It’s Thanksgiving 2016 and we as a nation are collectively waking up to face a new dawn in our nation’s history. Change is all around us. Whether you voted for president-elect Donald Trump or not, there’s simply no denying things are gonna be, well, let’s say “dynamic” for some time to come in this country.
Apart from just the presidency, we can expect some serious changes in 2017 all across our financial markets, immigration policies, health care and, of course, real estate.
Right in the middle of all this, there’s also a generation starting to change hands as Millennials begin to assume much of the wealth their parents and grandparents built and enter the consumer markets as major players.
With over 30 trillion dollars to transfer to Gen X and Millennials going forward, what does that mean for Realtors (and FSBOs too!) when it comes to selling to this generation?
Get a Technology Upgrade and Some New Skills – Fast
With Millennials poised to make up over 30% of consumer spending, it’s safe to say they will soon be a big part of your customer demographic when it comes to buying and selling homes. For real estate professionals, this generation presents several major challenges, the biggest of which has to do with technology.
Why? Well, despite what’s on the surface, real estate is still a very traditional, person-to-person activity.
Sure, websites and apps abound, but the majority of real estate professionals that make up America’s largest human sales force were not born into the wired age. In fact, for almost all Realtors working today, cell phones, laptops, selfies, Snapchat, GroupMe and AirBNB are all things that didn’t exist for most of their lives. That means – no pun intended – there’s a major disconnect.
Millennials, though, love technology. It’s virtually a part of their DNA. They love the convenience it brings and they love the “remote” interactivity if affords without the muss and fuss of, well, interacting face-to-face. Wired online magazine recently offered a great summary of just how Millennials use technology. The big takeaways?
- Millennials love mobile, in fact they prefer it almost completely to desktop
- Millennials prefer “do-it-yourself” and “self-service” via apps that let them avoid traditional processes
- Millennials use search to start every process – they don’t use “big brand” sites as much as prior generations
- Millennials email when they have to, but prefer interactive chat apps when possible
- For Millennials, consumer research means checking social media such as Twitter and online reviews
- Millennials don’t tolerate those who are not tech-savvy very well
- Millennials prefer speed and automated processes over in-depth info
- When it comes to existing apps and websites, if you use it they probably don’t
So, what does this all mean for the average real estate pro?
Well, for starters, it means you need to get tech savvy to stay competitive or you will be “upgraded” out of a job in favor of someone who is. To help the Millennial customer (and even their Gen X parents too!), you have to learn and adapt:
- Upgrade your phone to the latest iPhone or Android models
- Grab one of your kids and have them start teaching you to use your phone they way they do
- Learn to communicate via chat and text instead of email and phone calls
- Establish a presence on social media and get your voice out there – regularly
- Learn how to (really) market your home listings on mobile and social media without noise
- Emphasize home posting platforms that are mobile-centric
- Don’t rely on MLS to get your home seen the way it should be
- Automate existing processes as much as you can and emphasize speed, simplicity in all things
- Start getting on board with the next generation of real estate apps and sites
To stay competitive in your business and serve the coming generation, you must learn new skills and embrace change. The good news is, there’s time to catch up. Plus, it’s not really that hard to do. A good general rule? Think about what you would do to sell or find a home, then ask someone 18-30 what they’d do to get started.
Learn More: Real Estate Trends for 2017 from MarketWatch