Livingston Parish is an attractive market for younger and first time homebuyers because of lower average home prices and the availability of rural development loans that let qualified buyers purchase with no money down. As a result, I work with a lot of clients who fit into those categories. I am a late Gen Xer, right on the Millennial borderline, and if you are still trying to figure out Millennial consumers, I’m here to inform you Millennials are balding and have kids going into middle school. The next wave of home buyers is already here and they are informed and ready to purchase. It’s not surprising they do things a little differently so homeowners who are trying to sell and real estate agents need to be informed on how they can appeal to this growing group. Don’t shoot the Generation Z messenger. Like many things in business, you may not like it, but if you want to be successful, you have to deal with reality.

They don’t check their email - Email is slowly going the way of the landline phone. It is still an essential part of the professional and business world, but it’s become such a spam cesspool, younger demographics don’t have notifications set up and only use it when required. Don’t send them something via email and assume they will see it. You have to text them, “hey check your email.” Which brings us to the next item.

They don’t want to talk to you on the phone - Let’s be honest. No one born after 1970 wants to talk to you on the phone, and even some people born prior to that are jumping on the texting bandwagon. Learn to text. Also, become familiar with messaging apps, especially Facebook Messenger. If you really want to get ambitious, learn to use direct messaging in Instagram. Consumers are twice as likely to engage with brands and businesses on Instagram, so learning to use that social media platform is essential if you are marketing a house or your services.

Everything must be Instagrammable - Speaking of Instagram, no current platform is as influential as this one on consumers. Built on carefully curated images of filtered perfection, Instagram has raised the aesthetics bar and encouraged users to treat even the most mundane life events as an experience. What this means for home sellers and listing agents alike is photos and staging matter more than ever. Many of these buyers aren’t going to overlook your ugly listing photos and tour your house to see the “potential.” They are sharing their home buying experience on their Instagram story and your house with it’s bad lighting and outdated decor just doesn’t make the cut. Honorable Mention to Pinterest as a social media powerhouse when it comes to influencing consumer and home buyer behavior. The more Pinterest the look of your house, the more potential buyers will like it.

They don’t want to haggle with you - Going back and forth on price and closing costs are a time honored tradition in real estate, but Generation Z just doesn’t have the time or patience. (See the rise of iBuyers.) Convenience is everything to this group as well as stressed Millennials and Gen Xers and they have no problem moving on to the next thing if you waste their time. This is especially important in the Livingston Parish market because there is usually a good supply of very similar houses in the price range younger home buyers tend to gravitate toward. If you try to play hardball or drag out the negotiation process, they will very likely just move on to the house around the corner that is just like yours if the seller is willing to move faster. Real estate pro tip - Save time in negotiations. They are always going to ask for closing costs. Plan and price accordingly.

They are buying sooner - While Gen Xers and Millennials will have student loan servicers still trying to contact them about their student loan balances with Ouija boards long after they have passed on, younger Millennials and Gen Zers were the first to catch on to the student loan scam and many chose not to saddle themselves with mountains of debt before they were old enough to drink. They are making the move into the housing market earlier than the previous generation.

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