How millennials are changing the real estate game, part I

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The millennial generation is changing real estate and real estate agents need to adapt to suit the needs of millennials. They are more technology focused and are more likely to use the Internet and mobile technology to find their first home.

It’s crucial that as a real estate agent you truly get to know your audience and refine the best ways to reach them. That means that while you need to localize your efforts to the community in which you live and sell, you must pay attention to the different demographics within your market. Chances are, you aren’t going to market a home to an elderly couple the same way that you would to a pair of newlyweds looking for a starter house. These two sets of buyers have vastly different needs and perspectives and they aren’t going to respond effectively to the same forms of communication. In this blog post we’ll focus on the younger buyers out there and offer up a few data points that may surprise you.

Who They Are

Generation Y, also known as the millennial generation, represents the largest age group in the US, comprising more than 80 million people. The Pew Center for Research defines this new generation of young adults as those who were born after 1980. This new demographic displays distinctly different tastes and behaviors from their predecessors. And they aren’t going to respond to the same selling techniques – or want the same types of homes – as the generations that came before them.

They Demand Technology

The National Association of Realtors released a study in July of 2013 on home buyer and seller generational trends. Their findings are tremendously helpful in targeting the millennial buyer and provide concrete evidence that real estate agents need to meet them where they are; on the Internet.

A snapshot of the findings include:

  • Among all generations of home buyers this group’s first step in the home buying process is looking online for properties for sale. 
  • Younger generations of buyers typically find the home they purchase through the Internet, while  older generations of buyers first found the home they purchased through their real estate agent.
  • The frequency of Internet use in the home search process was directly related to age. Younger buyers are not only more likely to use the Internet during their search, they also use the internet more frequently during their home search process. Older buyers are more likely than younger buyers  to be occasional online users during their home search.

The Internet and social networking spaces are undoubtedly one of the most effective places to meet millennials. According to Justin DeCesare,  CEO of  Middleton & Associates Real Estate  in La Jolla, CA, “With millennials, their mobile spaces are where we will find and build trust.”

Size Doesn’t Matter to Them

Findings from a Better Homes and Gardens study released in March 2013 indicate that millennials look for homes that are tech-friendly, and seek more purposeful homes that they can freely customize themselves. They aren’t looking for a large luxury home, or anything that could pose a barrier to incorporating the technology they will bring with them. As part of a generation who grew up with technology constantly evolving before them, Generation Y craves integrating digital tools in every aspect of their life, including the place they choose to live.

They Are Newbies

According to the NAR study, among buyers under 32 years of age, 79 percent are first-time home buyers. Because of their newness to real estate, younger buyers need more help understanding the process. They are more likely to choose their agent through a friend or relative, and the power of a good referral and reputation is key when it comes to reaching millenials. Like older buyers, they expect the agent they choose to be honest and reliable. They want to develop a relationship with their agent, and, unlike many older buyers, they need their agent to reach them by the methods that they use the most, like texting or email.

They’re Born to Share

Millennials want to be participants in what they are buying and they want to share their purchasing decisions online. Whether their latest buy is a trendy pair of shoes or their brand new home, Gen Y-ers are comfortable sharing their purchasing information with marketers and they want their friends and networks to see what they have been up to. The more they promote your service online, the better chance you have of being recommended to their friends. (Blatant promotion for our listing product — it automatically emails your client with updates and encourages them to share on social networks. Check it out here.)

They Have Commitment Issues (When it Comes to Homes)

Another benefit to real estate agents is that millennials only stay in their homes for a median of five years. A good experience with a real estate agent could mean a continued relationship in the future.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the series on millennials where we’ll explore why real estate professional recruiting techniques are failing to reach the younger generation.

Use the comments below to tell us about your experience with the millennial generation. Is their tech-savvy nature helpful, or a burden?

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