With their unique, tech-centered habits, millennials are disrupting pretty much every industry. From the way they shop for clothes to the way they manage money, millennials are forging their own path into adulthood. For many of them, a big part of this path to growing up has become buying a home, and as with most other things, millennials are doing it their own way.
Not only do millennials demonstrate unique preferences for the types of homes they want, but they are also turning the entire home buying process on its head. Generation Y is shopping for homes in vastly different ways than the generations that came before it, and if Real Estate Agents want to retain these clients they may have to make some adjustments.
Here are a few distinct millennial house hunting techniques that are creating some major shifts in the real estate industry:
1. Millennials prefer texting
About 90 percent of millennials use a Real Estate Agent to assist them in their home search.1 Yet, they are not interested in communicating the way most agents have grown accustomed to. Millennials grew up conversing mostly through text, and it is how they are most comfortable communicating about anything - even big things like home purchases. Of course, it depends on each client's personal preferences, but in general, shooting off a quick text to a millennial client about a great home that just went on the market will be much more appreciated than calling to tell them about it.
These modern communication habits can be difficult for the Real Estate Agent industry. Not only is it important for agencies to connect with these young buyers, but it is also crucial agents grow more accustomed to communicating via text and email.
2. Millennials tend to use their phones for research
Millennials may not be using their phones to talk, but they are certainly using them to do extensive real estate research. More than 50 percent of millennial homebuyers used a mobile device during their home search, and 31 percent of those buyers actually found the home they bought through their phones1. The internet overall was where 51 percent of millennials found their homes in 2015.
As a result, millennials are arriving at the desks of their agents armed with much more information than the generations of the past had when starting their home search. Chances are, millennial clients have already spent many hours doing online research before ever reaching out to an agent at all.
So if millennials are using their phones to buy homes, why are so many of them also using Real Estate Agents? Player Murray, managing broker at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices York Simpson Underwood Realty in Raleigh, North Carolina, explained in U.S. News and World Report that millennials no longer need agents to tell them about what homes are on the market, but they do need them to help understand everything that goes into the process of buying a home.2
"With millennials, we do not control the information," Murray told U.S. News and World Report. "What they need is for us to interpret the information."
Millennials tend to use apps to find homes. Real estate brokerages that make house hunting easy through apps will become more appealing to millennials.
This inclination to research online also affects the way homes are marketed. Millennials are spending less time visiting homes on the market and more time taking online virtual tours. A home must look impeccable in the photos associated with its online listing to accommodate this popular method of shopping.3
3. Millennials want their parents’ advice
Millennials depend on advice from their parents during the home buying process. This habit of millennials to turn to mom and dad for help is something for which agents should be prepared, and understand the importance of the right lender, like New American Funding, that is informed about today's loan products and can help you educate your clients.
4. Millennials really want to be in the know
To provide the best customer service to millennial clients, keep them in the know. Remember, it can be as easy as sending a few texts.
5. Millennials are not necessarily searching for their forever home
More millennials are buying homes before marriage and viewing their purchase as a short-term investment rather than a place to spend the next two decades.5
Millennials are currently the largest generation of homebuyers in the U.S., making up 32 percent of all homebuyers.1 As a result, these unique house hunting habits they possess really matter, and understanding them will help agents provide the best possible customer service.
1National Association of Realtors
2U.S. News and World Report