How to sell to millennials

Rightly or wrongly, millennials have developed an unfavourable reputation when it comes to purchasing expectations – they want what they want, when they want it, opting to settle for nothing rather than making a compromise.

And that same perception applies to their attitudes when it comes to purchasing real estate – who could forget developer Tim Gurner’s infamous ‘avocado-on-toast’ comments.

Overall, a millennial’s budget will be lower than that of a baby boomer, but if it’s in fact true that the former wants champagne on a beer budget, selling them property is going to be a tall order.

But is the millennial reputation of unrealistic expectations and opposition to compromise accurate?

Amber Werchon’s award-winning sales agent Mark McGill says no.

“I actually think that’s a generalisation that can apply to all buyer demographics,” says McGill.

“Every buyer we meet typically buys above the budget they originally tell us.  It’s been happening in real estate forever.

“There are certainly some buyers that want ensuites for every bedroom, stone benchtops and gas cooktops as a minimum standard.

“I don’t know how I survived in a family of five, sharing a three-bedroom, one-bathroom house with one car. The minimum standard of living is definitely much higher now.”

McGill says while there is no typical millennial buyer, they do come in a few distinct categories, so it’s important to identify which one your buyer sits in when determining your sales strategy.

“There are the grinders that will do what they can to get into the market, then there are those who will wait and wait until it’s exactly what they want without compromise.

“The grinders look at it more pragmatically.  Typically budget is the driving factor and they will buy what presents the most value for their dollar.

“Sometimes it might be a newer home in an outer area that gives them more space for their dollar, others will buy something cheap in a good area to make do until the time is right to upgrade or renovate.”

McGill says there are some key differences between younger and older buyers though, meaning sales agents have to tailor their approach accordingly.

“The new generation of buyer is impatient and time poor,” says McGill.

“They want all the information on the property, and research it before even making the first inspection.”

The information age means buyers are able to access plenty of data on properties, suburbs and accessible facilities, so it’s important to know your product well, and be prepared for an influx of questions.

“Have an answer to all their questions and their parents questions immediately.

“The older generation is a lot more conservative when it comes to decision making.

“Millennials tend to be a lot more decisive and will be more likely to jump in.

“I’m finding many buyers arrive at my property pre-sold. If the house matches the information we have provided and they like the feel, they will buy on the spot.”

When it comes to younger buyers, it’s also important to keep parents in mind. Millennials are family-orientated and their opinions matter.

“I have seen plenty of people talked out of a great opportunity by their parents.

“For example, many parents will talk their kids out of off-the-plan developments based on their own prejudices and horror stories, however getting the first home owners grant, getting something new with a warranty can be the right thing for certain buyers.”

At the end of the day though, sales agents need to do away with many of their pre-conceived notions about millennials and as always, approach sales according to individual needs.

“It all comes down to the needs of that person and their budget,” says McGill.

“Do they really need two cars and a space for a jet ski?  Then a unit isn’t going to suit them and they can’t afford inner city.

“What is a necessity and what is a luxury?  Does being closer to work make the difference or can you work from home?

“Sometimes public transport can be faster than living in a closer area.

“There are lots of factors to consider and I think we need to make recommendations on what each buyer needs.

“This is where an agents experience and expertise can assist as these factors are difficult to find on a real estate portal by ticking boxes.”