By Brooke Wolford
Over the last several years, real estate educators have really pushed that we, as an industry, need to do something special to deal with my generation. Most of these speakers are not part of Gen Y themselves, but they seem to think they know everything about us. And despite these teachings, I have rarely met someone who fits the stereotypical Millennial profile that they are describing.
Now, I could be completely wrong here, but I personally only know one person who lives in their parents’ basement. When I was in my early 20s, I was buying a home, getting married, and having babies – and guess what…I paid off all of my student loans within a year of graduating. What’s even funnier is every single person I knew was doing the same thing. Even the younger Millennials I know still want the things I want. They want to purchase a home. They still want a family and all of the domestics that come along with it. But what I have found is that many of them just don’t know how to do it.
A perfect example is my little sister, who just graduated from college a little more than a year ago, and is writing her first offer on a house today. Not what you typically hear from real estate speakers, is it?
What’s true about Millennials is that they want to be heard. The problem is that nobody is listening. Here are some facts about my generation:
- The majority of our parents were divorced. So we are cautious about who we marry because we want to create a good home for our children.
- We are not lazy. We are exhausted. We have twice as many people to compete with for jobs, school, etc. We have to work at a pace that people like my grandmother think is insane. Our supposed entitlement stems from the fact that we really deserve something for all the things we do.
- We crave work-life balance because we have watched our parents work themselves to death, thus ending up divorce and all us poor kids grew up in a broken home.
- Yes, we have ADD, but we have twice as many people throwing some new thing at us. We can’t be on a social media site without someone spamming us. And because some expert marketing genius is telling everyone where to find us, it never ends.
If we haven’t purchased a home, it’s because everyone is “educating” us about how in debt we are and how unattainable home ownership is for us.
I could be completely wrong here. Maybe I am a member of some elite social circle that is different from the rest. Maybe it’s a Minnesota thing. But I look around to my fellow Millennials and I am amazed and, frankly, inspired. I’m still trying to find the entitled, lazy, and excessively in debt narcissist living in their parents’ basement playing video games. It’s just not happening.
Brooke Wolford is a real estate practitioner with Coldwell Banker Burnet in Woodbury, Minn. Follow her blog at www.thehousingword.com.