Millennials have an unfair reputation for being flighty or fickle. Just look at The Globe and Mail’s “How to Keep Those Fickle Millennials Happy” and Time’s infamous “The Me Me Me Generation” articles.
However, despite all the blustery caricaturing and moralistic soapboxing from older generations, millennials have remained remarkably consistent in what they value. From poll to poll, survey to survey, the picture they paint is crystal clear: They want open, ethical, transparent choices; they want to be spoken to directly, and they want to be engaged.
As millennials rise in influence to become the largest buyers of real estate in North America, perhaps it’s time to put away the exaggeration. It’s incumbent on everyone, from real estate agents to banks – and even millennial consumers themselves – to define what this generation looks for in a real estate transaction.
Using what we know broadly about millennial consumers, and taking cues from recent trends in digital marketplaces, let’s explore the up-and-coming mindset around real estate transactions.
In sales and marketing circles, you hear a lot about “personalization,” but what exactly does it mean? For our purposes, let’s define personalization as a rejection of the one-size-fits-all ethos of top-down marketing strategies and passive consumerism.
In Forbes’ article, “How Millennials Are Revolutionizing the Home Buying Process,” Megan Gorman describes millennial expectations as “more personalized, more service.” She argues that “the generation focused on ‘swiping right’” doesn’t want referrals, Yellow Pages, and Open Houses to guide the buying process.
Rather, they want tech-enabled solutions that put them in the driver’s seat. If you’re an agent who wants to win with millennials, let them in on the discussions, tailor your service to them, and treat them as collaborators instead of leads.
Choice, Accountability, and Transparency
Millennials don’t want a gatekept MLS, nor do they want a real estate agent their parents recommend. They want choice, accountability, and transparency.
That helps explain the skyrocketing popularity of Nobul, a consumer-centric real estate digital marketplace that enables consumers to choose the agent best suited to their needs and criteria. According to a Financial Times article on Nobul, “The platform is designed to bring transparency, choice, simplicity, and value to the real estate business.”
Speaking to Yahoo! Finance, founder and CEO of Nobul Regan McGee was upfront about who he had in mind. “Millennial first-time home buyers are our target demographic,” he said, adding, “When people buy and sell real estate, they want to do it the same way they do everything else in their lives, like traveling or getting an Uber.”
An Engaging Experience
The first generation of “digital natives,” millennials often appeal to the digital realm for engagement and stimulation. Not solely, mind you. But certainly more than previous generations.
This tech-savvy phenomenon is part of the reason immersive solutions like VR and AR are taking off in real estate. Millennials (especially during the pandemic) want remote buying solutions that are as engaging – or more – than in-person showings. Immersive technologies make for a far more exciting buying experience than pictures and listing descriptions.
Likewise, millennials want to feel engaged throughout the buying process, not just in the marketing phase. Real estate agents, lawyers, and notaries need to learn how to speak directly, frankly, and honestly to consumers if they hope to solicit positive word-of-mouth in years to come.
In summary, the millennial cohort is now real estate’s biggest fish – and, for some, its white whale. Understanding what millennials value (transparency, choice, engagement, personalization, etc.) will help you navigate the demographic shift with ease and success.