Many seasoned professionals discount millennials as a entitled, lazy, tech-driven generation. But whether the roots of this new generation’s work style and priorities stem from the parenting they've had or their technological adaptability is irrelevant.
What is relevant is their impact on one particular area, real estate. Crowdfunding mortgages, increased listings automation and changes to office culture are only a few business aspects they’ve already impacted.
So, perhaps we can learn from the way they work, because this generation’s style of working has something to offer the rest of us in more ways than one.
Having worked with millennials, who are now the largest percentage of the workforce, over the past few years, I’ve noticed six ways they’re making waves in the ever-changing industry of real estate.
1. Questioning the way things are done
Question everything, and be open to change. Many of us see this as a tireless theme among young professionals, but let it teach you to question your own ways. The world of real estate is constantly evolving, from the inroads the digital sphere is making, to new forms of financing. Throw “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” out the door. There’s always room for improvement, and the first step is questioning processes that are already in place.
For instance, instead of going out of my way to find new clients, I've been encouraged by millennials to adopt onlilne lead generation as a key tool for gaining new clients. Why spend your time looking for new potential leaders when they can come straight to you?
2. Getting experimental
After you’ve questioned enough, it’s time to take action and get experimental with your problem-solving. Even in real estate, startups have taken over. Millennials are usually the ones most interested in taking risks in order to bring in the latest thing. But risks sometimes work, because the greatest payoffs potentially come from venturing outside of the known. And the only way to see if these new ways will work is to experiment. Existing companies in the real estate industry need to take hold of this mentality to evolve and stay relevant.
3. Embracing technology
Technology has completely changed the landscape of real estate. Online listings were only the beginning. Digitally enhanced processes are making real estate transactions much faster, a quality that millennials truly value.
On the consumer-facing side, mobile apps, online applications, housing-price history and other information are helping buyers to make more informed decisions. As a real estate professional, I find that automated software and CRM systems have also revolutionized market pricing and lead generation.
4. Embracing a flexible schedule
What’s work without a little play? Millennials have made flexible work schedules an integral part of young startup companies. Real estate is more than your typical 9-to-5; it requires 24/7 availability and a strong relationship with your clients. Your schedule must mirror your clients' to truly develop trust and meaningful relationships.
5. Using non-conventional forms of financing
Crowdfunding started as a way for young entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into a reality without heading to a big bank for a loan. Now, the same can be said for real estate. Alternative lending includes crowdsourcing funds for investment properties from small investors; mortgages remain the most solid option to enable the quick turnaround needed in hot real estate markets.
6. Being loyal
Being loyal to a company, an idea or a way of working encourages all of the above. Millennials believe in not compromising integrity, in developing a strong connection with colleagues and in working for a company whose vision they’re aligned with. The result is that "loyalty" has risen to the top of their priorities list when they look for a company they can grow with. And that loyalty correlates with their passion for what they do.
Working on ideas you’re passionate about can make all the difference -- and millennials have plenty of passion.
What do all of these things have in common? Taking a little risk on something -- or someone -- new can keep your business booming. It’s time for the rest of the real estate industry to catch up. Take a look at how your younger employees and colleagues work. Maybe they can teach you a thing or two.