When you see a # symbol, is it a telephone that comes to mind? Is it a pound sign, a number sign, or something else? What about terms such as like, tweet, pin, get connected, or add to circle? If you’re not familiar with these references, or the # symbol’s modern-day moniker, hashtag, it’s probably time to do some research. Knowing some social media terminology can go a long way when meeting with clients from Generation Y. (And if you’re still guessing, you like posts on Facebook, tweet messages on Twitter, pin pictures with Pinterest, get connected with colleagues on LinkedIn and add to circle your fellow Google+ users.)
Also known as the Millennial generation, which typically encompasses people born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s, Generation Y represents a new demographic in the housing market. Despite the recent downturn, younger buyers worry less and often see real estate as a good investment — 85 percent of buyers under the age of 32, for example, recognize the financial wisdom of homeownership.
Taking into account the differences in lifestyles and values from generation to generation, Realtors need to keep an eye on what direction the Millennials are taking the real estate industry. In order to successfully communicate with this emerging demographic, you must keep up with key technologies. Millennials have grown up with the Internet — it’s second nature to their decision-making process.
Forms of communication
How do Millennials like to communicate? Quickly and through means they find efficient. And since they’re not searching for the same style of house their parents were looking for at their age, and they’re not reaching out to a Realtor in the same way, it may be time to update your cell phone plan to include unlimited texting and data.
Now think about how you usually reach out to your leads. Is it through email or a phone call? Millennials may desire a simple text message and are probably used to receiving a response almost instantaneously.
A different kind of house hunt
With the house hunt becoming a different animal, so to speak, where do Millennials expect to find you and your listings? Not only in your local Homes & Land Magazine and on HomesAndLand.com, but also on social media outlets like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube. Seventy-nine percent of first-time home buyers are age 32 and younger, and they are adept at getting by in the era of Social Media.
Once the leads start coming in, put some thought into choosing the right location for younger buyers. A desirable home for the Millennial generation may look different from the traditional needs and wants of previous generations. They may want something smaller and more practical. Instead of homes with lots of space, younger generations may be on the look out for so-called smart homes (builders beware). Think heat and air conditioning that can be adjusted on an iPad.
With technology in mind, curb appeal falls behind. It appears to be an older generation placing a high value on landscaping. Also, a study conducted by Better Homes and Gardens found that security is a constant concern. Forty-eight percent of Millennials want security systems in their home and would like to be able to control it from their smartphone.
Next, a selling point might be that the home is equipped with an energy efficient washer and dryer and a smart thermostat. Being environmentally conscious, many members of the Millennial generation would rather have a spot in the kitchen for a TV rather than more space for a second oven or sink. A dining room might become the home office and a place to do work, rather than a place to come home to after work.
Higher quality neighborhoods that are close to entertainment, parks, shopping and good schools may also be a preference. Therefore, time spent showing big suburban homes could be replaced with trips to developments close to shops and restaurants. Realtors are skilled at assessing the needs of their clients, so weighing some generational factors may help lower the amount of time that a home is on the market. In this case, it would be because there’s a higher likelihood that the right people will be seeing the right homes. The younger generation may concede on the cost and size of the house if the location is close to their job.
Factors to remember
- Texting may be better than calling
- They often find listings and agents through social media
- Millennials are likely to be informed
- They may prefer a low-maintenance lifestyle
- Critical thinking about location pays off
- They may place a high value on a shorter commute
Characteristics of an agent
Sixty-nine percent of Millennials contact only one agent before selecting someone to assist with the sale of a home. Older generations often choose an agent by reputation, while Millennials place a high importance on honesty and trustworthiness. Younger buyers may want to be guided through the home buying and selling process, too. They may need to be educated on some fundamentals, such as down payments, mortgages, etc.
While generalizations about generations may be a tongue twister, it’s not a good supposition to rely on. It might not be a bad thing, though, to suppose that real estate agents who are perceptive about their clients’ generation will be more successful, especially if they’re willing to learn a few new tech-savvy skills.
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Homes & Land Affiliates, LLC, is the most trusted, integrated multimedia real estate brand in North America. A leading local resource for real estate information, HomesAndLand.com welcomes millions of unique visitors every month. Headquartered in Tallahassee, Florida, with magazines across the United States and Canada, Homes & Land has been serving real estate professionals, homebuyers and home sellers since 1973. In addition to Homes & Land Magazine, the company publishes Home Guide, Rental Guide, and Estates & Homes magazines.