Realtors have to do more legwork these days to grab the attention of young homebuyers, those in their 20s and early 30s known as millennials.
Agents say they have to set the right stage, deliver all the facts, figures and views and make the property worthy to live in for millennials to even take a walk through the home – let alone buy it.
The younger set is environmentally conscious, generally interested in urban living, savvy about the price it wants to pay and the accommodations it requires in a home. Realtors are adapting to this new world of home-searching by maintaining a strong online presence and keeping all properties listed on the web up-to-date.
Real estate agencies are having agents create personal homepages and mobile apps, uploading tons of photos to go with a property listing and staging homes to appeal to the younger generation. Realtors also keep their phones close because this new generation of homebuyers wants to communicate by text and not call the office phone.
“With millennials, there is really not a lot of hand-holding. They have done their research, and they know what they are looking for in a home,” said Heather McFadden, associate broker at Coldwell Banker Heritage Real Estate in Bethlehem. “So, we have to really be on our ‘A’ game.”
In Wyomissing, Bill Sands, broker, president and Realtor at Sands & Co. Real Estate, said he has done his homework on millennials, knows their habits, knows that they spend a lot of time online and will have all the facts they can gather regarding a property before they call him.
“Realtors need to spend more time upfront to get millennials’ attention because these people do everything online,” he said.
“They do all of their own independent research, shop on the web for properties before they even call us.”
At Keller Williams Realty Inc. in Allentown, team leader and associate broker Tai DeSa said that at his agency all Realtors maintain their own homepages and make them mobile friendly.
He said that Keller Williams offers free apps that have a GPS feature so that smartphone users can pull up home listings on-the-go.
“Everything we put out there has to be mobile-friendly because they get all their information from their phones,” McFadden said.
LOTS OF IMAGES
Sands and DeSa said millennials want a lot of photos and artist renderings. The standard property listing has about 25 pictures attached to give the potential homebuyer a better view of the home.
They want to get a full view of what a property looks like before they decide if they want to take a drive to see it.
Photos have to be eye-catching, and the home should be staged to show room size, property boundaries, colors and decor.
Sands said when millennials decide they want a house, they become educated.
“Everything is based on authentic referrals, and knowledge is key,” he said.
He said that if he wants a quick response from young clients, he will text them.
“They do not have all kinds of time to spend, so they want as much information as fast as possible at their fingertips,” Sands said.
NO MAJOR RENOVATIONS
In Bethlehem, McFadden said that often she will make sure the home is not “overdone” before she does a house tour. Millennials want to see how much space is available in the home so that they can make it their own.
Millennials may go as far as repainting rooms in the house, but they do not want to buy a place where they will have to make major renovations, some agents said.
“If they are serious buyers, they make an informed decision and they move forward with their minds set to purchase it,” McFadden said.
Real estate agents said millennials seem to gravitate toward smaller, efficient spaces that do not require a lot of maintenance and come with a conservative price tag. McFadden cited condos as a popular choice among buyers in their 20s and early 30s.
“These are people who enjoy an urban lifestyle or they want to be able to go on vacation a lot, and they do not want to be strapped with heavy mortgage payments,” McFadden said. “They come to us, and they say, ‘this is what I can afford.’ ”
DeSa said millennials prefer to “keep their carbon footprint low,” often choosing green or multifunctional homes.
“For them, it is about finding a home base, a place to hang their hats,” he said.