By Paige Tepping
RISMEDIA, Feb. 27, 2008-In today’s market, not all buyers are created equal. The changes that technology has brought to the real estate industry make it important for real estate agents to update their tactics and understand the best ways to reach their target clients. In some cases, it may require a few alterations in previously successful communication methods. Allan Domb, President of Allan Domb Real Estate, knows firsthand about these changes especially when it comes to generational home-buying and selling trends.
Today’s real estate agents are required to shift their techniques when dealing with the different generational subsets. The luxury condominium market is a great example of the divided needs for individuals of different generations. Domb, who oversees the Philadelphia market, is geared up to work with individuals anywhere from 21 to 75 years of age. According to Domb, these four different generations make up the buying sector of the real estate industry in which agents can better focus in on the unique buying and communication standards in which clients wish to remain in contact with their real estate agent.
“Right now I am selling condos to the grandchildren, while in the past I dealt solely with the grandparents,” says Domb of his marketplace.
To meet the needs of his growing marketplace, Domb splits his clientele into four groups. The first group consists of individuals aged 21-40.
“The population of 21 to 40 year olds is technologically oriented and wants instantaneous information,” says Domb. “They want their real estate agent to get back to them in five minutes because 10 minutes is too long. The vast majority of the people who make up this group prefer e-mail over the phone,” he says of his findings.
The second group, says Domb, includes anyone aged 40 to 60. This group is ultimately split in the technology department as some individuals are more technologically inclined while the rest are new to the technology realm. Some of these individuals have e-mail and enjoy using it as their primary form of communication.
“This group follows in the footsteps of the younger individuals in the preceding group in that they like to get some of their information via the Internet. They also differ from the previous group because they like to communicate through both the telephone and the Internet. They like to back up Internet communication with telephone communication. They enjoy a mixture of both,” says Domb.
The third group consists of 60 to 75 year olds.
“Within this group, only about three-quarters of the individuals are technology-oriented, but not to the same degree as the younger population base,” says Domb. These individuals prefer a mixture of both e-mail and telephone communication.
The final group includes home buyers and sellers between the ages of 75 and 80 years old. This group is made up of those who are somewhat acclimated to the computer, while the majority of the group is not. These are the individuals who still prefer the telephone or even a face-to-face meeting.
With all of today’s changes in technology and the shift from telephone to e-mail correspondence, it is important for real estate professionals to keep in mind that the same results can’t be achieved through Internet correspondence.
“You can’t close through the Internet,” says Domb. “It just doesn’t happen. When dealing with people over the Internet, you lose the ability to understand their tone and get the actual message that they are trying to convey. Both forms of communication have their pros and cons, but the Internet makes things more impersonal,” he adds.
In addition to the differences in the ways in which each generation likes to be contacted, Domb has seen a shift in the buying patterns of members of these groups as well.
“One of the biggest trends that I see today in the real estate industry is that people are buying multiple homes. Twenty-five to 30 years ago, people were happy when they owned one home, but today people own as many as three,” says Domb.
Domb equates this to the way in which technology has changed our lifestyle.
“Owning three homes has become possible because you no longer need to be in one location to work. Today’s technology has allowed people to become more mobile,” Domb says.
Going along with owning more than one home, the amenities that are important to individuals when looking for a home also vary. One notable preference for home buyers is workspace within the home.
“In general, 40-70 year olds are looking for separate work areas for the husband and wife. The husband and wife need to have their own private computer area in the home,” says Domb. “People never said this to me 15 years ago.”
When it comes down to it, to truly compete in today’s market, agents cannot treat all buyers the same. Domb believes it’s important to make sure all communication methods – from follow-up to company marketing is segmented to ensure agents are reaching their audience in the way they wish to be found.