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Next Generation Buyers: Savvy, Sophisticated and Ready to Buy

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By Amy Chorew

If you want to know who will push the economy forward in coming years, look no further than Generations X and Y. The Generation X and Y age group, ranging from 18-48 is 103 million strong making them a group of consumers and eventual homebuyers that will make a major impact on the market.

I had the opportunity to listen in as Sherry Chris, President and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate spoke at the 2012 NAR REALTORS® Conference and Expo about the buying habits of Generations X and Y.

Below is an excerpt and my key takeaways from her presentation and the details surrounding a recent survey released by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate.

Distinct Traits of Gen X and Y

In a 2012 survey released by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate and conducted by Wakefield Research, Generations X and Y were revealed to have distinct traits and characteristics, molded by the era and technology-driven world they grew up in. However, not all of their beliefs, including a motivation to save before buying, are that much different than earlier generations of consumers.

With that said, there are stark differences between generations due to the pervasiveness of the Internet. Compared to previous generations, Generations X and Y consider themselves more knowledgeable because of the availability and accessibility of information through online tools and websites. They embrace technology and are very willing to put in the time it takes to sufficiently research location, community and home specifications before making a purchase decision.

The survey also found that 77 percent of Generation X and Y Americans feel that the increased media coverage surrounding the real estate industry over the last six years has improved their knowledge about home ownership.

This enhanced understanding has been defined by the major economic events or shifts that have taken place within the real estate market. While the oil crisis of the 1970’s had a profound impact on Baby Boomers, Generations X and Y have formed opinions based on the housing downturn. This coupled with an insatiable appetite to learn and thereby make informed decisions, causes the average Generation X or Y consumer to delve deeply into the risks and rewards before they commit to buying.

Attitude and Habits of Gen X and Y

The survey also reveals the attitude of the Generation X and Y consumer. As high as 71 percent consider home ownership something they have to earn, rather than believing it is something they deserve. They are also willing to “walk the talk” by adjusting their lifestyle in order to purchase a home.

62 percent of the Generation X and Y homebuyers were willing to eat out less, 40 percent were willing to take on a second job and 23 percent have considered moving back in with their parents in order to save for a home.

These traits show Generations X and Y as wise and proactive; adopting a strategic approach to their future and the possibility of homeownership.

They also readily embrace technology as their preferred communication method. While Baby Boomers prefer face-to-face contact, Generations X and Y are more comfortable with emails, voice mail and text messages.

Above such generational changes, Generations X and Y are more adept at using technology than any of their predecessors. The spread of digital devices such as tablets and smart phones provides information at their fingertips, at any time of the day.

Marketing to Gen X and Y Buyers

This makes it evident that today’s real estate professional must be able to harness technology to increase awareness and grab the attention of the Generation X and Y homebuyer. They must leverage technology to offer relevant content that this consumer finds enlightening and engaging.

As real estate professionals, now is the time to gain an understanding of how these generational differences impact your business and build systems that cater to their needs. It is evident that marketing to and conversing with generations X and Y takes a deep understanding of who they are and what matters most to both them and their families.

The good news is this: from blogging to social media, the tools for continued success are accessible and easily available!

Amy Chorew is the Vice President of Platform Development at Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate.

To view this article on the Better Homes & Gardens blog, Clean Slate, click here.

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