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Are Housing ‘Pros’ Too Old for Millennial Buyers?

December 21, 2015 | By

A consistent theme in housing market discussions is Millennials. Real estate “pros” are asking what it takes to get this age group (18- to 34-year-olds) to buy homes. Part of the chatter focuses on those staffing industries relevant to housing.

Kevin Crichton, president of E Mortgage LLC, is talking about the need for Millennials in the mortgage industry. Pointing out the average age of a mortgage originator is 54, Crichton argues the mortgage industry needs to focus now on Millennial recruitment.

“By 2020, millennials will comprise roughly 40 percent of the employment force. Taking the time to recruit, attract, train, and nurture this unbelievably deep and talented resource (Millennials) should be at the top of the priority list of every mortgage business’s CEO,” Crichton writes.

Crichton lists seven areas of focus for companies trying to hire Millennials:

  • Stress work-life balance and the ability to work a flexible schedule.
  • Locate your office near public transportation, dining, and shopping.
  • Provide a paid training program.
  • Interact with local colleges and universities to recruit.
  • Frequently provide feedback on performance and expectations.
  • Be creative in how you compensate Millennial employees.
  • Hire a diverse workforce.

Appraising the Potential

Appraising is another aging housing-related industry. MarketWatch editor Amy Hoak quotes the Appraisal Institute as saying 62 percent of appraisers are 51 or older. Hoak adds that the number of appraisers in the U.S. is down 20 percent from 2007. And that number is expected to decrease by 3 percent each year over the next decade.

While Hoak doesn’t touch on hiring Millennials to be appraisers, she does address steps being considered to boost appraiser hiring.

“One of the options being discussed: Creating a set of competency-based exams that could shorten the time people spend as trainees. That way, someone with a background in real estate finance could become certified more quickly,” Hoak writes.

On the agent side, is age difference impacting homebuying? After all, the National Association of Realtors reports the median age of its members is 56, well above the age range of Millennials.

A Bloomberg Business article makes the case that real estate pros are fretting over how to make happy homebuyers out of younger clients. But some Millennial homebuyers say age is just a number when it comes to selecting an agent.

First-time homebuyer Jonathan Blair listed a real estate professional’s ability to understand his needs, not their age, as helping him choose an agent.

“I’m a bit of a unique candidate in what I’m looking for,” says Blair, who wants to buy a property he can renovate.

A real estate agent’s age was a low priority for Shavanna Miller and Aaron Smith of Washington, DC, when they chose an agent to help in their home search.

“Having someone who understands the trends in the different neighborhoods that are up and coming is important to us,” Miller says.

In fact, the engaged couple chose not to work with some younger real estate agents they interviewed because those agents didn’t seem to be as knowledgeable about local neighborhoods as the agents at DC Home Buzz.

“Having someone who understands the trends in the different neighborhoods that are up and coming is important to us,” Miller says.

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