According to an annual survey by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), Millenial buyers made up the largest share of home buyers in 2013, accounting for nearly one-third of all residential real estate transactions. Millenials also accounted for 76 percent of first-time buyers, so they represent a significant opportunity for real estate agents and brokers.

Millenials are a connected generation that has grown up on the Internet and social media, and these young homebuyers are reshaping the real estate purchasing process. Not sure what it takes to work effectively with this generation of buyers and sellers? Here are 5 tips for connecting with Millenials:

1. Polish your online reputation

Millenials are likely to do a lot of research online before pulling the trigger on any business or purchase decision, including hiring an agent or buying a house. What will they find when they look for you online? Start by Googling yourself and your brokerage to see what people are saying about you. If you have a Facebook page, chances are it’s going to appear on the first page of Google search results, so make sure you’re posting relevant news and information that showcases your real estate expertise and your connection to your community. If you specialize in downtown urban living or first-time home buying, your web page and social media profile should show it.

An easy way to monitor your online reputation is to set up Google Alerts so you can stay up to date on posts that mention you or your brokerage. Google Alerts is also a good way to keep tabs on what your competitors are doing.

2. Focus on lifestyle

Millenial buyers are open to buying smaller homes in order to have access to lifestyle amenities. In addition to making sure that your listings highlight the perks of living in your community, use social media to post reviews of local restaurants, photos of nearby recreational areas and updates on what makes living in your town a great experience.

3. Be authentic

Millenials expect authenticity and transparency, and they are more willing than earlier generations to share everything on social media. What does this mean for you? Two things:

> Anything you say can and will be shared with their friends on social media

> Your online persona – including your web page and social media pages – needs to match who you are in person. So, be yourself on Facebook and Millenials will thank you for it.

Keep in mind that Millenial sellers are more likely than older sellers to use the same real estate or broker they used for their home purchase, so building a strong relationship during the home buying process will keep you top of mind when Millenial buyers are ready to upgrade.

4. Simplify the buying process

While Millenials aspire to home buying as a good financial investment, they are often challenged by tight credit or high debt, limited inventory and rising prices. More than 95 percent of Millenial buyers financed their home purchase in 2013. Financing means research and lots of paperwork, which can be overwhelming, especially for first-time buyers. You can make this process easier for your clients by sharing advice on how to get a mortgage or tips on home buying, either in person or on social media. Being a resource buyers can turn to for advice throughout the transaction will solidify your reputation as an expert agent or broker.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask your clients to spread the word about you

According to the NAR survey, nearly 60 percent of Millenial homebuyers used a mobile website or app to search for a home. However, when it came to choosing an agent, 96 percent of buyers of all ages said they were much more likely to rely on referrals from family, friends or neighbors. Don’t be shy about asking satisfied buyers and sellers to post reviews or respond to surveys or opinion polls you post on Facebook. If you need help posting a poll on Facebook, click here.

As more members of the Millenial generation advance in their careers, get married and start families, the percentage of Millenial homebuyers will continue to increase. Agents and brokers alike will need to adjust the way they do business to better serve this group, and those who start adapting now will be ahead of the curve.