What was the lesson our real estate clients (and their peers) learned in 2016? Relationships matter—and those relationships are changing. As Baby Boomers continue to retire and Generation X settles into midlife, the next big boom in real estate rests with America’s largest generation: millennials. However, the means of communicating with millennials, and other real estate buyers and sellers, have also changed.
Whether its millennial buyers—who, according to the National Association of Realtors, are now moving into their prime home buying years—or their big brothers and sisters in Gen X who have been taking advantage of historically low mortgage rates, the lessons are the same. Engaging with consumers has evolved and Realtors are working to match that pace to maintain and grow these relationships.
To ensure these relationships flourish, Realtors are taking advantage of social media, asking for and responding to online reviews, highlighting their civic and charitable efforts and pursuing a variety of third-party validators to help influence the decisions of today’s buyers and sellers. A clear majority of millennials say they don’t trust advertising, but user-generated content (reviews) and third-party endorsements (news coverage, testimonials, etc.) weigh heavily in their decision- making about hiring a Realtor. Owned media – company websites, blogs, digital newsrooms, whitepapers, etc. – present tremendous opportunities for improved engagement with home buyers and sellers.
These are the lessons of 2016 and beyond. So while NAR predicts a continued lack of inventory and increasing demand for real estate, real estate professionals need to increasingly rely on building relationships. Our public relations efforts for real estate brokerages across the country and here in Pennsylvania, like those noted above, are bearing that out. So make your New Year’s Resolution to build relationships by communicating more effectively.