Despite some barriers to homeownership, there’s no doubt that millennials will be the next big market of homebuyers. Reaching the target demographic of millennial homebuyers is a challenge that real estate professionals must tackle today.
Although the millennial cohort (those aged between 18 and 34) has been slow to enter the homeownership realm there are signs that millennials are still looking toward homeownership. In fact, according to the Zillow Housing Confidence Index released this past September, millennials are the most optimistic about becoming homeowners. A whopping 82 percent of millennial renters indicated that they were confident or somewhat confident that they will be able to afford a home someday, but only 64 percent of Generation X renters expressed this confidence. In addition, 65 percent of millennials agreed with the notion that owning a home is necessary to living the “good life” and the American dream.
The question remains, however: How can real estate professionals help millennial renters become homeowners? The process begins with communication.
In some ways, converting millennial leads into clients follows the same pattern as other leads. Taking those same steps, but adjusting them toward a millennial audience is key to working with this demographic. Real estate professionals should:
- Follow up immediately with leads who request information. Consider texting the client instead of calling or e-mail.
- Use electronic alerts to get visitors to come back to your site.
- Create drip campaigns to cultivate leads that aren't ready to act yet. Provide information that millennials are looking for, like the latest on entry-level housing or first-time homebuyer products.
In fact, using Twitter, Instagram and other social media sites is like the ultimate drip campaign in many ways. You establish yourself and your company as a source of valuable information, particularly information that isn’t easily available through simple internet research. A real estate agent’s value doesn’t come from being able to link to the latest rates or the newest listing, but rather from her ability to interpret information and translate it for her clients. Your knowledge of the local market is invaluable; now you simply have to communicate that knowledge to clients in a way that they understand and in a way with which they are comfortable.
Although learning to communicate in 140 characters (Twitter’s character limit) or less may seem daunting, it will be an important skill to have for years to come, as more millennials move into position to buy their first home. Of course, technology will continue to change and evolve, but the lesson of meeting your buyers where they live — in an online sort of way — will prove to be a fruitful one as the largest generations since the baby boomers start to become the largest segment of homeowners.
About Wendy Forsythe
Wendy Forsythe is the executive vice president and head of global operations at Carrington Real Estate Services, where she is responsible for the operations and growth of the national brokerage, with over 2,200 agents. You can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about taking your career to the next level with Carrington Real Estate Services, please visit www.carringtonrealestate.com/join.