How Millennial Realtors Can Get And Keep Boomer Clients

Real Estate Agent with RLAH Real Estate AB95346

There is advice all over the sites for Realtors about how to work with millennials.  But nobody seems to be doing anything to help the "30 Under 30" crowd figure out how to expand their business to appeal to their elders.  And it's pretty safe to say that there are a few generational differences.

Here are a few of the tips that have helped some of the younger agents in our company increase  their appeal to buyers of a certain age:

  • The telephone is your friend, and it's not just for texting!  When I'm working with younger buyers, I rely heavily on texting.  But when you're working with older buyers, you need to expand your repertoire.  Some of your older clients still use flip phones and don't know how to text.  Some can text faster than you can, but they want to talk to you - to hear the nuances in your voice.  So call them with most communications unless they tell you to email or text.  Its the client who sets the rules of contact.
  • They don't all search for homes on the Internet.  While most "seniors" I know do have and know how to use computers, many are not completely comfortable navigating the online home search sites.  They don't mind clicking a link in an email that leads to a full listing on a particular property, but dealing with some of the automatic searches we send can be confusing.  
  • When you email anything important to them, call to let them know what's coming.  Email has gotten crowded with spam, and you can't assume your clients open it up to read every day.  Also, a lot of the email sent from an MLS system can easily wind up in the spam folder.
  • Older buyers and sellers may be put off by the team approach to service.  If they feel they are being passed around to various team members, they might look for an agent with a business model that provides for more individual service, and they might demand more attention than many agents are apt to offer these days.
  • It's hard to fake it with these buyers if you are still at the "don't know what you don't know" stage in the business.  They may have been through more real estate transactions than you have, and while things may have changed since their last move, they can spot a fake or incompetent a mile away.  

Younger agents have a lot going for them.  What they lack in experience, they make up with energy, enthusiasm, and a readiness to try things that older colleagues might not be willing to do.  But there are a couple of other important ingredients that are even more important.  Humility helped me a lot when I was a newbie.  I also had a broker who helped me understand the crucial need to add competence to the mix, whether it was a firm grip on the various contracts or knowledge of the inventory.

This is a profession that you can't master overnight.  



Comments (61)

Mery Fernandez Empire Network Realty Luxury Brokerage
Empire Network Realty INC. - Orlando, FL
The Rise of An Empire, Let's Build Yours!

Hello and congratulations on your featured blog post! Well done and hope to see you have many more featured post. 

Sep 03, 2015 12:43 AM
Christy Zurkuhlen

Great post, Thanks for sharing.

Sep 03, 2015 01:18 AM
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

This just made me smile. I'm a boomer and even I forget that not everyone is email friendly. My mom has just started texting, out of necessity, but she wouldn't be texting an agent, that's for sure. 

Sep 03, 2015 01:32 AM
Mark Artesani
Keller Williams Realty - Fountain Valley, CA
Huntington & Newport Beach, Fountain Valley Homes

Patricia, Thanks for the post. i liked the don't try and fake it. It is OK not to know everything. Just get back to them with the answer.

Sep 03, 2015 01:37 AM
Dana Hollish Hill
Hollish Hill Group, JPAR Stellar Living - Bethesda, MD
REALTOR * Broker * Coach

Love it. So many truths in such a great post. You really nailed it. 

Sep 03, 2015 01:54 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Patricia Kennedy 

I think you've nailed it here with these suggestions. We all have to be careful about not making assumptions about all members of a particular generation, ours as well as those younger and older. Adapting to others' communication preferences can make such a huge difference, even if you are necessarily comfortable with it. And if you don't like it or can't adapt, stick to working with those that you enjoy and fell's really just another niche


Sep 03, 2015 02:08 AM
Morris Real Estate Marketing Group
Morris Real Estate Marketing Group - Toronto, ON
Marketing for realtors made easy!

 Millenials are people, and we like a personalized approach that makes us feel valued. 

Sep 03, 2015 06:35 AM
Liane Thomas, Top Listing Agent
Professional Realty Services® - Corona, CA
Bringing you Home!

I agree with the first tip. PICK UP THE PHONE AND CALL! So many older clients don't text. Worse, their kids text all the time and you now are reminding them of their kids...kiss of death!

Sep 03, 2015 07:36 AM
Chris Mamone
Keller Mortgage - Tacoma, WA
Senior Loan Officer

Praise the lord! I can't believe you recommend actually calling someone! I work with older clients than I (I'm 28 my average is 40-60). Its amazing to just call and meet them in person and how easy that makes the process and they become a referral source for you.

Sep 03, 2015 08:13 AM
Gwen Banta
Sotheby's International Realty - Los Angeles, CA

EXCELLENT advice, Patricia! I would also add another point: It has been my experience that my younger clients prefer to meet me at properties, while many of my Millennial clients like to be driven to the properties. They either do not like GPS, or they just want that extra personal touch. Again, individual service, along with the "competence" you mentioned, is the key to success in this business. Thank you for a great post.

Sep 03, 2015 08:20 AM
Wayne Johnson
Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS® - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale

Patricia-Since this is a people business trying to gauge the psychology or key drivers for clients would seem to be something we are always trying to adjust too. Some are better at it than others.

Sep 03, 2015 11:43 AM
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

I am so surprised at the boomers that do not check their email regularly. It simply amazes me. So your suggestion about calling them to remind them to check is so true. We agents have to be so adaptable to all kinds of buyers.

Sep 03, 2015 12:36 PM
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Pat -  This is good advice for millenials when dealing with baby boomers.  Many will text, but not all, and I find the phone is a preferred method.

Sep 03, 2015 03:51 PM
Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert
Zion Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Broker/Owner of Zion Realty

There are still very few in the older generation that like to text or even email for that matter. They like good old fashioned phone calls and personal visits. 

Sep 05, 2015 01:13 AM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Nicole, as one who could be put in the older generation, I do text, but I hate it.  It's so slow!  And it's hard to get the nuances of what's actually being written.  I do like the phone.

Sep 05, 2015 04:58 AM
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor

A great list, Pat. Calling to let that email was sent is vital! And phone calls rather than texting, so many my age hate texting! I do it because I have to!!

Sep 05, 2015 10:35 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

I have had customers usually sellers, who are from the Greatest Generation.  I especially plan and take my time reviewing each page of every document. I don't move on until I feel they have a good understanding.  This is all done in person and the Greatest Generation loves to have a conversation.  I make sure I  always have enough time to chat with them.  BTW, I learn a lot from each person what ever the age that I sit down and chat with.  

Every person is different and I feel comfortable working with any individual.  If you can't communicate with people and adapt to their needs you may be in the wrong profession!

Sep 09, 2015 10:16 AM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Sheri, you totally have the right idea.  The Greatest are the best in so many ways!

Sep 09, 2015 12:37 PM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, KW Diversified - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Great post Pat, though I am not a millennial, I do deal with these issues often in dealing with many of my older non corporate clients.

Sep 09, 2015 04:38 PM
Marilyn O'Donoghue
Long & Foster Avalon - Avalon, NJ

Great post.  I deal with quite a few sellers in the 70-80 year old age range.  The deals are truly "throw backs" to hand delivery of contracts and constant phone calls.  It makes you a better agent, in my opinion, to go back to the basics.

Sep 13, 2015 05:50 AM