Millennials — those born between 1980 and 1996 — are now in charge. And, like generations before them, as the responsibilities of work and family increase, they’ve begun to plan for their future. One tried and true way to built wealth and secure that future is by purchasing a home.

Building trust with millennials

Building understanding and trust are key to growing millennial business. Because sales cycles are likely to take longer while cultivating relationships, real estate agents need to take a different approach. Here’s what’s required:

  • Engage and stay connected. Millennials manage their lives through their mobile devices. Social media connects them with friends, family, and colleagues. They prefer to text rather than talk, but they are quick to respond when you choose the appropriate channel.
  • Build relationships, not leads. Gaining trust means building relationships. Take the time to get to know them and give them time to get to know you. Millennials value authenticity.
  • Be proficient in social media. Build credibility and establish a working relationship by speaking their language and using the platforms they use. A working knowledge of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram goes a long way in opening lines of communication. Don’t hesitate to ask their preference.
  • Educate. From possible tax advantages, to equity-building, millennials are eager to understand how things work. Take the time to tell the story. Offer that education by directing them to short helpful articles on subjects such as managing credit, renting versus buying, and the longterm benefits of building equity.
  • Don’t sell a house, share an experience. Millennials are social. They enjoy being part of a community. Pride of ownership in a particular community may be a key to their home search.
  • Online and in-app reviews matter. Millennials do their research. Whether they’re buying a book, choosing a restaurant, a real estate agent, or looking for a loan, they’ll check Yelp and look to other online sources for feedback on products, personal performance, and service.
  • Be socially responsible. When you work in an industry where referrals are key it’s important to know that millennials reward companies with loyalty when a brand gives back. Share you and your company’s involvement in local and national charitable organizations, environmental groups, and other efforts.
  • Custom, not customer service. Be real, be patient, be informative, stay connected, and share.

Walk millennials through the home buying process

Unlike previous generations who tend to like things “bottom lined,” millennials are interested in process. Take the time to walk them through the home buying and mortgage loan processes. Share the value of pre-approval, and the importance of understanding what they can afford.

Make sure they understand the options available to them concerning a down payment — what the advantages are of making a larger payment, as well as what the minimum requirements are. Bring your loan officer into the conversation to explain the underwriting, approval process, and closing. With millennials, knowledge really does go a long way.

Teach the benefits of homeownership

Millennials need to be educated on the benefits of homeownership. Remember, these are smart young people who are creative and resourceful. They tend to “think outside the box.” This means that you’ll need to do the same if you want to build trust.

Transparency is key

The millennial’s reality has been informed by a post 9/11 world and coming of age during the great recession. Because of this, one of their most critical requirements is transparency. By being flexible and open, you’re much more likely to gain trust sooner. Ultimately you’ll find that millennials will value your experience when you focus less on selling and more on assisting them to successfully navigate the home buying process.

There are many myths about millennials, but their hopes and desires are not so different than the generations that came before them. Take time to build trust and you’ll definitely learn some new things along the way.