When it comes to real estate, every leading agent understands their micro market. For me, this area of expertise is Marin County: a naturally beautiful, sought-after community just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. I know the weather pockets, the schools, and the details of each neighborhood. This is home.
In today’s environment, however, we must add another layer to this knowledge. It has become equally crucial to understand the micro-audiences that exist within the markets we serve. Unlike the traditional high-end client, the buyers I frequently work with belong to a new generation. They’re still early on in their careers — most employed in tech or finance — and although they’re highly successful professionals and highly qualified buyers, they see their wealth as a work in progress. They’re still actively building their future, and their preferences reflect this.
To establish an authentic connection with the younger generation of emerging buyers, I focus on three factors that make my services stand out.
I’m in my early twenties myself, which means most of my clients come from my personal sphere of influence — social connections that come naturally, along with referrals from past buyers and sellers. Among this new generation of buyers, old-school prospecting no longer works. Instead, you need to be out in the community. Stay in touch with past clients, reach out to new ones, and seek referrals from friends and friends of friends.
To reach new clients, make genuine connections through shared interests and passions — the things that matter to you in your personal life. Maybe you enjoy trail running or mountain biking; go with a group. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to learn about art; sign up for an educational series at a high-end gallery. New relationships are not built by spending time in an office; they are created on the tennis court, in yoga class, at a restaurant opening. If you participate in events where a wide range of ages are represented, you will build new relationships that are so much more valuable than any advertisement.
Taking great care of your social media is another avenue to connecting with young buyers. I put a lot of energy into making sure my online presence reflects who I am and how I work. Emerging buyers are looking for an agent who is relatable, has a good aesthetic, and shares something in common with them. I know that any new connections I make are going to Google me, and that will lead them to my Instagram accounts — both professional and personal. I ensure that wherever I’m represented online, my offerings are well-curated. Well-managed accounts are not only a powerful way to connect with new clients, but to keep in touch with past ones.
Given the younger demographic I often work with, I have to keep in mind that many of my clients are engaging in their first-ever real estate transaction. I take time during every sale to explain the process, the market, and the paperwork from beginning to end. Clients are sometimes hesitant to ask questions that they think are obvious — they may not even know what sorts of questions they should be asking — so it’s up to me to proactively give that information and offer that guidance.
Personally, I have made an effort to establish myself as a no-pressure real estate expert within my social circles. A lot of young affluents are curious about the process of finding a home, but they’re still comfortable as renters and are not in a rush. It’s important they know they can talk to me about real estate without feeling like they have to commit.
I’ve seen this relaxed strategy bring in business. For example, a young couple approached me recently; they’d heard through a mutual friend that I am a good person to speak to before purchasing a house. They had fallen in love with a beautiful property and were planning to put in an offer, but had lots of questions about the process, the neighborhood, and how to handle the next steps.
It turns out they had initially been hesitant to reach out because they thought that the most conventional way to buy a house was to work with the listing agent. They worried they would be wasting my time if one of my own listings was not a match for them. I was able to explain that buyers are entitled to — and really should have — their own representation. We continued our phone call for over an hour, and then worked together all the way to close of escrow.
Because this young couple had great jobs and high budgets, it would have been easy to assume they already knew a thing or two about real estate — but I could tell that homebuying was a brand new world for them. We, as agents, must never presume that our clients are knowledgeable about our industry just because they’re at the top of their own.
This younger clientele is looking for a specific style of home: beautifully designed, move-in ready, light and crisp without being stuffy or overly opulent. I prepare my properties extensively to make sure they look this way, partnering with an interior designer and investing in exceptionally strong professional photography. I treat each shoot as if it’s a magazine editorial, with an emphasis on vertical images for enhanced display on mobile devices. I’ve garnered a bit of a following through this: people get in touch with me to ask about the properties I’ve featured, or to find out what I have in the pipeline.
Agents need to be mindful of the changes that are currently underway in the luxury market, and how the tastes of the emerging buyer are different from their predecessors’. Homes used to be staged with ostentation and imported finery; prospects used to be sourced through purely professional channels; luxury buyers used to be old pros at acquiring and selling property.
Times have changed. Enjoy the freedom that comes with this new group of homebuyers: they’re individuals with unique styles and preferences, and a vested interest in learning as much as they can about the luxury real estate space.
Young and tenacious, Logan Link is a native of San Francisco’s neighboring Marin County. She is a true local, a passionate networker, and possesses a depth of knowledge about both on- and off-market properties throughout Marin’s communities. Thanks to a background in the arts and fashion — along with mentorship from some of the industry’s most respected professionals — Logan brings to her work a unique blend of creativity, savvy, and fresh perspective.
About Sotheby’s International Realty
Sotheby’s International Realty was founded in 1976 as a real estate service for discerning clients of Sotheby’s auction house. Today, the company’s global footprint spans 990 offices located in 72 countries and territories worldwide, including 43 company-owned brokerage offices in key metropolitan and resort markets. In February 2004, Realogy entered into a long-term strategic alliance with Sotheby’s, the operator of the auction house. The agreement provided for the licensing of the Sotheby’s International Realty name and the development of a franchise system. The franchise system is comprised of an affiliate network, where each office is independently owned and operated. Sotheby’s International Realty supports its affiliates and agents with a host of operational, marketing, recruiting, educational and business development resources. Affiliates and agents also benefit from an association with the venerable Sotheby’s auction house, established in 1744. For more information, visit www.sothebysrealty.com.
The affiliate network is operated by Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC, and the company owned brokerages are operated by Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc. Both entities are subsidiaries of Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY) a global leader in real estate franchising and provider of real estate brokerage, relocation and settlement services. Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC and Sotheby’s International Realty Inc., both fully support the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act.