What Do Millennial Buyers Look For in an Agent?

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Millennials, right?

Everyone seems to have advice about them–how to appeal to them, what they want, how to make them stop inventing new slang–but no one really seems to know much about what makes them tick.

Thanks to a comprehensive report from Zillow Group, agents now have a little more insight into that coveted 18-34 age group (at least in regards to real estate).

According to the report, all of the usual advice (embrace online reviews, mobile-optimized websites, open transaction data, and hyperlocal expertise) has serious merit. Tech plays a HUGE role in how buyers–especially millennials–choose their agent, if they opt to use an agent at all.

“Agents should be aware that millennial clients approach the homebuying process in a different way than older generations,” said Zillow Group spokeswoman Amanda Woolley.

“Millennials want an immersive experience and bring all available tools to the process, including their smartphones, social media and online networks, so you should expect to leverage those same tools and processes.

But, as tricky as it is to rope in millennial clients, their fierce loyalty could pay off in spades.

“More than half (55 percent) of millennials have recommended their agent to others, and more than one quarter (26 percent) have left an online review of their agent,” the report said.

“In addition, 40 percent stay in touch with their agent, turning to a real estate professional for home improvement advice almost twice as often as Generation X and more often than other older owners.”

It’s important to keep in mind that, even though the majority of millennials (70 percent) wind up using an agent, they aren’t relying solely on that agent for information.

“The process of finding or selling a home is much more collaborative for millennials than for older generations,” the report said.

“While older generations rely on real estate agents for information and expertise, millennials expect real estate agents to become trusted advisers and strategic partners.”

According to the report, millennial buyers and sellers, on average, use at least three online resources in addition to consulting with their agent; one in four (28 percent) use five or more.

“They also turn to the internet to model financial scenarios, with more than two out of three millennial buyers who have a mortgage using interest rate and affordability tools and mortgage calculators,” said the report.

“Eighty-seven percent of buyers use online resources and 75 percent select a real estate agent or broker to work with, suggesting that most buyers combine self-directed research using websites and apps with the market expertise and human touch offered by a real estate professional.

“In fact, buyers who utilize online resources during their home search are significantly more likely to also use an agent (77 percent versus 59 percent who do not use online resources).”

The research doesn’t stop at property info–you can expect millennial clients to do a ton of independent research before selecting an agent, too.

Per the report, millennials contact more agents (at least two when buying, three when selling) than any other generation.

“The average number of agents buyers consider hiring is 2.2. Slightly more than half (53 percent) of buyers using an agent considered multiple agents, with 26 percent choosing from two,” the report said.

About the survey

More than 13,000 U.S. residents aged 18 to 75 responded to a 160-question online survey from independent market research firm Lieberman Research Worldwide between April 27 and May 12, 2016.

Respondents break down to 3,003 buyers, 3,003 sellers, 3,082 homeowners, 3,000 renters and 1,161 long-term renters.

The survey was “blinded,” meaning the respondents did not know Zillow Group was its sponsor. Both Zillow Group and Lieberman Research designed the survey, analyzed the results and created the report.

Click here to check out the full report!

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