The Surprising Truth About Millennial Homebuyers

millenial homebuyers are buying more homes

What we think about millenial's may no longer be the truth. You may or may not know this, but people under 30 now make up the majority of homebuyers. Are Millenials really the risk-averse, mobile and rent-centric people we thought they were? Turns out they aren't.

Hyperlocal Strategies

Nelson Quest
Founder & CEO

Something big is happening. What we think about millennials may no longer be the truth. You may or may not know this, but people under 30 now make up the majority of homebuyers. Are millennials really the risk-averse, mobile and rent-centric people we thought they were? Turns out they aren't.

Make no mistake, the roadblocks (credit card & student loan debt) isn't going away for the younger generations. But that doesn't seem to be stopping them from planting their roots and making an investment for their future.

Here's how crazy it's getting. The National Association of Realtors recently stated that individuals under 30 are comprising 32% of all homes purchased. They now constitute 68% of first-time homebuyers.

So what does this mean for your marketing strategy?

It means that you have an untapped market. The stereotype is still that younger people aren't buyers. Take me for example. I am a millennial. I have also been thinking about investment properties since I was 18. The shift is really happening.

This means you'll need to invest in building out the proper marketing strategy for the younger generation.

You'll need to know:

  1. How millennials think
  2. What is important to millennials
  3. How to reach them

Let's start with understanding who you're dealing with. We'll build out a personality profile. This will help us narrow down the thought processes to cater to and outlets to use to reach millennials.


The Millennial Homebuyer Profile

One thing surprises even me. In 2015, 67 percent of recent buyers were married couples. That means a lot of millennials are getting married. Here I was thinking we weren't. The other 33% of buyers is a mix of single males, single females, and unmarried couples.

The Important Figures:
  • 83 percent of recent purchases were detached, single-family homes
  • 86 percent of recent buyers financed their home purchase
  • 62 percent said they renovated their homes

I know this is a lot of numbers. Bear with me.

This information is telling us a few things. They would rather a DIY fixer-upper than a new build. It is also important that you stress your ability to help prospects get financing. Those who financed their homes put down an average 10% down-payment.

Here comes the hard truth. According to NAR, 81 percent of real estate agents are older than 45. There is an 80% chance that you are 20 years older than me. That's a pretty big gap.

The reason age is important to stress is that there are generational differences. Did you know that millennials statistically "hate" phone calls? And that they would much rather prefer a text or e-mail as a primary means of communication?

This is why it's crucial to understand how to reach your target market.

How to Reach Millennial Homebuyers

Those born into the internet age are skeptical. They look for social proof and always do their research. Cold calling alone probably isn't going to cut it with these guys.

When dealing with millennials, your first plan of action should be to build your online presence.

Your Online Presence as a Realtor

There are a few things to keep in mind here. Everything I'm going to mention is good general practice but especially important for millennials:

  • Reviews on industry sites
  • Reviews on Facebook
  • Testimonials on your website and/or Facebook
Reviews on Trulia, Zillow etc.

In internet marketing we use a term called Online Reputation Management. There are companies dedicated to ensuring your satisfied customers are heard; and your unsatisfied customers are dealt with prior to posting negative reviews online. It's important.

Consumers are bombarded with advertisements. It has raised their savvy to new levels. In order to overcome consumer skepticism, make sure your company profiles are highlighted with as many 5 star reviews as possible.

Trulia

Trulia has an awesome review platform. It's minimalist and therefore makes it easy for users to search. This is great for you because a site that is easier to use will keep users around longer. Thus increasing your chances of being discovered.

Zillow

There isn't a huge difference between the review platforms on Trulia and Zillow. I think Trulia is a little easier to use. They both work though. I would recommend doing some research. Figure out which site has the least amount of registered realtors and go there.

Yelp

According to some of the top-producing agents I've heard from, YELP is an emerging force for generating leads. There are also less realtors using YELP. That means this platform is easier to get to the top of the search results.

Google Business Profiles

Google Business Profiles are important to optimize. The better you do on Google, the higher SEO value you get. This will push you to the top of the search results.

Reviews on Facebook

reviews on facebook
Great online reputation management.
Turnberry Intl. Realty is one of our clients.

We'll touch more on why Facebook is importantly shortly. Let's first talk about their reviewing system.

Facebook has reviews just like the other companies above. If you have any reviews on your Facebook profile it will show from within the search. This is a great chance to attract prospects organically. Just remember that you'll need to solicit most of the reviews. (People generally only go out of their way to write a review if they are pissed off. Sad but true.)

Using Homebuyer Testimonials

You can use written or video testimonials. Post your video testimonials on Facebook, Youtube or the testimonials page on your website.

Zillow has a cool widget that you can embed into your website. It will populate a page of your choosing or the footer of your website with all of your reviews/testimonials. Check that out here.

Are you using Wordpress (you should be) for your site as a realtor or brokerage? You can use a plug-in like Easy Testimonials to create a custom review page. There are other options available as well. At AgentFire we developed a powerful reviews plug-in exclusive for our clients.

Now you're rolling with the punches! Your online reputation is on-point. What next?

Where do Millennial Homebuyers Hang Out?

I'm fairly certain you already know the answer to this. Social media. The best network is Facebook. There are a ton of different options though... Stick with 1-3 social media outlets and own them. Don't spread yourself thin by trying to be everywhere.

It's also super important to know about the best and worst times to post on each social network. Now, let's look into each site and determine the best marketing strategy for the platform.

Facebook

Great realtor branding on Facebook. Jim is one of our clients.

Facebook just passed 1.23 Billion active monthly users. It's by far the best outlet to reach the most amount of people. Not to mention the advertising platform is amazing.

Is it the best platform to get highly targeted viewers? Maybe not. That's why agents also use Zillow, Yelp etc. to advertise. As for reaching a large audience and building your personal brand? You can't beat Facebook. Make sure to review your post analytics and determine the best times for viewer engagement.

Facebook best practices for agents:

  • 1-4PM is the best time to post
  • Weekends before 8AM and after 8PM are the worst times to post
  • Using photos results in 50-100% more engagement

Facebook is great because you can make short and snappy posts like twitter, videos (great idea), or long-form "notes" and get high engagement across the board. How you use the platform is really up to you!

Youtube

An example of good realtor branding on Youtube.

Some realtors post videos directly to Facebook. You can also post your videos on Youtube and then share them across your social networks.

The best videos to post on youtube as a realtor or brokerage:

  • Walk-through's of homes you list
  • Video testimonials from past clients
  • Real estate market updates
  • How-to's or quick tip videos

You can really make it work on Youtube with videos of any length. I've seen 90 minute interviews, 2 minute quick tip videos and everything in-between. Remember to find your personal brand and be consistent. Don't put on a persona.

People can smell the fake energy and it's scientifically proven that people can tell the difference between a real and false smile. So be genuine and don't set off their "bullsh!t sensors."

Twitter

Great realtor branding on Twitter. Eileen is one of our clients.

This is not a platform for advertising. This is a network for entertainment and building connections with the community. In order to survive on twitter as an agent, you need to be quick, sharp, witty, caring, different... Pick your schtick and own it.

I have heard from many top-producing agents and brokerages that twitter is not an effective outlet for organic lead generation. HOWEVER, use the search function with relevant keywords like "searching, homes, house hunting" and try to find people asking questions in the house-hunting process.

Take the opportunity to then create a conversation and help homebuyers where relevant. Add value and it may come back to you.

Other Platforms For Realtors:

You can also choose to use any one of the below social networks. Just remember to tailor your communications to the platform. I plan to make full guides for each network soon (including the above).

  • Google+
  • LinkedIn
  • Pintrest
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat

Let's not forget about e-mail and text. If you can include drip-email and text campaigns into your marketing, you'll be reaching millennials in their natural habitat. By the way, 98% of texts are read - only 11% of emails are ever opened.


In Conlusion

The percentage of young buyers is rapidly growing. However, the stereotype remains that millennials aren't buying homes. Take this as a big marketing opportunity. You can target the people no one else is.

If you can speak to millennials on their level, understand how they think and what they want etc., you will win that game. As with any other form of marketing, you need to understand your target demographic.

Get the young people on the platforms they use. Speak their language and build trust.

Millennials are an untapped business for realtors.

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