Much has been written about why Millenials, or members of Generation Y – those of us born between the early 1980s and 2000s - do NOT buy homes.
As someone who has worked with many millennial clients spanning across all price ranges, and is, indeed, a Millennial herself, I think it’s time we flipped the script.
Here I’ll share my thoughts and experiences on why Millenials DO buy and how the real estate profession can adapt to better serve this important market segment.
In short, it’s all about the experience and relationships.
The real estate process can be daunting and downright scary, especially if you’ve never bought anything more expensive than a car. There’s a lot of preparation involved before you can even start to look at homes. Young, and first-time buyers need a little extra assistance and reassuring to navigate a completely alien experience that can go on for months and includes paperwork, contracts and referrals to other professionals.
In my experience, younger buyers feel more comfortable working with someone close to their age. And why wouldn’t they? When you’re old enough to have friends who are attorneys, bankers and doctors, it only makes sense to choose one of your contemporaries to help guide you through what can be a very intimidating process.
Millenials also feel more comfortable buying when the “stuffiness factor” of real estate is eliminated. For me - oppressive suits don’t exactly cut it in the South Florida heat. I also shy away from nametags and cheesy, no-personality headshots that plague the marketing materials of many other Realtors. Millenials, in general, enjoy working with someone who is authentic and not wearing a uniform of what they think an agent should look like.
Gen-Y operates in a world not defined by traditional 9 to 5 schedules or bricks and mortar offices, so why would they want their buying process constrained in those ways? A laptop and a Wi-Fi connection, or even just a cell phone, are all that are needed to conduct business. Whether it’s drafting up a contract a client’s apartment at midnight on a Tuesday, or searching for listings over lattes on a Saturday at 7 a.m., real estate happens everywhere and anywhere. Millenials work best with professionals who are available nearly 24-7, have a twitter handle and aren’t afraid to send a text or two.
Millenials often get a bad rap for having student loan debt and a lack of funds for a downpayment. While these situations may be common, what I notice is that, like marriage and other big commitments, Generation Y’ers will commit, but need a little more time. The first-time homebuyers of today are often in their late twenties if married/buying together and in their early to mid thirties when buying as singles. It’s not that they don’t want these great life experiences; they just need a little extra time to do it.
There you have it – Millenials can and will buy, but they continue to change the game. Those of us in the real estate profession have to adapt to better serve Millenials –on their terms.