Most people who work in real estate have heard how valuable the iPad can be. I’m quickly learning that an iPad isn’t just valuable, it’s essential. And now that sports events can be live streamed on the iPad, even the most sports-obsessed husband can go out and look at houses any day of the year.
After this weekend and a number of recent experiences I have some thoughts to share on the Millennial Generation as home buyers and the importance of an iPad in working with them.
First, the Millennials spend a lot of time online. In fact, they are always online. More than once I’ve had to spend time undoing quite a bit of what they’ve “learned” in their research. Almost all Millenials seem to use an iPhone or an iPad (or one of the many Android tablets), so I now ask them to bookmark articles to ask me about. While we’re out looking at homes I can use my iPad to quickly send them posts from my own blog or info I’ve bookmarked as interesting.
Second, it’s true that the Millennials really don’t want a lot of paper to haul around. They read and study, they just don’t read the paper buyer packets we used to prepare. They will definitely engage with anything on a screen and they expect everything to appear in a mobile-enabled app.
I set up a Dropbox folder for each client and put buyer education docs in there right away. The clients send listings they want to see into the Dropbox folder. There are lots of ways to set this up, it depends on what search site the buyer is using.
When I make the showing appointments I save a list using the webclipper function in Evernote and put it into Dropbox. While we’re out showing they’re looking at their iPad and I’m looking at mine. We’re not dependent anymore on whether the agent has made a decent brochure. Having the iPad with a 3G data plan means we have all the listing information and that I can answer any question right then: tax records, sold comparables, anything. Doing a mini-CMA on the fly lets us immediately determine if the house is priced well enough to make the short list.
If you’re a buyer who wants to work efficiently during your home search, I strongly recommend working with an agent who is fully committed to using mobile technology. If you’re an agent and not using an iPad to work with buyers, you really should consider getting one. It’s tuly a game changer.
But that’s the good side of the “online all the time” experience.
I showed houses this weekend to a lovely young couple buying their first home. We’re working our way through the different communities and looking for just the right home at a great price. Yesterday, after watching Mr. Buyer stray away a few times while staring intently at the iPad, I realized he wasn’t memorizing the room sizes. Mrs. Buyer sighed and said “it’s Tiger”. I nodded and kept chatting, but then it dawned on me: Tiger referred to a golf thing. Some sort of important match, or tournament, or whatever they call a golf competition. Apparently he was live-streaming the event so as not to miss a single swing by his favorite player.
So now I have a new barometer for this client’s level of interest in a house. If he looks up from the iPad for more than a minute, I know he is at least sort of interested. If he sits on the stairs and ignores us, then I know he doesn’t like the house. While the feedback may confuse the listing agent, it’s our new scoring system: “sorry, it didn’t compete with the 14th fairway”.