Baby Boomers to Gen Z – there's a good mix in the market of buyers from various generations who are making financial decisions that involve buying, saving, investing, and spending. One such financial decision has to do with buying real estate. When it comes to decisions to do with buying homes, each generation has different wants and needs. Right from how they look for a home, what they look for in a home to what they expect from their real estate agents is often tied to where they are in their life's journey.
Let's shed some light on this with a few stats…
As per the National Association of REALTORS®'s Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report:
- Millennials make up the largest share of home buyers at 38%
- Generation X consisted of 23% of recent home buyers
- Baby Boomers buyers (55 to 64 years) consisted of 18% of recent buyers
- Baby Boomers buyers (65 to 73 years)consisted of 15% of recent buyers
Let's take a look at what each generation of home buyers typically expects from a real estate agent and how you can meet these expectations.
YOUNGER HOME BUYERS
Generation Z (born between 1997 and the present day)
Members of Generation Z are generally tenants or first-time home buyers. They have experienced unprecedented political and economic uncertainty and hence seek security. Generation Z home buyers are also tech-savvy and are likely to do thorough research to study the properties they are interested in on the Internet beforehand.
Expectations of Generation Z Home Buyers:
- They want their real estate agent to understand them: who they are, how they want to live, and what they can and can't afford.
- They want easy access to all information at one click of a button.
- They probably would want a house with amenities at a walkable distance to ensure that they are keeping their ecological footprint smaller.
- They usually prefer a smart home that is environmentally friendly and helps save energy and money – efficiency is what they thrive on.
Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996)
Millennials value experience and the freedom to live life the way they want. For this reason, millennial home buyers often mention location as one of the most influential factors when looking for a house to call home. They want to be where the action is and prefer easy access to public transportation when needed. The closer they are to restaurants, bars, and pubs, the better. Millennials pride themselves on their independence and ability to function and have fun, all at the same time.
Expectations of Millennial Home Buyers:
- They prefer their communication with the real estate professional to be through email, text messaging, and video content rather than through phone calls and in-person discussions.
- They want fast and easy access to information.
- They want their real estate agents to expertly manage complex transactional steps by using the best technology while keeping them informed of every step along the way – transparency is what they seek.
Tips for real estate agents to manage the expectations of home buyers of the younger generations:
- Make all information accessible to them online. Provide virtual 3D tours, via which these Generation Z and Millennial home buyers can experience the property. It’s a big plus that they can watch a 3D tour from the comfort of their homes or share their virtual tour experiences with friends and family who can influence their buying decisions.
- Be there for them! These young buyers are probably buying their first home and making their first major real estate investment. So it's important that they can count on you. You need to provide any assistance they might require and help them assess and face any potential obstacle that they may encounter in their home buying journey.
- Show them homes with open floor plans and ample private spaces that can be converted into offices, dens, entertainment areas, and play areas.
- Show them homes in the suburbs that meet their unique needs. Affordability is mostly the biggest hurdle for this young generation. But, they are ready to venture further from the city in search of an affordable home.
- Show them homes in good school districts near rec areas and parks. Younger buyers are more likely to look for homes that meet the needs of their families – which include kids and pets. Homes near parks and schools and options that are better suited for pets and children are what they are looking for.
OLDER HOME BUYERS
Generation X (born between 1965-1980)
Generation X is independent, cautious, and motivated to seek expert advice when making decisions. They are more likely to have greater financial security than younger home buyers, which gives them more opportunities to find the perfect home.
Expectations of Generation X Home Buyers:
- They want their real estate agent to show a home close to their work, probably in the cozy, yet happening suburbs with access to entertainment, food, and activities.
- They’re probably looking to expand in terms of a bigger house as they are perhaps more settled and are at good positions in their careers, and perhaps have the ability to spend more on a home now.
- They expect to upgrade their lifestyle with more comfort for them and their family and want a house to match those expectations.
- They expect the real estate agent to help them get the home they want at the right price.
Baby Boomers (born between 1946-1964)
Baby Boomers have recently found themselves having empty nests when their children move out and have or are about to start their own lives – a new phase in their lives. They try to move into sizeable homes and neighborhoods until they pay off their mortgage in full.
Expectations of Baby Boomer Home Buyers:
- They would want their real estate agent to show them smaller homes keeping access to amenities and experiences as priorities.
- They would prefer highly maintained homes that have robust security.
- They may want a house closer to their children or grandchildren.
- They want to live in a house with opportunities for recreation and social events with friends and acquaintances who share similar views.
- They would prefer a house with built-in networking opportunities at country clubs or golf courses.
Tips for real estate agents to manage the expectations of the home buyers of the older generations:
- Rely on email marketing and social media as primary tools for reaching out to the older generation.
- Help them get a great deal on the mortgage.
- Show them condominiums and single-level homes, as many older homeowners want or need less space.
- Make them understand the importance of the neighborhood and show them they belong. For the older generation, a sense of community is essential.
- Show them homes that require minimum maintenance or have maintenance help. If they do not want to stay in retirement communities, provide a home warranty that can help them with maintenance and wear and tear appliances.
As real estate agents, you will deal with home buyers across these four generations. Understanding the needs and wants of every generation of home buyers can help you prepare yourself to meet the needs of these different generations and make a profitable sale. Most of all, understanding each of these groups of buyers will help you deliver what they need – it will help you connect and empathize with your clients at a level where you can build trust! It can truly help you do your job better and serve your clients well.