Whether you identify as a Boomer or Millennial, your generational cohort can have a big effect on how you communicate with the people around you and how you interact with your environment. When it comes to home buying and selling, different generations have different expectations and work with agents and brokers differently.
Since 2013, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has created a Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report. This presentation breaks down the way buyers and sellers differ across a variety of demographic categories, and offers a snapshot of the way people live today.
Here are some of the insights they offer, and ways that you can better communicate your needs with your real estate professional—no matter what your age or background.
Born between 1930-1945 these consumers came of age during the Great Depression and World War II. Members of the Silent Generation may be selling a large family home in order to move to a retirement community or to move closer to family and friends.
If you are a member of the Silent Generation, you may feel less comfortable with electronic signature platforms or online property searches. Talk to your real estate agent or broker about the technology they use, especially if you are not very tech savvy. Make sure that you are getting the information you need in a format that works best for you.
Silent Generation clients made up the highest percentage of multi-generational home buyers in NARs data set. If you are purchasing a home to share with your children and/or grandchildren, you will want to prioritize accessibility and seek out separate entrances and dedicated living spaces in order to give everyone a sense of autonomy while enjoying the benefits of living with family.
Born between 1946-1964, Baby Boomers enjoy a sense of their cohort as game-changers and individualists. True to form, as they plan for retirement they are looking for something different than previous generations. Many Baby Boomers are prioritizing access to amenities and experiences and avoiding extreme downsizing in favor of plenty of space for family and friends.
The highest percentage of single female homebuyers were found in the older Boomer (ages 65-73) cohort. If you are an older woman thinking of purchasing a home on your own for the first time, you may consider security and maintenance as top priorities. You may also prioritize proximity to children and grandchildren or consider a multi-family living situation.
Baby Boomers tend to be externally motivated and enjoy opportunities for learning, recreation, and social events with like-minded friends and acquaintances. Consider built-in opportunities to socialize in country club or retirement communities, many of which employ social directors in order to facilitate opportunities for fun, allowing you to get involved and meet your new neighbors. In addition, many see retirement as an opportunity to return to school or pursue professional goals or a second career path, and may be looking for in-town or college-town locations or large home offices and workshops.
Often called the Sandwich Generation because of their place between two massive demographic cohorts, Gen X (born between 1965-1980) is generally considered independent, wary, and motivated to seek out expert advice when making decisions.
With the one-two punch of massive student debt and prime earning years overshadowed by The Great Recession, Generation X may be more price-sensitive than other demographic groups. In addition, because you may still be raising children while caring for elderly parents, you make up a fair percentage (15 percent) of multigenerational home buyers.
If you are a Gen X homebuyer, you are the least likely to need an agent’s help in finding the right home for you and are more likely to want them to help you negotiate a great deal on that home at the right price, according to NAR’s report. That may be because Gen X was the first truly tech savvy generation, so you trust your ability to find the right home during your online search. Ask your real estate agent for a great lender recommendation to ensure you get just as good a deal on your mortgage.
Born between 1981 and 1996, Millennials have been mocked and vilified in the press as the Me, Me, Me Generation, but according to NAR’s report they’re all grown up and overwhelmingly the largest home buying cohort.
Because they may be first or second-time homebuyers, Millennials value access to advice and information during the home buying process. If you are a Millennial homebuyer, you may want your real estate professional to communicate through email, text messaging, and video content rather than through phone calls and in-person discussions. Let your agent know your preferred platform for the most productive communication.
Millennials tend to value inclusiveness, multiculturalism, and environmentalism. While you may have sought out a home in the city when you were younger, you may be heading to the suburbs as you start your family. Fortunately, the hipsturbia trend finds more and more young families relocating to suburban enclaves and opening the kinds of restaurants, shops, and other amenities you enjoy.
Born between 1997 and the present day, Gen Zers are just entering the market, either as renters or first-time homebuyers. They’ve experienced unprecedented political and economic uncertainty, and are looking for security. They are sometimes called “the new traditionalists.”
If you are a Gen Z homebuyer, you may be focused on finding an environmentally friendly home with smart home features that save money and energy. In addition, you may be looking for walkability and close-by amenities in order to keep your ecological footprint smaller.
Gen Z tends to value expertise over personal recommendations, so talk to your real estate professional about great lenders, contractors, and other professional service providers with whom they have worked. In addition, communicate your questions and concerns to your real estate agent or broker and allow them to help walk you through to a successful real estate closing.