Turning Millennial Renters into First-Time Fort Lauderdale Home Buyers

53: Several months ago, we shot a video from a beautifully remodeled home in the highly desirable Fort Lauderdale neighborhood of South Middle River. The home itself not only reflected how homes there are a driving force in Broward County’s strong real estate market. It gave us a look at who many of today’s home buyers are: millennials. “Millennials and buyer trends seem to converge in unique neighborhoods,” we wrote.

Whether in Fort Lauderdale, Coral Ridge, Lake Ridge, Sailboat Bend and Wilton Manors, we’re seeing millennials affecting the market. But it’s often not where you might expect. At The Gary Lanham Group at Coldwell Banker Fort Lauderdale Beach Office, we know millennials first are renters, who later become home buyers.


Seeing the Millennial Trends: From Renter to Buyer

There’s a simple truth in the marketplace, one that’s as old as humankind. Everybody needs a place to live. Whether they’re looking to rent or buy, they need a home.

There’s also a sad truth: Many Realtors don’t like working with rentals. Whether finding homes for tenants, or working with landlords, they’d simply prefer not.

It’s a shame. It’s this kind of myopia that serves no one well. It certainly doesn’t serve the potential tenant or landlord in the near-term, who need to transact business for their respective needs.

It also doesn’t serve the Realtor. Simply put, tenants become buyers. No one knows this better than two of the Realtors at The Gary Lanham Group at Coldwell Banker Fort Lauderdale Beach Office who specialize in millennials and the rental sector. Jed Rubin and Hope Jackson are masterful in this area.

Jed is motivated. Trained in the New York real estate market, he knows the meaning of a “New York minute.” That’s how fast properties turn. He’s doing three rental deals a week by evaluating the customer and putting them in the right place to suit their specific needs.

Fort Lauderdale Millennial Rental Step One: Know Your Price Range

As Jed and Hope work with millennial clients, their first move is to evaluate their price range. In fact, whether working with tenants or landlords, setting the price range you want to work within is critical.

It’s the same for the Realtor. Jed, for example, handles rentals prices from $2500 and above per month. It not only provides him a good income, it allows Jed to provide excellent service to his clients.

That’s critical, because Jed knows those renters will one day become home buyers. And they will be prepared.

Like all our agents, Jed and Hope - and the entire Gary Lanham Group team - have something else on their side: information.

Every rental, every sale, every listing and every closing gives our team rich stores of data that we will use to again reach these once-and-future clients.

From Renter to Homebuyer

The most simple way: Nine months after a client becomes a tenant, we reach out to those new home-buying prospects to scout their needs. As they start thinking about their next move, we’re there with them. We already know their details: their likes, preferences, and expectations. Most importantly, it’s all built on a relationship that began at least nine months before.

Jed knows what they like, the area they want to live in, the financial means they might have shared with Jed previously, and their financial goals.

For millennials, it’s about the goals, and the issues they face. It’s a tough time to be a millennial. Saddled with student debt, generally little saved, which means fewer resources for any down payment, and for many of them, no investments put away for retirement, they need partners who know their tales. That’s the beauty of agents like Jed and Hope. They understand millennial and other tenant issues because they’ve worked with tenants and spent time learning their issues.

New Yorkers Seeking a ‘Life Less Taxing’

Several years ago, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, the official business development organization of Broward County, coined a phrase. As they saw the disparity between city and state taxes in places like New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, they realized executives and residents in those places were moving to Florida to escape high costs of living.

They slogan they created: “Life less taxing.”

That speaks to many elements of life in South Florida. Lower taxes are just the beginning. Costs of living are lower, and quality of life - as measured in sunshine and life well lived - is higher.

Life less taxing also refers to housing costs. People today are telecommuting from homes in Fort Lauderdale to work in New York.  As Florida residents, they avoid the onerous and burdensome taxes they faced in the Northeast.

They also can find apartments that cost a fraction of what they cost up north. Jed cited an example recently. The typical studio apartment in Manhattan can run $2,950 a month. That same $2,950 in South Florida allows them to get a two-bedroom luxury apartment downtown that's walkable to coffee shops, cafes, restaurants, entertainment, and the night life that people want to engage in.

It also allows them to save money for an eventual down payment on a home, while maintaining a budget that will allow them to live, work, and play. Meanwhile, they can pay down their student debt, and set some money aside for that security blanket or future retirement.

Working with millennials making solid incomes is Jed’s and Hope’s specialty. Like I said before, it’s a shame that other Realtors don’t see the promise of renters.

Helping Millennial Home Buyers See the American Dream

We see more than promise, business opportunities, or future clients. We’re mostly Baby Boomers at the Gary Lanham Group. Many of these millennials are the children of friends, peers, even our relatives.

Robert Kiyosaki, the author of the “Rich Dad Poor Dad” concept, offers financial education to help readers learn about cash flow, investing, and entrepreneurship. Much of it is centered on real estate. As a child, I was not privy to Mr. Kiyosaki’s way of thinking. But with each millennial friend we meet, we try to guide them toward healthy ways of life, work, and real estate planning.

Mr. Kiyosaki believes real estate is the path toward a successful, stable future. With real estate, one can build equity, wealth, and security. Stop renting and buy what you can. Build equity, maybe rent it out, and buy another. It’s a strong argument for the American dream.

And who doesn’t want a piece of the American pie?

If you’re a millennial tenant, or a prospect of any age, who wants to become a homeowner, or you're looking for your next rental property, contact Jed, Hope, or anyone at the Gary Lanham Group.

As we wrote previously, “with any generation in any neighborhood, the right purchase in the right area is important. It can be just the launchpad and fuel their life needs to put them into a comfortable orbit today - and for their future plans.”

Gary Lanham Group at Coldwell Banker Fort Lauderdale Beach Office is a boutique real estate organization offering sales, leasing, and brokerage services to the Greater Fort Lauderdale area. A listing agent matches home sellers with buyers and tenants with landlords. While Broward County is our universe, we focus on  real estate in Fort Lauderdale, Wilton Manors, Middle River Terrace, South Middle River, Coral Ridge Isles, Oakland Park, and Pompano Beach. Call us today at (954) 695-6518 or visit www.GaryLanhamGroup.com.

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