Nearly one in three U.S. adults is a millennial, and they are projected to tally 75 percent of the workforce by 2025. This generation makes up the largest source of demand for rental housing and first-time homeownership, and their wants, needs and limitations are changing the fabric of the real estate market.
Luckily, one thing that’s not changing is the demand for a real estate agent—millennials still want agents to supervise their moves. Here at Rental Beast, we’ve developed a quick list to help you capture millennials’ business.
Renting is a practical solution to the economic problems millennials face. Slow wage growth and a tight lending environment, combined with the highest rates of student debt ever, mean that the odds are stacked against young would-be homebuyers. As a result, 50 percent of millennials rent.
However, many actually want to live in a rental. This generation is mobile and ready to move to the next city for employment, so they aren’t looking for a long-term housing commitment. Millennials are likely to prioritize an environmentally-conscious lifestyle and elect to live in small, communal spaces with great access to public transport.
Perhaps most promisingly, landlords outfit their units with luxury amenities—stainless steel appliances, open floor plans, granite countertops—to woo potential tenants and get them paying higher rents. With an average income of $76,000, millennials are affluent enough to pay for what they want.
A Path to Homeownership
Just because millennials can’t buy homes right now doesn’t mean they don’t want to. Millennials already make up 32 percent of homebuyers and 68 percent of potential first-time homebuyers. Like previous generations, they hope to achieve stability in their job, marry and have a place to lay down roots semi-permanently, even though they achieve these milestones at a slower pace than previous generations. Educate your millennial client about how they might be able to transition from renter to buyer. Sometimes, a millennial who comes to you with the intention to rent can afford to buy a home, so your guidance is critical. Dispel myths about the 20-percent down payment and let your client know that the barriers to homeownership might be surmountable. A qualified homebuyer will thank you! Even if your client is not ready to buy a home yet, your education will mean that when they have shed some of their student debt or have a big life change, you’ll be the first person they contact to make the move to homeownership.
You Have to Have an Internet Presence
Raised by the internet, millennials are fully fluent in social media. A robust digital presence confirms your existence and your activity, and is a great place for a potential client to understand what you can do for them and the great work that you’ve already done. It might be tough and time-consuming, but working on branding and developing a digital marketing strategy is worth the leads it generates. You can easily make business accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, and use them to create compelling visual stories and connect with other agents and potential leads. Sites like squarespace.com or wix.com allow you to create sleek, sophisticated personal websites where you can direct a client to learn more.
Millennials also search the internet regularly. In fact, a staggering 99 percent report searching online to find their next home. Be ready for a client who knows (or thinks they know) what they want and what’s out there from internet research.
Millennials are used to rapid-speed communication, and most text on a daily basis. They also far prefer forms of written communication—text messages and emails—over phone calls, so keep this in mind when you’re trying to get a response. Of course, respond to their messages as a soon possible, and make sure that your texts are clear and grammatically sound. Many millennials feel comfortable with a conversational tone, so aim for a warm voice. An occasional smiley face doesn’t hurt.
Your Area Expertise
Good news: While millennials are trolling the internet to find homes they are interested in, most of them still opt to use the services of a qualified real estate agent, like you. In fact, 90 percent of millennial homebuyers used the services of a rental agent. Make your value known. You can offer them razor-sharp insight into the properties and amenities of the area that they want to live in, and in-depth knowledge about all the reasons that they should want to live where you’re selling. Forty-three percent of millennials move for job opportunities, and a client who is relocating to an area they are unfamiliar with will value your knowledge.
Your Real Estate Know-How
Your area expertise doesn’t have to end at finding your millennial client a listing they love. Leases can be scary for inexperienced renters, and the bureaucracy of buying can weigh heavily on a first-time homebuyer. Of course, this tip extends to every client that you work with. Your knowledge is a fundamental part of how you interact with everyone, but stressing that you know the ins and outs of legal documents will be especially important to someone new or inexperienced, and will cement a positive relationship.
Aleksia Silverman is the content strategist at Rental Beast. To learn more about the Rental Beast platform and how you can use rentals to sustainably grow your business, please visit rentalbeast.com.