The number one rule of marketing, “Know your audience,” matters as much to the real estate agent as it does to the sales expert in any other industry. This is why it’s essential for Gen X-focused professionals to understand what makes this market segment tick. What drives them to buy and sell?
Their motives may not be what you think, if you’ve put thought to them at all.
Unlike the agent who goes after the millennial or baby boomer client, REALTORS® who hope for Gen Xers’ business often leave connections to chance. Who really knows what this ‘lost generation’ wants, right?
The Gen X buyer or seller doesn’t usually demand a ‘green’ home like younger clients. Nor do they want to downsize as Boomers desire to. But, while little thought might focused toward this group of 40 to 56-year-olds, research says they tend to be loyal to those who pay attention to their needs.
So, it makes sense to get to know the Gen Xer.
In fact, this group of buyers and sellers comprises the second largest buying and selling market niche (almost one third) after Baby Boomers (not Millennials as many might presume). And, unlike younger clients, there’s a good chance that Generation X already owns a home, which makes for the possibility of a two-for-one transaction (the sale of a house to buy a new one).
Are you an agent looking to target Gen Xers and build a trusted client base, while potentially making more money from this forgotten group? Here’s what you need to know:
Key into Environment when it Comes to Gen X
Gen Xers want a place to call home. They desire a house that they’ll stay in for the long haul, at least 10 years anyway. Generation X isn’t looking to move up or down any time soon. They’re more interested in settling into a community that offers everything they need: a spacious single-family home, great outdoor spaces and perhaps even a good local bar or two.
The Gen X buyer and seller is likely to be a dual-income family who has equity in a home or a substantially large down payment. They have the budget to fund their dream home, which is probably close to restaurants and shopping. But, it may just be suitable and big enough to accommodate a large chef’s kitchen and spare room for crafting. Generation X knows exactly what they want, that you can be sure of and will find out.
Gen X buyers and sellers may be looking for a house in a master-planned community that offers a range of amenities. After all, it’s likely that their kids are getting older, so new-found free time could lend itself well to tennis and adult-focused neighborhood gatherings. It pays to get to know your buyers well and inquire about all of their needs, such as that for a home office perhaps. Many Gen X clients are small business owners.
What’s key to remember about Gen Xers is that many of them got stuck in the housing crash of 2008. This led to a great number of them losing their homes to foreclosure, and consequently renting for much longer than they would have liked. These buyers and sellers are officially done with rental properties and they’re looking for a home environment that speaks once again exactly to them. You can help these anxious buyers meet that desire but learning about their needs and tuning in thoughtfully.
Family is the Most Important Part of the Societal Structure to Gen Xers
If you gear your outreach to the concept of family, whether it focuses on adult children living at home or the forty-something caring for aging parents at home, you’ve touched on something valuable with Generation X. Anything that speaks of one of society’s strongest bonds, the family, will resonate well with this market segment.
According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), one in six Gen X buyers purchased a home that was ideal for multiple generations. In fact, 52 perfect of these buyers said they did so because their adult children never left home. NAR’s report also states that the high cost of housing nationwide is causing adult children to move back in with their parents.
Gen X clients, therefore, desire larger homes with spaces for family members at various stages of their lives. This translates to the need for houses with accessory dwelling units, bonus rooms and studios, separate wings and simply more flexibility and privacy than other buyers might require.
Marketing to Gen Xers
There are some effective marketing practices that you can put into place to attract and build a rapport with Generation X buyers and sellers. These include:
- Using targeted language like ‘work-life balance’ and ‘multi-generation’ property
- Blogging about ‘growing money’ or ‘protecting investments’
- Referring professionals from your network of trusted financial experts
- ‘Talking music’ if you’re comfortable with socializing this way (this is the MTV generation after all)
- Becoming savvy on construction and design, to offer assistance for homes that could be reimagined for multiple generations.
A significant number of Gen Xers simply want a roomy house that they, and their range of visitors, can feel comfortable in. With communication and an intention to best serve your clients, you should be able to find Gen X buyers the perfect ‘home sweet home.”