Expert Luke Babich shares his best advice for agents who are looking to build relationships with millennial homebuyers. Your marketing messages should be different for each audience, and these tips should help you connect quickly for optimal results with this tech-savvy generation.
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Millennials are the largest segment of homebuyers, making up 43 percent of buyers in the market, according to the National Association of Realtors. Millennials are a powerful force in the real estate industry, but they’re not your grandparents’ generation. They won’t be swayed by the same types of sales tactics.
Millennial homebuyers are looking to you for guidance, information and respect as they navigate the choppy waters of homeownership. It’s up to you to create the safe space they need to make this important life change.
Millennials in the market for a home
Millennial homebuyers are not shying away from higher prices and rising interest rates. In fact, they now make up a greater portion of the homebuyer market segment than any other generation.
Millennials tend to make significant life changes, such as getting married and having kids, at a later age, so their potential impact on the real estate market will only expand as they get older.
A majority of millennial homebuyers are willing to take more risks to get the home they want. Approximately 90 percent would buy a house sight unseen, and 82 percent would purchase a property that needs major repairs.
In addition, millennials aren’t afraid to increase their budgets to buy their dream home, and 80 percent would offer over asking price.
It’s safe to say that although rising interest rates may have cooled the market slightly, millennial demand for housing remains strong.
The key to capturing this market is knowing how to deliver your message.
Marketing to millennials
Gone are the days when a listing on the multiple listing service and a sheaf of comps would attract an interested buyer. Millennials are discerning consumers who have grown up in a digital space inundated with constant messaging and noise.
To help this generation of buyers, you’ll need to stand out from the crowd by following these eight tips.
Tip No. 1: Understand millennials’ needs
Most homebuyers prefer new homes or recently updated older homes, but millennials won’t shy away from a fixer-upper. The generation has a heavy debt burden, and they tend to want smaller spaces that require less maintenance.
Millennials are also looking for walkability, even in spaces that would not be considered urban.
Tip No. 2: Focus on education
Although your expertise as a real estate agent is critical to developing trust for the millennial homebuyer, this generation likes to do it themselves.
Adding simple “how to” articles to your website or social media accounts is free, saves time, and adds value to your services. Consider linking to topics such as:
- How to finance a home
- How to apply for a mortgage
- How the homebuying process works
Tip No. 3: Social media matters
Social media has evolved from a platform to post pictures of vacations and favorite meals to a place where brands can build relationships with consumers. Whether it’s on Facebook, TikTok, Twitter or Pinterest, social media is invaluable when it comes to marketing to millennials.
Millennials are looking for solid representation on social media for both services and inspiration. Post pictures and videos of floor plans on Instagram and YouTube, quick check-ins on TikTok, and links to informational articles about the homebuying process on Facebook.
The goal is not to overwhelm consumers with ads and self-promotion. Social media for millennials is all about building trust and one-on-one relationships with a company or person who is reliable, real and relatable. This takes more time to do, but the effects last longer.
Tip No. 4: Don’t neglect visuals
A few blurry photographs or a hasty floor plan scan isn’t going to cut it. The COVID-19 pandemic opened the possibility of virtual video tours and self-guided walkthroughs. At the very least, your listing should have professional photography that highlights a perfectly staged property.
Remember, millennial buyers aren’t scared to purchase a property sight unseen. Give them the tools they need to make that decision.
Tip No. 5: Don’t call. Text
Millennials are the texting generation. This is their preferred method of communication. Use a real estate texting application to easily send photos and listing information. If you can’t find an app that suits your needs, build one.
These apps can also make it easy to search available homes or set filters for the price, neighborhood and features they are looking for.
Tip No. 6: Make your emails matter
Millennials have not abandoned email entirely, but they have little patience for unengaging content jamming their inbox.
Take time to carefully craft subject lines that stand out from other marketing materials they receive. Make sure you:
- Utilize visuals, such as emojis, even in the subject line
- Keep the email brief and to the point
- Include a call to action at the end
Tip No. 7: Watch your tone
Millennials want an authoritative Realtor who knows what they’re talking about and can advocate for them at the negotiating table.
However, they aren’t interested in stuffy, condescending voices. Keep the tone of your communication and marketing materials light without being overly casual.
Tip No. 8: Solicit and respond to online reviews
A Bright Local survey in 2021 found that 93 percent of millennials rely on reviews to make decisions about large and small purchases. After every sale, request a review. Send a link to your company’s review site or ask them to review you online.
Worried about a bad review? This can be challenging, especially if you anticipated a good one. Don’t leave a bad review dangling in the wind. Millennials want to see how you handle this type of adversity.
- Thank the reviewer
- Apologize for their bad experience
- Encourage them to contact you directly to address their concerns
- Don’t argue online
The same Bright Local survey found that 57 percent of millennials would not use a business that did not respond to reviews, both positive and negative. Remember, making money as a real estate agent is about building relationships with millennials. Take the time to respond to every review you get.
Luke Babich is the CSO of Clever Real Estate in St. Louis. Connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.