Advice from a Millennial Renter: How to Turn Renters into Home Buyers

Posted by Jessica Schweppe

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May 18, 2015 11:08:00 AM

4 Ways to Turn Millennial Renters Into Buyers” is a blog article written by Jay Dixon, a managing partner at GQRE in South Carolina that was recently published on Inman Select.

Jay’s goal in this article is to help agents connect with and educate millenials, the largest group of potential first-time homebuyers in the market today, on the benefits of homeownership.

jessica-smThe article starts by talking about how significantly the real estate market and the American dream have changed in the past decade or so. Now, instead of being faced with young adults hungry to dive into home ownership, agents are dealing with a generation who watched their parents get kicked in the teeth when the economy tanked. Naturally, seeing the negative impact of the housing crisis first-hand made millennials (like me) apprehensive about purchasing their own ‘white picket fence’ home.

Next, Jay points to data that shows renters are paying too much money when they could be buying for less and building equity. As a long-time renter myself, I understand this battle all too well. I live in a high-demand, high rental cost market – and I admit that sometimes it physically hurts me to write my monthly rent check (can you say sunshine tax)? So why haven’t I pulled the trigger and made a purchase yet?

Perhaps it’s because, as the article states, I have a “lack of real-world education on the values of homeownership.” Jay says it’s up to agents to educate us. We need to understand the value of a dollar now versus a dollar tomorrow, we need to see the types of amenities we could own in a house versus an apartment and we need to learn how affordable owning can be.

Sure, those things are all important, but most potential homebuyers in the ‘thinking-about-it’ stage have already figured a lot of this stuff out. I understand inflation, I’ve looked at mortgage calculators, I know that I’d love a yard and I’ve been annoyed by the number of times my rent has gone up over the years. So buying should be a no brainer, right? Not quite.

Keep in mind that with millenials, you’re most likely dealing with people who are starting to figure out their careers (and it may be taking a while because the job market was terrible when we graduated). This group may also be considering marriage or starting a family. What do all these things have in common? They are all huge life commitments are overwhelming and expensive – so tossing a first-time home purchase into the middle of it all can be intimidating.

That said, many of us will be ready within the next few years, and we’ll need an agent we can turn to who can educate us, answer our questions and help us through the process.We're beggining to seek out stability, but aren't quite there yet. 

So how do you connect with us? Jay’s advice to agents - encouraging them to use infographics and social media to provide millennials considering home ownership with helpful information about the market, the home buying process and the benefits - is spot on.

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Following the rules of inbound marketing and, as Jay says, putting information out there that is helpful and relevant to your target lead group is a great way to grow your business. If I see an agent making a clear effort to target young(ish) first-time buyers, I’m going to assume they have a lot to offer because they are going out of their way to reach me - and that will encourage me to connect with them.

My advice? Follow Jay’s advice and incorporate these three simple suggestions into your marketing:

  1. Make it known that you enjoy helping first-time homebuyers
  2. Be patient with all the questions you will inevitably get
  3. Advertise that you’re willing to help first-timers on social channels

Doing so will allow you to connect with millenials on the channels their actively using and will let them know you’ll be there to help when they’re ready. Stay focused on making those connections now, keep in touch and you’ll see a huge return on your time investment for years to come.


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Topics: Practical Advice, Building Your Brand

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