Is Your Brokerage Ready for Gen Y Buyers?

As a broker, you need to make sure that you, your office, and your agents are ready to serve Millennials.

September 19, 2013

Generation Y buyers are entering the home buyer’s market armed with spreadsheets (digital, of course), instant communication, and an affinity for technologically friendly spaces. It’s no surprise that studies are focusing on the Generation Y buyer. They’re gearing up to make their first purchase or looking to put down roots and raise a family.

Sure, some of them are staying put. They’re conservative and hesitant because they’ve been rocked by the economy, are laden with student debt, or lack job stability. But others have been renting and building wealth for 10 years. They’ve been waiting to see an improvement in the market and are anxious to buy a home—often even skipping a “starter home” in favor of more luxurious digs. Experts are considering how to reach this important audience. Brokers and agents need to know what these buyers are looking for as well as how (and where) to reach them.

Lure Them With Your Web Presence

Generation Y grew up with iPods, laptops, and mobile phones. They aren’t communicating over e-mail (unless it’s with their bosses) and they’re using the Internet for everything from researching their future home to ordering pizza. You must be ready to communicate in a way that works for this group. Make sure you have a complete, user-friendly, mobile-enabled Web site that allows Generation Y buyers to access information on their own time—as they’re winding down before bed or brushing their teeth, iPad in hand.

Brokers must invest in a user-friendly, aesthetically pleasing, and useful Web site. If the leadership of a brokerage doesn’t see the value, agents might have to step up and show them the facts. This vital tool will make you and your whole team more successful. Brokers should consider this aspect of business to be as important as having a bank account.

Engage Them in the Way They Prefer

If you make it past the first round of cuts with this increasingly important audience, you’ll need to be ready to communicate with your prospective buyers. E-mail ain’t where it’s at. Generation Y buyers are much more interested in texting and Facebook.

As a real estate professional, it behooves you to get interested, too. I’m not promoting these approaches as the first line of contact (a phone call is always your best bet), but you really need to be sufficiently tech-literate to communicate with Generation Y buyers using their preferred channels. Brokers should consider providing training and creating contests to increase this type of engagement.

Give Them What They Want

Now we come to what these buyers want in their homes. Generation Y shares some characteristics with the generations before them (a preference for walk-in closets, for example). But according to a study by market research company GfK Roper Reports, they differ in at least one very important way: They’re less interested in state-of-the-art kitchens and more interested in having fun. Generation Y buyers want a high-tech entertainment center, a game room, and a home gym. Swimming pools rank high on their priority list.

Making sure that you and your agents know this when showing a home is incredibly important. Don’t let sales associates get stuck in the kitchen just because it’s been important to buyers in the past. Ask engaging questions to find out what’s important to each buyer and sell them based on their needs and desires (not yours). Because, just like generations before them and the ones that will come after, Generation Y wants to be heard.

Jason Forrest is a sales trainer, management coach, member of the National Speakers Association’s Million Dollar Speakers Group, and author of three books, including his latest, Leadership Sales Coaching. Learn more at