It’s official: millennials have now surpassed baby boomers in terms of population numbers. With the older subset of this massive demographic now reaching early-to-mid 30’s, it’s therefore unsurprising that millennials currently make up the majority of the country’s homebuyers [Source: National Association of Realtors 2016 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report].
With millennials taking up the largest share of the mortgage market, it would be foolish for industry professionals not to cater to their favor. But what do millennials want from their loan officer? Read on for three of the top qualities millennial homebuyers are seeking.
1. Fast & Flexible Timing
Don’t fall for the myths and call them lazy; most millennials are on the go, all the time. For many hardworking millennials, a job isn’t just a 9-to-5 obligation, but rather a round-the-clock commitment. As communication has moved almost exclusively to smartphones, there’s no excuse not to be “on” at all times.
Since millennials feel expectations to reply to their work emails or friends’ text messages at all hours, you can expect they’ll want the same service from you. Of course, there’s no reason to be taking calls at 2a.m.! But text replies and a flexible meeting schedule – particularly one that stretches slightly outside typical business hours – will certainly win you points.
Additionally, with their busy schedules, anything you can do to make the entire mortgage loan process quicker and more efficient will be much appreciated. In fact, this leads directly into millennials’ next want: technology.
2. A Tech-heavy Experience
Millennials grew up with technology; it’s not just a first choice for them, but truly second nature. They love the way technology can be used to maximize efficiency, as well as keep them informed. The wealth of mortgage software available today appeals directly to this group of potential homebuyers. Millennial clients will love the option of using technology to complete as much of the mortgage process as possible online.
Millennials are also information sponges; they consume content online all day, every day. When it comes to the mortgage loan process, they’ll definitely want to be fully informed. According to a CFPB 2015 Report, 70% of first-time home buyers don’t know with strong certainty basic mortgage information like the types of mortgages offered. It’s your job to use technology and convenience to help you answer their questions and inform them. Your best bet is to put the information right where they’ll want it: online, and in a mobile-friendly format.
3. A Personal Relationship
It’s a fairly well known anecdote that millennials hate talking on the phone. However, when it comes to the serious decision of home buying, millennials are still going to want to develop a close, personal relationship with their loan officer – and that includes lots of contact. Rather than relying on phone calls, most millennials would prefer to handle the brief back-and-forth over text message or email, and then tackle major decisions with more personal, face-to-face meetings.
When it comes time for the tough conversations that can be part of the mortgage process, keep in mind that millennials probably won’t respond well to formality or a hard sell. Instead, they prefer a more casual, friendly relationship, one that is built on trust and the sharing of information.
This new group of homebuyers are unlike any we have seen in the past. To make sure you start winning in this new mortgage market, it’s important that you think critically and innovate your approach and tools used to help drive a successful loan process. However, although they may have different ideal forms of engagement and speed, their desire to have an expert by their side for honest and helpful guidance during this life event remains unchanged. Don’t reinvent yourself, but empower yourself to allow your expertise to reach an even broader audience.