You’ve probably seen the headlines announcing that millennials are the largest homebuyer segment right now, accounting for 43% of the market. And while Gen Z may only be 2% of the real estate market, studies have shown that 72% of them are considering home ownership and place great importance on home ownership. As a real estate professional, working with this demographic requires a certain level of generational, cultural, and socio-economic understanding, as well as a willingness to adapt to new ways of doing business. But you don’t need to reinvent the wheel; consider the following easy-to-implement strategies to better engage with the next generation of real estate customers.
Why your digital presence is important
You may have heard ad nauseam that a digital presence is essential to an exceptional career in real estate, but why? Much of our daily lives take place online – and millennials have been early adopters of new technologies, where Gen Z has never known a world without plentiful wifi and active social platforms. Generation Y, recognized as the most educated generation, are informed and well documented. Much like Gen Z, they rely heavily on their own research when it comes to their journey home. Make sure your digital footprint is established, up-to-date, and fully utilized. They will always do their due diligence, and it starts with a simple Google search.
With Millennials and Gen Z customers, reviews matter and trust that they will fully consider potential pros long before you contact them. Leverage your current customer base and ensure your online presence reflects your experience and expertise. With so much at their fingertips, this demographic knows how and when to put their deep skills into practice. As marketing-savvy generations, Millennials and Gen Z buyers and sellers are less likely to overemphasize overt marketing and will go straight to the source: your past customers. With so much emphasis placed on first-hand experiences with your business, it pays to solicit reviews. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but it’s well worth the investment in your business.
Improve the overall experience
The same can be said for your social media platforms; creating educational content, like videos explaining the process or the benefits of working with you, goes a long way in demonstrating your abilities and providing valuable resources. This demographic is also more willing to share their home search via social media, giving you the opportunity to get word-of-mouth marketing with the click of a button.
Connection is essential
For Millennials and Gen Z customers, their search is more than just a transaction, it’s an experience. They want to work with an agent who sees them as more than just a commission check and are more likely to expect instant responses to communications. As an agent, building meaningful relationships with customers is nothing new, but understanding that these generations are used to immediate responses will help you decide your best course of action. If your typical communication methods rely on email, you may need to switch to text messaging or platforms like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp with these always-on clients.
Prepare for obstacles
Millennials, like Gen Z, often struggle with high debt ratios and student loans or don’t have a large down payment. And with such a high value placed on homeownership among these generations, they are more likely to compromise in order to achieve their goals. Give your millennial and Gen Z customers an edge by partnering with a local mortgage lender. By partnering with a trusted lender who understands the programs and grants available to your clients, you’re giving them the information and connection they need to compete right from the start.
Rich La Rue is the Designated Broker for HomeSmart brokers in Phoenix, Arizona. He supports agents across the region, helping agents focus on business growth and development. He is very involved in the real estate community, serving on the Board of Directors for the Arizona Association of REALTORS®.