An interview with Creig Northrop, The Creig Northrop Team, Long & Foster Real Estate, Clarksville, MD
A young 20-something couple came to one of Creig Northrop’s open houses. “They were looking for a home but were hesitant to leave contact information, so I gave them my business card,” says Northrop, a team leader with Long & Foster Real Estate in Clarksville, Maryland. “They called a few days later and gave me a list from the Internet of 30 homes they wanted to see. We knocked it down to 10 and they didn’t like any of the 10 we went to see,” he says. However, during the showings, Northrop learned that the woman’s father was a handy man. One of the houses was a really great deal, in a good school district but needed work. “I suggested they get the father to view the property. Sure enough, he saw the potential and convinced the couple to buy it.” And, that he says is a typical Gen Y transaction. “It’s difficult for the younger generation to see the potential, they’re so used to staged homes,” he says. “They also like to get input from friends and families.”
That’s not the only thing different about working with Generation Y, who are in their late teens and early 20s now and are the largest generation since the Baby Boomers. These buyers want lots of handholding, are tech savvy and know what they want before they even contact you. Here are Northrop’s tips for working with Gen Y buyers:
1. It’s all about your website. “You must have a world-class website that allows prospective buyers to search by lifestyle, neighborhood, school district and more,” says Northrop. In addition, he says to have an iPhone app with your listings, include lots of property videos and pictures and link it all to your social media outlets. “We do fusion pictures that have a 3D quality to them. Everything is driven by the Internet so you must have good pictures.” In addition, he says, having a blog and YouTube site is vital.
2. Communicate via text. “We have a text sign rider. Users can text to get more information about the home texted back to them,” he says. “It sends everything–pictures, information.” This generation, says Northrop, doesn’t like the hard sell. “They don’t want a bunch of phone calls or even emails. They don’t check voicemail.”
3. Stage the homes. If you can, says Northrop, stage homes so Gen Y buyers can see themselves moving in without doing any work. “This generation wants to see more homes than older folks and often asks for advice from friends and family,” he says.
4. Ask for referrals. “The best part about younger buyers is that they’re willing to help if you ask. Remind them to tell their family and friends that you can help them buy or sell a home. They’ll do it,” he says.
In general, says Northrop, Gen Y is used to instant information. They want to know everything about a property without having to call someone to give them details. That’s why your website is so important. “In this business, it’s all about energy and optimism. Knowledge is confidence and confidence is trust,” he says.