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consumer webRISMEDIA, November 13, 2009—The next generation of real estate customers, at 74 million strong, is poised to enter their prime home-buying years. Generation Y, people born between 1980 and 1995, rivals the size and potentially the influence of their parents’ generation: the Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1965. Gen Yers are about to create a new wave of consumer clout, not to mention a chain reaction in real estate that could reshape how you do business and how much business you do. As they enter the housing market, Millennials will enable Gen Xers (born between 1965 and 1979) and Boomers to make their next real estate moves. You’ll want to be aware and accommodating of some of the most defining Gen Y characteristics so that you’re carried by the wave, and not just washed away.

Communication Needs

A group that largely can’t remember a time without cell phones, computers and the Internet expects instant access to information and consultation. Millennials initiate and conduct a range of official and personal business via e-mail, text messaging and social networking. They’re unlikely to prefer phone calls. Consider updating your business card and promotional materials to reflect all the ways customers can reach and get to know you, including your blog, Twitter account and Facebook profile.

Financial Situation

Although recent Gen Y college graduates tend to have more debt than their parents did at the same age, they’re not discouraged by the current challenges in the economy and aren’t too proud to wait it out under Mom and Dad’s roof. But they do show signs of interest in homeownership and real estate investment a few years earlier than Gen Xers. Some may even want your help understanding the various first-time home buyer incentives and programs, as well as alternatives to traditional single-family home purchases, such as distressed properties and condos.

Lifestyle Goals

Millennials have grown up busy balancing school, sports, hobbies and more, and they’re keeping the same pace through college and into the workforce. They want to do it all and have a talent for maintaining a balance. But they need proximity on their side. They’re drawn to communities that are close to work, home, the gym and their favorite hangouts and activities. Keep track of real estate in urban centers and planned communities so that you can guide this group to the most affordable and convenient options for their circumstances.

Reach out to the confident, social and technologically savvy Millennials on their terms, and your referral network—along with your annual sales volume—could grow exponentially over the next decade or more.

Margaret Kelly, CRB, is chief executive officer of RE/MAX International, Inc.

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