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Millennial Buyers and Sellers Want Teamwork

posted May 11, 2018, 2:21 PM by Joyce Evans   [ updated May 11, 2018, 2:22 PM ]
PSAR REALTOR® member Kate Gillingham-Milke, Coronado Island Realty, grew up in the real estate industry. At age 10, she was helping her father Dave by answering phones at the family-owned real estate office. Her salary at the time consisted of Beanie Babies (she still has some of them). Kate may be the youngest person ever in Coronado to obtain a real estate broker’s license in 2012 at age 24. In 2015, at age 27, Kate was selected for a “30 Under 30” award by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). Among NAR’s 1.1 million membership, fewer than 10 percent are estimated to be under age 30. Today, Kate, 30, serves a wide variety of clients and many of them are millennials, those born between 1980 and 2000. Kate recently shared her thoughts about serving millennial clients in her real estate practice.

  • Millennial clients just like you: 
    In many ways, my millennial clients are not that much different than other buyers and sellers. However, in other ways, they are dealing with issues exclusive to a younger generation, such as student debt and young children. The millennial generation covers a huge group of people. Some of my older millennial clients are buying their third home, while others are buying their first. Millennials are currently buying more homes than any other generation. They made up 35 percent of home buyers in 2017, up from 32 percent in 2013, according to NAR. So far this year, NAR says 30 percent of millennials have purchased homes for $300,000 and above, up from 14 percent in 2013. And some older millennials are buying larger homes than their predecessors at similar ages. From 2012 to 2016, nearly a third of buyers ages 33 to 37 bought four-bedroom homes, compared with about 24 percent in that age group in 1980, 1990 and 2000.
  • What millennials need from real estate professionals:
    They don’t need an agent to help them find a home. Instead, they’ve already found their favorite home after searching on the Internet. They don’t need an agent to provide them with information, they’re already information gatherers with enough data, although some of it may be incorrect because it’s based on raw calculations. Rather, they need an expert who provides true value and knowledge. They need someone to serve as their advisor, to guide them and walk them through the transaction process and be with them the whole way. The homebuying process can be stressful enough for first-time homebuyers. There are a lot of things to consider, lots of paperwork to fill out and lots of information to absorb. Being a resource to your millennial clients will grow your relationship and can result in second-time clients and referrals down the road. They also need an expert to correctly set their expectations. If you can manage their expectations, then you can manage their emotions. Also, don’t rush the process. Some millennials will be moving out of their parents’ house and won’t have a timeline like clients who are selling a previous home. Be patient with your millennial clients.
  • Millennial clients want a team:
    Millennials have grown up learning to work in teams. They like teams. They want to know that an entire team is working on their dream of home ownership on their behalf. That includes lender, escrow, and title. The lender can help educate them on figuring a price range that works for them. Often, millennials don’t think that student debt factors into affordability, but it does count when qualifying for a loan.
  • Don’t believe what you see on TV:
    Sometimes, I find that first-time buyers watch too much HGTV. They watch the shows about flipping houses or remodeling or bargains for beachfront homes. It all looks so easy on TV to pick either this house or that house. So, sometimes, I need to remind them that HGTV is not reality and correctly set their expectations. TV shows will convince them to look for more than their bank account will afford. Their wish list might be more along the lines of someone looking for their dream home rather than a first-time buyer, which means their expectations can often outweigh their reality. 
  • Millennials are savvy consumers:
    For the most part, I’ve found millennials are very conservative financially. They’re sharp and informed. Yes, they’re concerned about too much debt. And, they worry about their ability to afford a home if they have sizable student debt. But, many can afford pricier homes because they’ve socked away more money and moved up to better jobs. Plus, they might need extra space because they’re finally getting married and having kids after delaying those life-changing events. Also, they have an entrepreneurial spirit, they like having control over their finances. They are very receptive to a higher-priced home in a nicer neighborhood with a granny flat that can generate rent to offset their mortgage.
  • What if I’m not an expert on Snapchat:
    When it comes to technology if an older REALTOR® is not tech-savvy and an expert in Instagram, Linkedin and Snapchat, then don’t worry about it. If it’s not you, then it’s okay. It’s more important to be authentic and be yourself and nurture the relationship with your millennial clients. If you serve well your millennial client, then they will still refer you to their friends who will be buying homes next year and the year after.
  • Why millennial clients can be challenging:
    Sometimes, indecision is common for millennial homebuyers. With the technology and abundance of information available, millennial clients will do extra research, consider what else could be out there and get second opinions, often from their parents and friends. They’re very careful to weigh the pros and cons before signing on the dotted line.
  • Why I like to work with millennial clients:
    I enjoy working with my millennial clients because they’re open and receptive to new ideas, By asking your millennial clients the right questions, educating them and advising them to save and invest wisely, you’ll be helping them share in the American dream of homeownership.