As a real estate agent who helps a lot of millennials through their first homebuying process, and a millennial myself, I have had several older agents come to me for help when dealing with this new generation of buyers.
Although many of these agents have more experience in the real estate market than I do, their misconceptions about what it would be like to work with a millennial seem to get in the way of their proven skills and knowledge.
Here are the three most common misconceptions I have heard about working with “the younger crowd.”
They are lazy
I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard an older agent refer to his or her millennial client as lazy or worked alongside one who fears that working with a millennial would mean extra work on the agent’s part.
The fact of the matter is this couldn’t be further from the truth.
In the “everything instantly” world of Google, millennials have become accustomed to finding the easiest way to do things, and though some people see that as laziness, it shows a creativity and resourcefulness that should be admired and emulated.
Millennials are some of the most resourceful people on the planet. Their technological savvy often allows them to produce similar or even better results in less time and with less effort.
I have found this resourcefulness has produced young buyers who know exactly what they want and where they want to live and who have researched the best ways to go about getting to their goal.
According to a 2014 survey, conducted by the freelance platform Elance-oDesk and Millennial Branding, nearly 30 percent, of 1,000 millennials and 200 hiring managers, reported that they were already in management positions.
That doesn’t sound lazy to me.
They prefer impersonal communication
The digital age has seen communication become constant and instant.
Email and text message seem to have become the preferred method to reach someone for business reasons, but don’t underestimate the impact of a personal message, especially with a millennial client.
I’ve received several hand-written thank you notes or personal notes from clients and all of them have come from buyers and sellers under the age of 28.
In the fast-paced world of real estate, this classic form of communication seems to have regained its charm. And don’t forget the importance of face-to-face conversations either.
A Mattersight Corporation survey of 1,000 millennials found that 85 percent of millennials said they’d prefer to meet and communicate in person with co-workers. I’d imagine they’d want similar, if not more, face-to-face contact when making one of the largest investments in their lives.
You’re doing yourself a great disservice if you think meeting over coffee or lunch is no longer appreciated.
In fact, Skype and Facetime have made face-to-face conversations and meetings available any time, anywhere.
Although I don’t spend a lot of time talking on the phone with my fellow millennials, I do have regular video conversations. These conversations can be so telling, and even more helpful than an hour-long phone call.
They are selfish
I’ll just come right out and say it, millennials get a bad rap in this department. Volunteering their time and money and fighting for social justice — millennials can be some of the most giving and unselfish people around.
In 2014, roughly 84 percent of millennials made a charitable donation of some kind. This should be seen as a huge advantage when working with someone in this generation.
Millennials appreciate knowing those around them — especially those they are working with — are people who share their values.
Engage with them about what they find important. They will love hearing their agent volunteers his or her time at a soup kitchen or gives a portion of commission to charity.
So many real estate agents miss golden opportunities to connect with young buyers by not opening up about the things they are passionate about and the things they do themselves to make the world a better place.
So when it comes to working with millennials, drop the preconceived notions at the door. Sure, no two people are alike, and there is an exception to every rule, but don’t risk alienating a major piece of the market.
Millennials will soon become a major force in the real estate market, and breaking through the misconceptions will help your business breakthrough to this new group of potential clients.