What Really Makes Millennial Buyers Different From Their Parents

by Chris Long

Working with a younger clientele these days? By adapting to these generational traits, you’ll be ready for the influx of millennial buyers.

Though they may be late bloomers compared to their parents, millennials now buy more homes than any other demographic, accounting for 32% of buyers and 68% of first-time homeowners. Like earlier generations, however, they approach real estate with unique needs and expectations, and realtors need to adapt to them to better appeal to this increasingly important demographic. Here are four key traits of today’s millennial home buyers:

Independent Researchers

Millennials are more likely than any other generation to do their own research before contacting a real estate agent. With smartphones, laptops, and tablets at their disposal, millennials can quickly narrow down what they want in a home — or a real estate agent — by researching local options online. Millennials want to engage with attractive, user-friendly websites, preferably one that allows them to search through available properties before they ever contact an agent.

Digital Natives

It goes without saying that millennials live online, and especially on social media, but you might not know that they also search for real estate there. In addition to traditional channels, young buyers regularly browse Facebook and Instagram to find new listings. A strong social media presence — complete with professional-quality images — can help you attract clients you might not otherwise reach.

Realtors also need to hop on the video bandwagon as soon as they can; 80% of millennials use video to inform a purchase, and homes are no different. Offering video tours or 3D walkthroughs of your property will generate more interest than photos alone.

On-the-Go Buyers

Older buyers may prefer to communicate with realtors over the phone, but millennials expect to interface with streamlined, mobile-first solutions. Agents and brokerages should focus on digitizing listings, paperwork, and payments to ensure that the process is as seamless as possible from initial research to escrow.

Real estate professionals must also ensure that their websites are mobile-friendly. More than half of younger buyers use their mobile phone to search for their home, and 31 percent of millennials found it there. Make sure that you also list on major real estate apps like Trulia to take advantage of the migration to mobile and capture buyers at a number of touchpoints.

Eager for Professional Advice

For all their differences, millennials — like every generation before them — value the opinion of an experienced real estate professional when it comes down to the nuts and bolts of negotiation. They factor honesty and trustworthiness highly in their assessment of a real estate agent, and will often work with the same agent multiple times if they had a positive experience. If you take time to understand young buyers’ needs and answer their questions, you’ll build trust and hopefully a long-term partnership.

Though millennials may be changing the tools of the trade, the core of the realtor-client relationship remains the same. Connecting with younger buyers and understanding their needs can make all the difference as they search for their next home.

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