The millennial generation, also known as Generation Y, is taking a greater role in the housing market, and young people’s preferences are starting to shape how the way real estate business is done. The real estate portal Zillow predicts that millennials will overtake baby boomers as the generation purchasing the largest number of homes this year, making their preferences even more important.
It goes without saying that we rely on technology. We were put in front of a computer in the first grade, and some even had iPads before that. When it comes to real estate, the first thing that comes to mind is … Is there an app for that? Seriously, everything the millennials do is internet based, either through a PC or smart phone.
This includes real estate, and finding a good realtor is done entirely online, which makes it especially important to have a great, not good website. This does not include the website that your company or broker gave you. You need an up-to-date website that is robust, simple and easy to navigate.
Realtors should have a video about themselves available — this helps give a better perception of your personality, and the client can decide if there you are a fit. YouTube is the No. 2 search engine for a couple reason’s: it’s captivating and it’s owned by Google.
Your online presence is essentially the face of your business, and it’s important to put your best foot forward. If you want to embrace this generation, avoid the door hangers and spammy junk mail that clutters up the mail box. I cringe when I get mailers with photos on them that were clearly taken at least 10 years ago, you know who you are.
Do you have a blog? If you don’t then now is the time to get started. Setting up a WordPress blog is really easy, and no coding is necessary; just some imagination and your opinion. I’ve even helped some of the realtors I work with get set up blogs. Some might or might not know about search engine optimization (SEO), but if you’re writing about what’s going on in your town, then that is very good for your internet traffic and you’re business. It might take an hour a day, but it is an hour well-spent.
Regarding social media, please don’t post your listings on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ and expect it to bring much business. Social media is about being social. Tell us about your last sale — was it easy, or did they make you work for it? Post pictures of your closings instead, it helps build trust. Tell us about you and your business — what is your value proposition, and who do you identify with? Millennials use the best portal they can find to look at houses, not Facebook or anything else.
Advertising on portals such as Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com bring leads. They might have to be nurtured, but at least you are getting their information, and that’s a big step in today’s generation of do-not-spam-me-or-you-will-be-sent-to-junk-mail generation.
Establishing profiles on these portals is critical in being seen and trusted. Clearly the more positive reviews you have the better. One of the things I tell the realtors I work with to do is to reach out to past customers and send them a link to your profile. Just a couple sentences about their experience with you can go a long way to helping you get your next sale. Also, promoting your Facebook page is a great way to get leads and get traffic to your website or blog. It is not too expensive, and it allows you to target the zip codes and demographics you want to get more business from. Are you participating in a fundraiser, hosting a real estate seminar, or blogging about what’s going on in your community? Post these things to your social profile, and pay a few bucks to get some exposure because the business pages no longer get the organic exposure that they used to.
We millennials have done our homework. Rarely, do agents need to provide listings for us to see. In fact it’s usually the opposite. When I bought my home, I used a portal that was reliable and up-to-date, and I emailed them to my realtor a couple days ahead of time to help me see them when we could. My friends have all had similar experiences, as well.
Yes, we prefer text messages if possible. It’s quick and easy, and we are already looking at our phones. A lot of you know this information already. You should have read other articles on millennials and our student loans. These loans will not be a problem forever, and they will eventually allow us to get better jobs. When it’s time to get married and start a family, then it will be time to buy a house, and we will need a good realtor.
One of the millennials
Jason Cassity is a real estate professional at City Consulting Group in San Diego and specializes in the downtown San Diego real estate market.