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Become a Renaissance Realtor: Turn Prospects into Clients

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RISMEDIA, September 11, 2007-The home buying market is blossoming into a new challenge for real estate professionals; several generations are now simultaneously buying homes for different uses. Real estate professionals taking the first step to getting ahead in the market are embracing a unique opportunity to hone their marketing skills. To reach a specific generation successfully it is essential that a Realtor® understands the real estate needs, wants and values of the four home buying generations.
The Silent Generation. As reported by the 2000 U.S. Census, The Silent Generation, born between 1925 and 1945, counted 35 million people over the age of 65. They are cautious consumers and make decisions only after thorough consideration. This large group of home buyers has the potential to be clients for many years to come.

As seniors prepare to repurchase homes, they tend to put down a lot more money than any other generation. This enables them to buy more expensive or second properties. A common misconception of this generation is that they desire to relocate to a new state, when in actuality very few desire drastic relocation. The Silent Generation is primarily concerned with an excellent security system and easy access to medical and shopping centers. They are active and want to be near points of interest that they can walk to.

Another false assumption is that older home sellers desire a move to an assisted-living or retirement community. While some older clients are, others are just looking to downsize into a more manageable living space and still remain close to their families.

It is important to be direct and thorough when working with this generation and not to assume that their children are going to be the main decision-makers. Seniors today are generally more independent than they are given credit for and will take offense to the idea that they are incapable of making life decisions on their own.

The Baby Boomers. Born between 1946 and 1964, this demanding and sophisticated generation tends to buy the largest homes they can afford. They also tend to use their steady incomes to buy second homes. By the time a real estate professional comes in contact with a client, this Baby Boomer will have already toured several other communities and have a specific idea of the kind of property they desire.
It is crucial for this generation to view their property as a long-term investment so they do not have to move again until their children are fully grown. Baby Boomers will potentially house three generations, hence the larger the home the better. A good view of beautiful natural surroundings is also a key selling point.

Many Baby Boomers are looking for single-story living when they repurchase a home and require luxuries that they may not have had in their first home. They expect granite, custom cabinetry, and state-of-the-art appliances. This generation also seeks a maintenance-free lifestyle because they are preserving their time for quickly growing children and future retirement activities.

Generation X. The group of people known as Generation X, born between 1965 and 1979, are known for their cynicism. As these independent and skeptical young adults embrace their thirties, they are establishing themselves as reliable consumers who are buying homes and preparing to start families.
The most effective way to reach Generation X is with a combination of an online and a direct mail marketing campaign. This generation reads the majority of mail sent to their home and generally trusts the information as valuable. Use that opportunity to direct clients to your Web site for further information.

Generation X is looking to live in an “up-and-coming” neighborhood and tend to buy homes in areas with sophisticated and well-established restaurants. The wealthier end of this group of people desire a doorman and all of the designer luxuries at the front entrance of their building. They tend to look at fewer apartments than the other generations and will make a decision more quickly.

Generation Y. This generation is most commonly understood as the young, smart and brash consumers born between 1980 and 2000. This ethnically diverse and socially conscious consumer group comprises one quarter of the total U.S. population, representing an enormous market potential on the rise.
This generation is experiencing the development of “gap years” which is a period that allows Echo Boomers to carryover college life behaviors. The social interaction of Echo Boomers primarily centers around nightlife and therefore they are content with smaller, substandard housing units in edgy locations in exchange for a lower mortgage payment.

This young and hip group prefers to buy glass, metal, aluminum, lofts, bold colors, lots of light and open floor plans in less expensive developments. High-speed wireless Internet access is nearly required when marketing to this group. Generation Y places more emphasis on quality of life than their predecessors and therefore places a high value on living close to work, recreation, shopping and entertainment. The members of this generation are the most influential for retailers because they have higher spending power and stronger opinions at an earlier age than the Baby Boomers.

The biggest mistake a real estate professional can make is lumping all of their clients together and responding to their market needs generally. Specializing in generational differences will provide a real estate professional with ways to reach segments of the real estate purchasing population. The more clued in you are regarding these differences, the closer you are to becoming a renaissance Realtor.

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