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Capturing the millennial market as an estate agent

Navigating and adapting to the highs and lows of the housing market is part and parcel of being an estate agent.

Demand in this market is influenced by the economic and demographic factors of that time.

Currently, millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) are facing the crucial decision about whether to rent or buy a home. Dubbed ‘generation rent’ by the media, many struggle to save enough for the high deposits expected to get onto the property ladder. But with research from HSBC finding that 31% of millennials are in fact homeowners, estate agents should cater to both types of millennials seeking to find their next home – be it rent or buy.

With this generation of renters and homeowners, comes innovative ways of approaching the home search process. Predominantly, millennials are looking for the integration of digital platforms when finding a home, and so far, the industry has excelled in this area.

Sites such as Rightmove, Zoopla and estate agents’ own websites have taken away the necessity for prospective buyers and renters to physically visit an agent’s office. Instead, they can see all key information needed for a prospective home online before getting in touch and scheduling a viewing, with some agents now even offering virtual and video tours – which have proved particularly useful in the current climate.

Moving house listings online is only one aspect to attracting a millennial audience. Estate agents must also adopt other factors in their current processes to meet the needs of this new audience, and make a lasting impression for the years that follow. So, what can be done to capture this market?

Understand your audience

As with any business, to provide an effective service you must first understand your audience. Having grown up with a world of information at their fingertips, millennials have access to more knowledge than any generation before them.

This makes them extremely savvy when it comes to knowing what they want. Therefore, when it comes to finding their estate agent of choice, they are looking for a trustworthy business that will help find their ideal home and display the right knowledge on what they are looking for.

Two-thirds of millennials will look to purchase based on eco-friendly credentials.

For example, a survey conducted by the Guardian found that two-thirds of millennials will look to purchase items that offer eco-friendly credentials. Arguably this will reflect in a millennial’s home search; looking for particular features such as insulation, a new boiler, solar panels, energy-efficient white goods, etc. Highlighting these details will show you really know your stuff and appeal to this market.

Do your own research

As seasoned internet users, millennials are avid researchers when it comes to any purchases. This is never more relevant than when it comes to buying or renting a home. Features such as Google Street View, alongside websites that detail crime rates or homes sold in the local area, allow millennials to gain much deeper insight than ever before.

The majority of estate agents will also carry out this research as part of their process. The knowledge gained from this research is precisely what the millennial market is looking for, they want to see that you know the area and that you can provide even more insight.

Don’t forget that this research will extend to your business also. Therefore, make sure you have a selection of great reviews from previous buyers and tenants, and ask happy customers to refer you to their friends and to share their comments on sites such as Google, Trustpilot and Facebook.

Be social

Of everyone, millennials continue to be the generation with the highest social media usage. In fact, a huge 90.4% of millennials are active on social media (Emarketer, 2019) – showing just how crucial it is to make your social presence count.

Over 90% of millennials actively use social media.

Facebook leads the way as the most popular platform for millennials, with 88% of its user base consisting of 21-34 year-olds (Global Web Index) – making it a prime spot for posting insights and showcasing new properties. Its Messenger service is also a hotspot for millennials, so being responsive here is one way to capture extra leads from this market.

Communicate online

Communication with current and prospective customers is key to any successful business. With the extremely fast pace of the housing market combined with the ‘always-on’ world in which we live, millennials are looking for a near-instantaneous answer to their queries. Making a great first impression is crucial, and these days there is very little opportunity to do this in person.

It is vital, therefore, that as an estate agent you ensure you have the right resources in place to achieve high levels of quality communication, from a digital standpoint. This will not only include adequate staff in place to answer phone calls throughout the day (and into the evening) but also by capturing enquiries on your website, quickly.

78% of home buyers stick with the agent who answers first.

Research supports the theory that fast response times mean better business. A survey found that 78% of prospective homebuyers had stuck with the agent that had answered them first (ChatBot). Experts recommend this first response should happen within the initial five minutes.

One of the best ways to achieve this is to implement live chat on your website. This clever, yet simple, tool has become an expectation amongst millennials today, with 30% of online visitors expecting to find a live chat facility on your website.

Live chat allows a visitor to ask a question as they browse – there and then – beginning that vital first communication in their house search, while the query is front of mind, without having to leave your website.

Where some estate agents struggle with live chat is having enough staff in place to man it at all times. To ensure that strong communication is consistent at all times of the day, many choose to outsource their live chat function and overflow chats to an experienced receptionist, whenever they’re out of the office or unavailable.

Hear from the millennials themselves

We were curious to find out what millennials themselves had to say about their property search, and what they look for in an estate agent, here are their comments:

Carys, who was looking for a flat to rent in North Wales, said of her property search: “There were huge contrasts from estate agent to estate agent with regards to their website and the amount of information displayed about properties. I didn’t want to waste my time viewing flats that were nowhere near what I was looking for, and therefore I tended to only look at the sites that provided adequate information and images.”

Speaking of his home buying experience, Paul, a first-time buyer from Cheshire stated: “I spoke with many different estate agents during my home search, and communication was a huge factor in choosing who to work with (and who not to work with) when purchasing my property.  This gave a clear indication of how they would be throughout the buying process, so I personally only wanted to work with an agent that I could get in touch with easily and quickly.”

How can Moneypenny help?

At Moneypenny, our dedicated Property team is trusted by 2,500 estate & letting agencies across the UK. We offer seamless multi-channel support to help your business recover and thrive.

To find out more about how Moneypenny can help your business capture more enquires and leads, visit our Property page or call us today on 0333 202 1005.

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