Experienced agents say that the different generational groups approach real estate differently. Some say every generation is very distinct, while other suggest a blurring of the lines.
Knowing how to communicate with different generations, how to build relationships by understanding them, is vitally important when you are an agent trying to assist them buy or sell their home.
Today, a single real estate agents might be helping home buyers from one of five generations. The year range and sometimes even the name given to them can vary, but let’s call them thus:
Greatest Generation, born 1901 to 1927, and Silent Generation, born 1928 to 1945, are often grouped. For these generations, raising a family put a premium on traits like hard work and determination and children were expected to earn their way through life aided by their strong work ethic. Much of their motivation to buy and sell property today revolves around investment opportunities and making financial decisions for their own and their family’s futures.
Baby Boomer Generation, born 1946 to 1964
These aren’t quite the out-of-touch grandparents that Gen Z thinks they are. After all, these were the guys who defied their parents, protested war and created the ‘Summer of Love’. Now they are typically looking to downsize while wanting enough flexible space to accommodate family gatherings. Either that, or they want to live where they can travel and not worry about maintenance.
Generation X, born 1965 to 1980
This generation lived through the AIDS epidemic, MTV culture, and a shifting cultural landscape that would give rise to LGBTQ+ rights. Generation X parents were the first to becalled ‘helicopter parents’. They didn’t let their kids stay outside until the streetlights came on. Low-maintenance living has been seen as a preference for Gen X buyers. They’ve also looked to markets other than the one they live in for their property investments.
Generation Y (Millennials), born 1981 to 1996
Millennials lived through 9/11. The internet arrived sometime through their childhood. Sometimes accused by the previous generations of being self-centred and excessive users of technology, this generation has proven to actually be extremely community-oriented and environmentally conscious. Younger millennials have been motivated by the prospect of first-time homeownership in dynamic locations, drawn to urban areas with vibrancy and amenities like restaurants, bars, and shops.
Generation Z, born 1997 to 2010
Still relative ‘youngsters’, these are the first to be born into a world constantly connected to one another through phones, screens, tablets and so on. They know no other! Location also plays a key role for Gen Z buyers but they’ll sell for reasons such as moving to home they couldn’t previously afford, for job relocation in an entirely new city or state, or for a more convenient location whether that’s access to a particular school district, workplace or other.
And then still to come is Generation Alpha, born after 2010
This is s the first generation of children who will never know a time when social media didn’t exist. They are some of the first born around the COVID-19 pandemic, they are more tech savvy than ever before, they are more diverse than any previous generation, and it is thought that they could more likely be in a single-parent household.
Price point, property size and location will all matter to different generations in different ways, and their generation will have a significant impact on their priorities.
One thought is that people across the different generations share a common desire for a location with great amenities and the ability to transform a house into a home; and that’s what unites us. I like that thought!