting up a time to speak via text.
Brokerages like Owners.com are developing new technologies, like text and chat capabilities, to support their agents with these changes.
However, phone calls and face-to-face meetings aren’t completely off limits. When you’re ready to open a dialogue around what clients are looking for in a home, or later, when they are ready to tour homes, calls and in-person meetings are still the best way to go.
“Every client is different. To build a strong relationship, you need to understand not only what they want in a home, but the best ways for you to work together throughout the process,” said Dan Maloney, Vice President, National Sales at Owners.com. “Brokerages and agents should leverage any and all communication methods — text, in-app notifications, phone, and even chatbots — to make communication with every client they work with as seamless as possible.”
While offering your clients good communication by listening closely, being concise and including important, relevant details won’t change between generations, you’ll find the difference lies in the delivery.
Owners.com is a customer-focused brokerage dedicated to delivering highly personalized services. At the forefront of the real estate revolution, Owners.com and its preferred providers offer a complete real estate solution that includes unique digital experiences, local real estate expertise, and financing and closing services that strive to anticipate and fulfill the dreams of home buyers and sellers.