Generational Selling Guide - How to Position Your Listing for Each Generation

June 5, 2017

As a Realtor, you have enough to juggle. Trying to adapt to each client's wants and needs just adds another ball into the juggling game.

As a whole, different generations tend to want different things at the stages of life they are at.

Wouldn’t it be helpful to know what each generation is looking for in a home?

Millennial (1981-1995)

If you are not a millennial, the term probably makes those tiny little hairs on your arms stand straight up. Why? Because millennials are notorious for their new way of doing things and breaking the social norms- especially when it comes to real estate. You can probably spot one with their phone in hand and eyes locked on the screen.

Many underestimated the impact this generation would have on the housing market, but they slowly joined the race and are now the number one generation for home buying. In fact, 34% of all home buyers in the market are millennials.

What do they want in a home? Proximity to a large city was found to be more important than property size for this generation. However, properties with newer appliances were chosen over properties closer to the city. What does this mean? When their budget starts to fail them, millennials would rather sacrifice space than new appliances or technologies. This generations is going to lead the way in smart home technology.  

Tips: 74% of millennials said that understanding the purchase process was the most beneficial part of working with an agent. For a lot of millennials this is their first time home buying, and they have a few obstacles to hurdle over to do so. As an agent be there every step of the way with them! Highlight the next steps and hold their hand if they need it. Millennials really value relationships and are more likely to buy if you have a good relationship with them.

Having an online presence in huge in this generation, because of the amount of time they are online. 39% of millennials said that they interact more with their smartphone than they do with anybody else. This means they are definitely looking online to either search you or your homes. So make sure you have a strong online presence.

Millennials want to purchase an experience, not a product. When showing homes to millennials try and get them to imagine the big picture and what life would be like to live and breathe in this home.

Generation X (1965-1980)

Gen Xers often have a lot of responsibility. In addition to needing a home for themselves, they are often responsible for children and aging parents. Generation X comes in third with 28% of home buyers being this generation. This is everyone born in the years 1965-1980.

What are they looking for? Over 80 percent of this generation are already homeowners. Why is this important to know? This means this generation is looking to purchase their second homes, which are typically larger than their first, newer, and typically homes that are going to fit them in the long run. This generation also has the highest median income and house square footage, so larger home would suit this generation well.

About half of this generation has children living at home that are under 18, so school zones are a top priority when looking at homes. This generation is also technology savvy, and studies have shown they are more interested in homes that offer up to date technology. Upwards of 70 percent said that they love to cook, bake and grill. So, make sure you are selling the kitchen cooking areas when showing homes.

Tips: A 2017 study done by the National Realtors Association said that this generation dislikes being micro-managed and prefers a hands-off approach. As a Realtor, try and be available to answer their questions along the way but don’t try and micro manage them.

Baby Boomer (1946-1964)

Baby boomers are booming in the home buying market with 30% of home buyers being in the baby boomers generation. With a third of the home buying population being this group, as a Realtor knowing what they are looking for is very important.

What are they looking for? This age group spreads from anyone born from 1946-1964. The younger half of this generation was found to equally be looking for homes for children over 18 and retirement communities for aging parents. As a whole, reasons for buying a new home were found to be for downsizing, job relocation, and to be closer to family and friends. A good amount of baby boomers are also looking for an area with more ambiance to retire in. This generation does have a spread when it comes to wants, as you can see, however as a whole they value a new home with low maintenance and will last for the long haul.

Tips: This generation was found to have the longest projected time to live in a home at 20 years! This is very important to keep in mind when selling to this generation. You are selling for the future. Feature the places that don’t require a lot of upkeep will last in the long haul.  

Silent Generation (1925-1945)

They may be called the silent generation, but they won’t be able to stop talking about you once you use these tips to help sell them a home.  This generation only makes up 8% of the home buyer population.

What are they looking for in a home? This generation’s primary reason for buying a new home is to live closer to family/friends, downsize, or move into a retirement community. 24% of this generation's home purchases are retirement home purchases.  However, that does not define the whole generation.  There is a good amount of this generation that is still working or wants to spend their retirement still active doing leisurely activities. This means homes that are low maintenance and are around communities that offer a variety of activities.

Tips: The majority of this generation have some kind of restrictions when it comes to what they can and cannot do anymore. It would be helpful to get a list of their restrictions to find a home and community that can accommodate them. Are they nearing retirement? Ask them what their favorite hobbies are and look for homes that are near areas that offer them.

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