Real estate professionals spend a lot of time thinking about Millennials, but in many cases they are not thinking about the right things. In a sales environment, customers are key. And at 80 million strong, Millennials represent a massive client pool of prospective homebuyers.
At ERA Real Estate, we are taking a long term view of the role Millennials play in real estate. Yes, they are an important customer segment, but they are an even greater talent base.
Let’s face it. Real estate is at a crossroads. The average age of a real estate agent is 56. Our industry is aging out – in the next 10 years, we could be facing a huge hiring hole.
That’s why ERA’s disciplined use of business planning with our brokers has focused not only on recruiting and retaining Millennials, but building a leadership bench and identifying a succession plan for the firm.
Many Millennials get a bad rap for wanting instant success, being impatient and being glued to their smart phones. I see it another way: they are driven, passionate and tech savvy. Sounds like someone you want on YOUR team, right?
In re-framing how we think about Millennials, it’s also important to not only re-position the industry to resonate more with our prospective sales associates, but to also re-think how we do business.
People who love this business thrive on helping people make the biggest purchase of their lives, a purchase that put them on the path of economic prosperity and connects them to a community that enriches their lives. That is a mission that Millennials can get behind.
But starting out in real estate is hard, from start-up costs to limited spheres of influence to dealing with ageism. The vast majority of real estate professionals today are on their second career or part of a family business. Historically, real estate is not a first career. According to NAR, just 6 percent of REALTORS® report that real estate is their first career.
But the same negative characteristics that have come to define Millennials – wanting instant success, being impatient and being glued to their smart phones – are the same characteristics of successful entrepreneurs. And it is well known that real estate is an industry in which you reap what you sow. Our research indicates that there are many aspects of the business that appeal to Millennials including:
- Helping to build communities
- Developing extensive professional networks
- The opportunity to do different things every day
- Working independently, but with the support of a broker and a brand as back up
On the flip side, there is also research that indicates Millennials crave job security. A significant number of Millennials are un-employed or under-employed, nearly a quarter of them live with their parents and many are saddled with enormous student debt. This dynamic means there is a great opportunity to create entry-level roles for Millennials and a path to grow in their real estate career.
And ultimately, creating job opportunities for Millennials creates clients as well. A rising share of young adults age 30 and under are putting off marriages, births, home purchases, car purchases, and relocation, likely due to their meager earning history coming of age during the Great Recession.
Starting Millennials in a stable career with entrepreneurial earning potential creates confident clients ready to get off the fence and buy their first home. Long-term thinking can have short-term pay off!
From rethinking how we position real estate as a career to tapping into the motivations of our future sales professionals, it is imperative that we capture and keep the attention of Millennials.
For more information, visit www.era.com.