While no two buyers are alike, buyers of a similar age often share common ground. They are passing through comparable life experiences, with many overlapping values and preferences.
Real estate professionals who are dialed into these differences are more successful in earning clients of all ages—a skill that is especially important when the agent and the client have different generational perspectives.
For example, the typical member of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) is 54 years old. In contrast, nearly a third of all homebuyers are first-time buyers, with a median age of 33. Boomer agents working with millennial buyers is a fairly common scenario.
On the other hand, the median age of repeat buyers is 55. Young, up-and-coming agents may also encounter a generation gap when attempting to assist buyers who are their parents’ age.
Of course, you want all of your agents, regardless of age, to be successful with every buyer. That is why it can be extremely beneficial for agents to sharpen their understanding of generational differences.
Millennials quickly form first impressions. They expect agents to demonstrate credibility and professionalism right off the bat. Casual relationships are okay, once you’ve established rapport. And don’t mistake a millennial’s lack of assertiveness for lack of confidence about buying a home.
Gen Xers don’t take professional credentials at face value, so you’ll have to prove yourself. They’re highly informed, but expect you to provide inside information and insights they can’t get elsewhere. They also want you to make the home-buying process as easy and efficient as possible.
Baby boomers are savvy homebuyers whose ownership goals can vary greatly. They set a high bar in terms of expectations from real estate professionals and the property they want to own. Give them your undivided attention when communicating and follow-up frequently.
The Silent Generation wants a home that provides safety and a sense of community. Adult children with different priorities may be involved in the purchase. Patience and diplomacy are essential skills.
Agents also need to prepare themselves for Gen Z, the next major group of homebuyers poised to enter the market during the next decade.
Be sure to check out our online courses, which address generational buying habits and strategies, along with a wealth of other topics at www.onlinelearning.realtor.
Marc D. Gould is senior vice president of Member Development for NAR, overseeing a wide range of professional development programs for REALTORS®, including the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC). REBAC is the world’s largest association of real estate professionals focusing specifically on representing the real estate buyer. With more than 30,000 active members, REBAC awards the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation to REALTORS® who have completed the specialized education and documented experience in working with consumers purchasing a home. To learn more, visit REBAC.net.