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Millennial Buyers Favor Local Lenders, Agents

Millennials don’t want the homebuying process to be as digital as some might think—at least not according to a recent survey by CentSai. In fact, the survey revealed that most would rather use local real estate agents and lenders over online-based ones.

According to a recent CentSai survey of 2,050 millennials—adults aged 18 to 34—a whopping 75 percent of the sought-after demo would rather use a local real estate agent than an online one. Almost the same amount—71 percent—said they’d rather use a local lender, too.

According to CentSai, “This is stark contrast to recent data showing approximately 69 percent of all homebuyers would apply for a mortgage online.” Doria Lavagnino, Co-founder and President of CentSai, an online financial wellness community, said the surprising results reflect the “peace of mind” many millennials need when buying their first home.

“We were surprised to learn that online providers are not yet as big a disruptor in this sector as we first thought, despite purported cost savings," Lavagnino said. "We found that millennials place a high value on the personal touch and knowledge of a local agent. Buying a home for the first time is daunting, and working with a local agent – particularly an agent referred by a parent or friend – could provide peace of mind."

Survey respondents cited a number of reasons for wanting the help of a local agent. Topping the list were the personal touch/handholding it could provide, longstanding relationships they had, the agent’s local knowledge, and the agent’s ability to decrease the overall hassle of the buying process.

Though online agents and lenders might not be as popular as once thought, the survey did reveal a millennial leaning toward one online process: Research. More than 90 percent of survey respondents said they would use an online site or mobile app to research neighborhoods, homes, and prices when buying a home.

In addition to revealing millennial attitudes toward online homebuying solutions, the CentSai survey also revealed that 56 percent of millennials plan to purchase a house in the next two years. Of the remaining 44 percent who said they will not be buying a home, 68 percent cited an inability to afford it as their reasoning. Another 12 percent said they liked the “freedom of renting,” with 10 percent blamed student loan debt.

About Author: Aly J. Yale

Aly J. Yale is a freelance writer and editor based in Fort Worth, Texas. She has worked for various newspapers, magazines, and publications across the nation, including The Dallas Morning News and Addison Magazine. She has also worked with both the Five Star Institute and REO Red Book, as well as various other mortgage industry clients on content strategy, blogging, marketing, and more.

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