For several years now, Millennials, also known as Generation Y, have been the largest group of home buyers in the U.S. – and that percentage has been steadily growing. Older millennials currently outnumber younger millennials in this cohort by far. If you want to be successful in 2020, you must not only take notice of this trend, but tailor the way you do business to bring these clients in.
Why Older Millennials? Why now?
Older millennials, those between 29 and 38 years old, make up 26 percent of home buyers, the largest share of all home buyers, according to the 2019 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report put out by the National Association of Realtors®. Younger millennials only account for 11 percent, but they help take the total for all millennials to 37 percent. This report also revealed that 52 percent of older millennials were buying their first homes at a figure much higher than any of the other age groups.
But why are millennials waiting so long to buy a home? One reason is that millennials have an unprecedented amount of student loan debt. Couple that with other financial hardships such as rising housing costs and a generally higher cost of living, many find it difficult to save for a down payment. One report found that the median home price in some cities outweighed the median income and that it could take up to ten years to save 20 percent for a down payment.
However, now that the majority of millennials are 30 years or older, they have had time to save and their incomes have also increased. This is a pivotal time for them as many have gotten married and started a family. So, what are they looking to buy?
What do Older Millennials look for in a Home?
Millennials are more concerned with the quality of a home and the neighborhood it’s in rather than how big it is. According to the NAR report, the most common size of home bought recently by buyers 28 and younger was below average at . However, that is not to say that millennials aren’t going for bigger or more expensive homes. In 2018, one-third of Millennials bought houses with price tags of $300,000 or more.
Clean lines, sleek designs and open floor plans seem to be what appeals to most millennials. So newer, more modern homes, or homes that have been recently upgraded are likely options. Of course, technology is going to be attractive to millennials – That means smart thermostats, smart doorbells, and smart security systems can be a major draw for this group. They also tend to want more move-in ready properties.
However, one small survey suggests that 67 percent of millennials, as a whole, would be willing to make an offer on a house which needed major repairs. There may be some validity to this, as older millennials are buying older homes, on average. The median home recently purchased by millennials aged 29 to 38-year-olds was built in 1984.
The trend for older millennials also seems to be a move from city centers toward the suburbs and even the exurbs. Although ease of commuting and walkability are often synonymous with millennials, affordability of homes seems to be driving this outward trend. In fact, according to the NAR’s 2019 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report, of older millennials bought homes in the suburbs or in a subdivision.
And, due to this buying trend, more construction is going on in the exurbs as are more home sales. It also appears that millennial homeowners are more interested in the quality of the neighborhood and schools than in the actual commute to work. Still, the home should fall in line with the minimalistic tastes of millennials.
How do you Reach Older Millennials?
The answer to this question is through the smart and efficient use of technology. millennials rely on technology for every step in the home buying process. In fact, 99 percent of millennials search online to get information about homes and home buying. Since they also rely on online ratings and reviews, a large percent of millennials will take this into consideration before deciding on a real estate agent.
According to the National Association of Realtors®, 58 percent of millennials will locate the home they want to purchase on their smartphone or tablet. This means that not only must you have a current, contemporary website, you must be optimized for mobile devices. You have to go where your potential clients are, and they are on their smartphones.
This also means you have to market to millennials utilizing the most up-to-date technology and online platforms. Marketing on social media is a must. Wherever you market, millennials want to see the most modern and innovative techniques, such as 3D virtual tours, aerial photos, and virtual staging. Millennials also prefer that you text, rather than call in your regular communications with them.
At a time when we all have information at our fingertips all the time, it only makes sense to create real estate marketing that caters to this need for instant gratification. The more information about your property that you can include in your photos and videos, the better. You don’t want to lose millennials’ attention by making them scroll through lengthy text or click to other sites to get the information they want.
The bottom line is to make it as painless as possible for millennials to find you and your listings online using their mobile devices, tablets or laptops. Once they’ve found you, keep them with engaging visuals that include all relevant information on you and your listing. If you feel stuck, look into marketing ideas for your real estate business when you’re trying to engage them.
What are the Qualities of the Top Leaders in Real Estate?
There are certain qualities that are common to the top leaders in real estate. Whether the client is a millennial, Gen X, baby boomer or a member of the silent generation, you’ll find that each puts a premium on trustworthiness. This cannot be emphasized enough. Your clients, especially older millennials, will want to know they can trust you to navigate the technical, legal and other aspects of the process that they can’t do for themselves.
Top leaders also know the market, especially their local market. They are familiar with the neighborhoods and communities, including amenities, schools, and of course pricing. This is invaluable when dealing with older millennials as they put such a premium on quality neighborhoods.
Of course, you don’t want to become myopic. You’ll want to be knowledgeable about the latest real estate trends and topics as well in order to stay on the leading edge of your field. An additional quality of top leaders in real estate is that they are also knowledgeable about their clients, paying attention to what their clients, such as older millennials, want and need.
Top leaders are tenacious, following up on each lead and being adaptable enough to use current technology to engage with prospective clients. It’s a given that a top leader will have excellent communication skills. These real estate leaders are confident in themselves, their decisions and their skills. And, finally, top leaders are quite personable and often charismatic. You want people to want to be in your company. Showing your passion for your work and your industry is one good way to achieve this.