Technology may change the ways we communicate with each other, but nothing works better than a face-to-face connection, said Erica Lockberg Sullivan, a Millennial and a real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services (BHHS) in Natick. While BHHS uses the Internet and social media to recruit Millennials, nothing is better than old-school networking.illennials – defined as those in the 18-to 35-year-old age bracket – made up 32 percent of the home buying population in 2015, according to the National Association of Realtors, and Boston was recently ranked as the busiest market for Millennial buyers in the country by Lending Tree. Savvy real estate businesses have run the numbers and are positioning themselves to capture their share of the $40 billion Massachusetts real estate market.
“I talk to other parents in places like the school pickup line or the coffee line in the morning,” Sullivan said. “Real estate has always been a fabulous path for a stay-at- home-mom to re-enter the workforce once her kids get a little older. And real estate is something people always want to talk about.”
Sullivan, who is also the local director of BHHS’s REthink Council, an initiative that brings young agents and affiliates together to generate fresh ideas and discuss insights, issues and trends that will help them to market to Millennials better, said her generation values a work/life balance and is attracted to the flexible schedule of real estate sales.
Of working with Millennial buyers, she said, managing expectations in a sellers’ market is hard – and getting harder.
“Everything in a Millennial’s life is so instant, but in this market buying a home is not instant,” Sullivan said. “People often don’t get the first, second or third house they bid on, which is frustrating. It’s not uncommon to see something come on the market Wednesday night and be gone by Monday. We have to prepare them for that.”
Similar to her recruitment efforts, she said the one-one aspect of “the agent relationship is more important to them.”
“They want to feel like you’re speaking just to them,” Sullivan said. “They’re being marketed to constantly, so we create custom marketing plans for every home. Our voice is more conversation and congenial. We’re geared toward helping and coaching. It can be a bit of an intimidating process.”
Young Loan Officers Fill A Void
Fairway Independent Mortgage in South Boston is piloting a Millennial recruitment and training program that is beginning to spread to offices around the country. They’re recruiting college seniors to begin their careers in mortgage origination, and the results have so far exceeded expectations.
“Our first three graduates have had a combined production of $60 million in their first year,” said Mei Genosa, who manages the program. “Now we’re really recruiting. We’re hoping to position ourselves [now], because the next big set of buyers is the Millennials.”
One of those graduates is 32-year-old Jarred Alexandrov. He closed $30 million in loans in 2015, his first full year in the business, and is on track to do it again this year. He left his own business doing social media marketing to work for Fairway a few years ago and said the program has been lifechanging for him.
“I didn’t grow up wanting to work in mortgages,” Alexandrov said. “Fairway hired me to do their social media and I realized I kind of wanted to come work here. Originally I was going to do marketing but they described this new program and they thought I would be a good fit. “
He sees his age as an advantage – the average LO is in their mid-50s, and his relative youth allows him to easily connect with his Millennial peers – customers and colleagues alike.
“As a younger LO, I’ve gotten to do loans for a lot of my friends who are in that same demographic,” he said. “I’m the default option for them. Then I get their friends. It’s an easy place to start.”
So happy is he with his new career, Alexandrov has helped recruit new Millennials for the Loan Partner program. One of those recruits is Connor Proctor, who graduated from Alexandrov’s alma mater, Trinity College, with a degree in psychology in 2014. Alexandrov recruited Proctor into the program and Proctor took to it right away.
“I had never even thought that mortgages would be something I’d be interested in at all, but he talked about the sales piece of it and said you have a lot of freedom and control and those aspects really attracted me,” Proctor said. “He said our sales manager expected to make over $500,000 this year. Those kinds of numbers catch your attention.”
The first six months or so, trainees focus on getting familiar with the process, forms, vocabulary, etc. and gradually learning every stage of the process by supporting other LOs, which in turn frees them up to sell more loans. Proctor sold his first loan shortly after receiving his license.
“It’s like getting your master’s degree in mortgages and you’re also getting paid at the same
BY JIM MORRISON
Xperity Lending Group/Arizona Lending Resource
Scottsdale Arizona 85260
NMLS # 1045837
Fairway Independent Mortgage Company
NMLS Entity ID 2289
Equal Housing Lender
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