Age Matters: A generational handbook for listing agents

While we focus much of this blog on homebuying or the vital role our teams play when it comes to title and closing, this piece is centered on sellers – and how our REALTOR® friends can best cater to the needs and preferences of this group.

However, it’s important to note that the motivations behind selling a home are as varied as the life stages and economic circumstances of different generations. That’s right – what a seller needs or expects will likely depend on their age. From millennials seeking more space to accommodate growing families, to baby boomers downsizing for retirement, each group influences the housing market in unique ways. 

Want to know more about trends with age and real estate? The National Association of REALTORS® has you covered with its recent generational report. It’s certainly worth a read!    

Here’s some good news for our listing agent friends – people from each age group overwhelmingly use an agent to sell their homes, and most would definitely recommend their agents to others. This data point underscores the value and trust that sellers place in their agents, highlighting the crucial role you play in the home selling process. What’s more, the two most popular ways for a seller to connect with the REALTOR® they chose? A personal recommendation, or the same professional they used in the past.

Millennials and younger: Millennials, often characterized by their dynamic life stages involving family expansion or career progression, tend to sell their homes for several key reasons. As they move up in their careers and their families grow, the need for more space becomes a pressing issue. Additionally, relocation for job opportunities can prompt a sale, especially in today’s increasingly flexible job market. The properties they sell, often starter homes, play a crucial role in replenishing the lower end of the market, which is essential for first-time homebuyers. However, the pace at which millennials are able to move up to larger homes can be affected by market conditions like rising home prices and interest rates, potentially slowing down their progression into larger properties and affecting the overall availability of affordable housing.

One interesting note: often, millennials are further divided into “younger” and “older” categories. For this NAR survey, the younger group was 25 to 33, and older millennials were categorized as those 34 to 43.

Gen X: This generation, currently in its’ peak earning years’ (typically between the ages of 44 and 55), faces decisions about housing that can accommodate changing family dynamics, such as the need for more space for growing children or aging parents. Gen X homeowners might look for homes offering a better lifestyle, which could mean selling their current properties to move into better school districts or quieter neighborhoods. Furthermore, because Gen Xers are likely to have built substantial equity in their homes, they can leverage this to upgrade to larger, more expensive properties.

Baby boomers and older. Baby boomers (generally between the ages of 55 and 79) often look to downsize for multiple reasons—less maintenance, lower costs or lifestyle changes such as moving closer to family or into communities that offer age-specific amenities. The properties they sell, typically larger family homes, can saturate the market, potentially driving down prices if supply exceeds demand in certain areas. Additionally, their move to senior living or smaller homes is also impacted by the rising healthcare costs and the need for accessible living spaces that reduce the risks associated with aging. The influx of larger homes onto the market can provide opportunities for younger generations looking to upgrade, although this depends heavily on the synchronization of market timing and economic conditions.

While we avoid making generalizations regarding age or anything else, it’s important to understand how generations differ and how your approach to each age group may need to change. For instance, when dealing with millennials, you might want to emphasize the potential for growth and investment in the properties you’re selling. On the other hand, when working with baby boomers, highlighting the convenience and accessibility of the location could be more effective. Furthermore, industry professionals and market analysts can better predict shifts in housing supply and demand by considering these generational factors, leading to more strategic planning and targeted marketing efforts to meet the specific needs of each age group. 

Once your seller of any age is ready to close the deal, our teams are ready to step in with expert title services and more. Reach out to us anytime.

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