February 5, 2018

Interactive sites help millennials make moves

Trying to appeal to the potential homebuyer in today’s millennial?

Then you better promise them more than great customer service. Why? Because millennials prefer solutions over promises.

During a millennial’s initial home search, chances are they won’t return your call or proactively call a customer service department. As with every problem or need in the digital age, they’ll first turn to Google. That’s because millennials feel better about your business when you make it easy to do things online, by themselves, on their schedule.

Millennial home shoppers are not only tech-savvy, they’re tech-bred. They use mobile devices for everything from planning vacations to researching stocks to checking the Twitter status of celebs. Yes, it’s not a stretch to say these folks probably couldn’t conduct home-buying or other forms of personal financial management without the aid of a digital device, even if they wanted to.

Already the largest and fastest-growing cohort among homebuyers, they’ll soon be claiming complete housing market dominance.

Millennials are much more likely than other home shoppers to forward unsolicited emails to the trash folder. Meaning, businesses can succeed in reaching millennials by providing engagement alongside the information they’ve asked for.

Successful marketing tools might include interactive blogs, Facebook and Twitter pages. Of course, don’t forget the older generations, but millennials need more engagement than just having something to read. They need to interact with something.

Millennials want to respond with questions or comments. And you need to be able to respond back. This vital relationship builds from there. But if you have to use the phone, please don’t call—text! Millennials almost never answer their phones, but they’re almost certainly glued to their text messages.

This group may have arrived at the housing party later than expected, but their sheer numbers will quickly have them making up for lost time. Their overall earning power is strong, but many are burdened by student debt. Others just haven’t had time to save for a down payment.

The task at hand is persuading them to see all the options. According to Down Payment Resources, there are 2,290 down payment programs across the country that are waiting for homebuyers to apply.

Varying by state, they include below-market interest rate loans or 100 percent financing, tax credits, loans and grants. Know them.

The average amount of down payment assistance made per buyer is \$11,565, according to the analysis. Of the 78 million single-family homes and condos in the U.S., more than 68 million (or 87 percent) would qualify.

While they may be a tad older than first-time homebuyers of the past, it’s clear that millennials are now emerging from their parents’ basements and looking for homes of their own.