Recently, I took my first steps into the home buying process. Having turned 25 this past April, I felt it was time to start “investing” my money rather than continuing to throw it away towards rent.
Very grown up of me, right?
That is… until I had to call my dad to ask what I was supposed to do first.
I’m not ashamed to admit that even at 25, I am still pretty reliant on my parents (…and it seems I’m not the only one, with nearly ⅓ of millennials still living at home as of 2016).
But I could not help but wonder: what is the first-time home buying process like for other people my age?
After mulling this question over for a while, I decided to start researching the first-time home buyer. I began by reading through the National Association of Realtors 2016 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends report. In it they stated the following information:
Buyers that are 35 years and younger continue to be the largest generational group of home buyers with a median age of 30 years old…of this group, 67% are first-time buyers
Here’s the best part…out of all the millennials polled, 89% of them purchased their homes through an agent.
For a generation that is known for leading the way in digital, it was curious to see that we were more likely than any other generation to rely on a real estate agent when it came to purchasing a home. And then it hit me:
First-time millennial home buyers – like myself – are looking for help with the home buying process and not necessarily just online.
Determined to prove this idea to myself I decided to poll almost all of the millennials our office. I started by asking them this question:
So you’ve decided you’re ready to buy a house but have no idea where to start. Do you:
Call a family member or friend
Given that I work at a software company, full of technologically savvy people, I was very surprised to find that 40% of people answered that they would call their family or friends for help prior to heading online.
Of the 60% that said they would go online first, almost all of them agreed that this would only be for initial research and preparation prior to speaking with a family member or friend.
Here are two main ways that you can use this information to your advantage.
This information brings new meaning to the term “multi-channel strategy”. Although millennials do in fact live online, the value of human guidance is still very important to them. Below are some ideas that can help you attract these buyers both online and offline.
Grab their attention during the awareness stage by offering helpful first-time buyer information on your website.
Take a moment to put yourself in the shoes of a first-time buyer (you may have even been there yourself at one point) and think about the types of questions you would ask. Write all of them down. Now take that list and compare it to these 91 home buying questions courtesy of Answer The Public*.
Once you have this information, put together some sort of “everything a first-time buyer needs to know” brochure. This can be as simple as a one-sheet checklist or as in-depth as a 10-page eBook – it’s completely up to you.
*Questions people are asking Google and Bing that are related to home buying
Network, network, network.
You know which real estate agent I’m most likely to use? The one that my dad suggests during my initial phone call with him. Never underestimate the sphere of influence or the power of relationships. They are both still very important.
It’s also very important to connect with the millennials in your market directly. A great way to do this is to organize a free meet up at the local coffee shop, where people can come and ask you questions about the home buying process. Promote this event both on and offline and be sure to bring some material to share with them.
HINT: save yourself some time by repurposing whatever material you’ve already created online.