Despite the endless stream of misleading headlines, Millennials are now in their mid-20s to early-40s, and along with the oldest members of Gen Z, Millennials are beginning to purchase homes of their own. So what does that mean for the broader real estate marketplace? Simply put, as Baby Boomers continue to retire and start downsizing, real estate agents need to adapt their sales strategies and approached to home styling to appeal to younger buyers. After decades of relying on the same basic approach to home sales, it’s time for a real estate revolution.
Address Rising Rents
One of the primary reasons it’s taken so long for Millennials to enter the housing market is that, after the recession in 2008 – just as many Millennials were entering the job market, a lot of young buyers were both in economically precarious positions and skeptical of the lending industry. Now that we’re a decade out from the early days of the recession, though, rents are rising and homes are starting to look affordable.
If they’re going to get more Millennials into their own homes, then, real estate agents need to respond to this affordability gap. That includes identifying the different between a monthly rent payment, especially in big cities, and a mortgage payment. It’s easy for Millennials to assume that if they’re struggling to pay the rent, then they definitely can’t afford to buy a house, but that needn’t be the case.
Some people are enthusiastic about buying a “fixer upper,” especially as their first home, but for most Millennials, this just doesn’t make sense; they’d rather buy a home that’s move-in ready, and real estate agents should take that into account when staging homes for sale. This means talking to sellers about how much they’re willing to invest in renovations before putting their home on the market, and paying attention to exterior appearance, or curb appeal, beyond just mowing the lawn.
Not sure where to start? One inexpensive step homeowners can take is to invest in new window treatments, which can offer added privacy and give the home a more polished look. It’s also worth applying a fresh coat of paint to the front door – and don’t shy away from bright colors. Millennial buyers aren’t afraid of such distinctive features and they can help make a property stand out from other similar homes.
Emphasize Industry Hotspots
If you were paying attention when Amazon announced their HQ2 locations, then you know that rental prices in those areas immediately skyrocketed. That’s because where businesses go, so go the workers, and in a volatile economy, workers are more mobile than ever before. With younger buyers, then, real estate agents should emphasize workforce housing, whether that’s single family homes near major corporate centers and surrounded by youth-oriented amenities, or apartments and co-living environments. Though many Millennials are ready to buy homes, newer workers in Gen Z are more likely to seek such communal environments, so it can be worthwhile to diversify your portfolio in this way.
Though home buying platforms like Zillow and Trulia are increasingly important among Millennial buyers, ultimately the technology features that real estate agents should be concerned about are those affiliated with smart phones and overall connectivity. Be prepared to answer questions about whether new homes get good cell phone reception and who the local ISPs are, or about whether the structure is equipped with solar panels and other eco-friendly upgrades; do your homework and become fluent in the language of smart homes.
Millennials have been slowly entering the real estate market over the past several years, but during the next few years, agents are likely to see an influx of younger buyers. With that in mind, real estate agents should adjust their language as much as their sales style, and that means no more Millennial bashing headlines. Agents need to roll out the welcome mat for their new client base.