Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, most of us have witnessed the kind of influence the Millennial generation (born between 1982 and 2000) has had on our country. From technology to clothing sales, work environments and even green initiatives, this generation has definitely made its voice heard. This voice will likely only get louder as Millennials mature, settling into careers, relationships and even parenthood.
These milestones will encourage many to want to buy homes. And we are happy to be there for them when they do. There are a few things to consider, however, when interacting with this population as a whole. While every potential borrower is different, there are a few defining characteristics that generally mold what this generation has come to stand for.
1. They’re Well-Informed
Millennials tend to be educated, not just in the academic sense, but in a more worldly sense as well. They read up on world issues. They follow current trends. They show concern for topics that catch their attention. Most of all, they ask lots of questions.
That’s why it’s important to do your research ahead of time. Everything from interest rates to real estate cycles and even neighborhood comparisons is fair game for this group. Many will also want to ask if there are any alternative loan or funding solutions based on rate and/or term. Do yourself a favor and do your homework.
2. They Lived Through the Recession
Speaking of questions, some Millennials are likely to have concerns about the Great Recession and subprime mortgage crisis that occurred as they were entering young adulthood. Many experienced the difficulties of this era by watching their parents struggle to pay their mortgage or secure gainful employment.
While there is no need to minimize the impact the recession had on their parents’ generation (and the country as a whole), you can easily quash their fears by pointing to all the regulations now in place to prevent a similar incident from occurring. This is also a good time to remind them that 2008 ushered in lower interest rates, while creeping up now, are still comparatively very low.
3. They are Tech-Driven
Smartphones are essentially an extension of a Millennial’s hand nowadays. Though you may be used to face-to-face meetings or phone calls, Millennials may want to communicate over email or text. They may also want to Skype or use some other form of video conferencing. While we’re not advocating that you adopt a new technology you’re not comfortable with, try to accommodate their preferred means of communication whenever you can.
The mortgage industry as a whole is also adapting to new technology, including e-signatures, digital origination platforms and online applications, making this a perfect time to become tech-savvy yourself.
No two clients will ever be the same. When we observe and internalize certain patterns displayed by one generation, however, we can get a better sense of how others within that pool are likely to react. In a competitive environment like mortgage banking, it is wise to take the edge whenever you can get it.