The real estate market has been in a slow climb since it took a flying leap towards rock bottom in 2008, but the industry is only growing more competitive. To get ahead, enterprising agents need to learn how to market to the demographic groups most actively pursuing homeownership —millennials, Generation Xers and baby boomers.
The Millennial Rush
Though homeownership among millennial buyers currently hovers around the 25 percent mark, 93 percent of renters between the ages of 18 and 34 say they aspire to own their own home eventually. Millennials represent the largest demographic of recent home buyers, and many are purchasing older homes in the suburbs rather than springing for pricier digs in downtown or more urban environments.
Despite the looming cloud of student loans and entry-level jobs that hang over younger buyers, millennials are eager to invest in real estate and the lifestyle they believe comes with it. This dichotomy can make marketing real estate to millennials a bit tricky, but the following tactics should help:
- Build an integrated social media presence that fosters brand recognition. It’s one of the best ways to find millennials in their natural habitat.
- Create aspirational marketing collateral — blog content is key — that plays up emotional connectivity (cool locations, happiness, adventure) over practical concerns.
- Bring millennial buyers to smartly staged homes in turn-key condition (unless otherwise specified). They may like watching “Fixer Upper,” but they don’t want to endure a renovation in real life.
Generation X and the Studied Buy
Buyers belonging to Generation X — those born between 1965 and 1980 — are generally either hoping to upgrade from a starter home or to buy their first property now that their savings accounts and career path are both ideally situated. They tend to want enormous value for their dollar, and thanks to a penchant for browsing available homes and real estate sites online, Gen X members are also some of the most well-informed buyers active in today’s market.
- Putting full listings — including pictures — online is essential, as is being readily accessible via email and text. Generation X buyers are likely to research on the go and reach out the second they find something they like.
- Gen Xers won’t be fooled by claustrophobic cottages labeled “cozy” or broken-down palaces marketed as “handyman specials.” Transparency is a virtue, as is understanding that you’re better off showing rather than telling.
Baby Boomers in Flux
Buyers over the age of 50 are often in a state of transition, but rather than automatically downsizing to more affordable properties and pocketing the difference, empty nesters and retirees are instead choosing to buy smaller homes with more favorable amenities. This makes baby boomers both buyers and sellers, and they’re the demographic with the most disposable income too.
- Baby boomers aren’t joining knitting circles, so much as they’re going for group hikes and taking on the weekly pub quiz. Properties in close proximity to the action aren’t just for 20-somethings anymore, so market them accordingly.
- Play on the brand loyalty of older buyers by partnering with, or advertising on sites belonging to companies your target demographic recognizes and/or feels nostalgic about.
- Above all, be sensitive. Ditch words like “elderly” or “senior,” and forget campaigns that are too heavy on the golf carts and grandkids. This is the generation that made the ‘60s so swingin’ — treat them with the respect they deserve.