You just received an introductory email from a prospective new client, referred to you by a friend whom you just helped buy a first home. Actually, it could also be either an intro text message or an invite to Google Chat, because statistically speaking, your new client is probably a tech-savvy 20- or 30-something. And that’s good news for you, if you're in-sync with how today’s younger generations like to do business.
A 2013 National Association of Realtors report, "Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends," found that Gen X comprises the largest group of today’s buyers and sellers. The next largest group is the even-younger Gen Y, or “Millennials.” These young people have been playing with computers and Wi-Fi devices practically since they began walking. They’re also confident, decisive and expect information immediately, thanks to the on-demand nature of Google Search. So if you want to do business with this large group of entrants into the real estate market, expect you’ll be doing a lot of it with your mobile phone.
Become an APPese artist
Here are five useful mobile apps to help you connect and succeed with today’s key new real estate demographic — young people.
1. realtor.com – This app allows you to search for homes by school district (a key factor for young families), by MLS number or any number of other criteria. Realtor.com makes its app available for iPhones and Android phones, as well as for the iPad. There’s even a set of apps focusing on rental units.
2. eVoice – Raised on Google, your research-savvy young clients will be doing their own home searching online even after they’ve engaged your services. So expect them to call you with properties to investigate — often at odd hours. With a virtual phone service like eVoice, you keep your personal cell number private and reinforce your business image by giving out only a toll-free number that routes calls to your mobile.
3. Instagram – A Pew Internet Research survey finds that the group most likely to use the photo-taking and sharing service Instagram is the Millennial generation. Use that to your advantage. Take a great shot of a new home you’re listing, apply one of the great filters available to make the pic even more powerful and then upload it to Instagram and other social media sites at the same time, like Facebook and Twitter. You can also email a link to the pic to your clients.
4. eFax – As you know, real estate still requires a lot of paperwork, like the need to sign, note and fax hardcopy contracts and other documents. But you can overcome the dependency on the fax-machine hurdle easily (your Gen Y clients will thank you for this!) with online fax. Use the eFax mobile app to take a picture of a document — contract, rental agreement, etc. — with your phone’s camera, add a digitized signature with the swipe of a finger and then fax it right from your mobile.
Young people are entering the real estate market looking to partner with an agent who’s tech-savvy and always accessible. Will you be that agent?
Mike Pugh is vice president of marketing at j2 Global, Inc., a provider of cloud-based communications services including eFax, which offers online fax services, and eVoice, a phone system for small businesses. Pugh joined j2 Global in 2000 when the company acquired eFax, where he had held management positions in sales, marketing and product development since 1997. Pugh currently manages the company’s domestic marketing organization. Prior to this, he was the VP of product marketing, with responsibilities including product development.