Jaymi Naciri of Realty Times tackles the home buying of millennials. Are they even looking to buy a home?
Maybe it's time to adjust your strategy.
"They have to give up their coffee three times a week."
"They need to keep their car until it's paid off and then continue to drive it for years."
"If they really want to buy a house, they need to change their lifestyle."
These are just a few of the comments overheard on a recent day as two presumably hungry mortgage professionals met over lunch within earshot of our table at a local restaurant. Curiously, they both seemed to agree that these strategies were key to turning millennials into homeowners.
The strategies don't seem out of line, really... unless you actually know some millennials and are in touch with how they act, who they are, what they like, what they want, and what they respond to. There's an obvious grain of salt here, as we're about to speak in pretty broad generalities about millennials. But, it's clearly an important topic given the sheer number of them out there and the hope that at least some will transition from renting or living at mom and dad's house to a place of their own.
There are countless articles out there geared toward helping the real estate agent and mortgage professional reach the millennial market. Not surprisingly, many of them are focused on social media proficiency as a means for message delivery. But what about the message itself?
The fact that specific messaging is largely not being tailored to this critical market is concerning. It further illustrates the disconnect between millennials and the real estate industry as a whole. Are millennials unrealistic in their expectations - in both thinking that the market will come to them when they're ready or giving up the idea of homeownership altogether? Or, are real estate and mortgage professionals simply not approaching and talking to millennials in a way that makes sense to them?
It's a combination of both, really, but for the sake of this article, we're going to focus on the latter. Reaching buyers is all about knowing your target. Do you wonder why so many industry professionals are using such a traditional, old-school approach? We do, too.
The avocado toast argument
Australian real estate mogul Tim Gurner caused a major debate earlier this year when he went on the Australian news program 60 Minutes and famously told millennials to stop buying avocado toast if they wanted to become homeowners. "When I was trying to buy my first home, I wasn't buying smashed avocado for $19 and four coffees at $4 each," he said. "We're at a point now where the expectations of younger people are very, very high. They want to eat out every day, they want to travel to Europe every year. The people that own homes today worked very, very hard for it, saved every dollar, did everything they could to get up the property investment ladder."
Leaving some of the more negative generalizations and characterizations aside, millennials have, indeed, proven how much they value their leisure pursuits. That means that ordering a latte in a café or avocado toast in a restaurant isn't so much about the drink or the meal as it is sitting in the café or restaurant with a friend or loved one, enjoying the experience.
Will millennials forgo the things - or, more appropriately, the experiences - they love to buy a house? Some will. For the rest, it may just be up to the real estate and mortgage folks to adjust their tactics in order to coax these potential buyers into the market.
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