By Ryan Velez
Fitting for the most digital-savvy generation to date, millennials tend to use new technology for as many facets of their life as possible, especially when it comes to what they buy. From in-app purchases to clothing to just about anything you can think of, millennials favor going online or on their smartphones to shop, and it is changing the world of commerce. Interestingly enough, when it comes to buying a house, the largest purchase many consumers will ever make, Black Enterprise reports that millennials are eschewing their favorite shopping methods.
The data comes from a survey from New York-based financial wellness community CentSai. Their analysis of 2,050 Americans, ages 18 to 34, showed that millennials heavily prefer to use traditional lenders and real estate agents versus online versions when they want to buy a house. 71% of millennials said that would use a traditional mortgage lender for funding, and 75% said they would use a local real estate agent.
“The revelations are intriguing for many reasons,” says Doria Lavagnino, CentSai’s co-founder and president. She notes that millennials make a lot of purchases and interactions online, but they’re bucking the trend in contrast to many expectations. “We were surprised to learn that online providers are not yet as big a disruptor with millennials for home buying,” Lavagnino says, as online brokerages and online mortgage providers are expected to bring big changes to the housing market in the near future.
Why take the traditional route? For many, it seems like the personal touch is worth the added price of using a local real estate agent. In addition to being able to use referrals from people they trust, a huge factor in millennial purchasing habits, they can also get info on facts like school districts, crime rates, restaurants, and more that an online agent can’t provide. “There is a lot that goes into buying a home, so it makes sense that you would want an experienced person you can ask questions to face to face,” Lavagnino says. “That helps put your mind at ease.”
Of course, while millennials may not buy a house using online options, they are all too happy to use sites or mobile apps to guide their decisions. 91% of survey respondents said they would use these methods to research neighborhoods, home prices and identify houses they may want to buy.