When I grew up, we had 3 channels on TV (depending on how the roof antenna twisted in the wind) and when it came time to make a phone call, the phone was firmly affixed to the wall. At times, we even shared the line with a neighbor. When my Aunt Rochelle would be on her way to visit, she’d call “collect” and my parents would decline the call because they knew this was her way of telling us to expect her soon. Long distance calls were expensive.
I often wonder how I’d explain cell phones to my grandmother, who by all accounts would have been born even prior to what is now termed the “Silent Generation” (those 75-95). The idea that you can walk around with a device that makes phone calls, takes pictures, broadcasts video, and has apps for just about anything including blowing out birthday candles, would be impossible for her to grasp.
Talk to Me…
These days, REALTORS® must be constantly aware of generational differences. Each generation searches for property differently. In fact, they even have preferences about how they want to communicate.
Younger buyers (Millennials) top out around 40 years old. Older Millennials tend to be married and understand the buying process better. Younger buyers naturally struggle with understanding concepts related to mortgages and the buying process. These buyers love texting and search for property on their mobile device…much to small for this Baby Boomer! But don’t underestimate the value of property videos across the generations.
GEN X are those aged 41-55. These buyers use a combination of devices to conduct their searches. Baby Boomers (56-74) tend to use a laptop or desktop for searches. Regardless of age, almost every buyer starts their search online.
Older buyers, of course, are more likely to read print ads. I can attest that readership of my print article Is still quite high, while use of print ads by real estate agents, in general, has really waned. Older readers are more likely to reach out to an agent they find in print while younger buyers tend to seek referrals.
Other fun facts indicate that each generation prioritizes their search criteria differently. Millennials look for a shorter work commute. This makes perfect sense because most are still raising a family. I can’t say this is a huge decision driver in Hawai`i because, after all, our choices are driven in large part by price vs location.
Interestingly (according to Sep 2021 ABR newsletter) finding the right property is still a significant challenge across the board. As agents, searches nowadays start with a buyer who provides their “short list”. We often start there and narrow/amend their search.
Out-of-area buyers don’t always understand neighborhoods and infrastructure challenges/differences. More buyers are showing up in person now that COVID restrictions have eased, but educating buyers about our neighborhoods is still a large part of what we do.
Lastly, agents need to recognize that each age group (and even individual buyers/sellers) has different preferences regarding how they want communication to flow. We often forget that texting is normally an abbreviated form of communication. It tends to leave a ton of unanswered questions that neither buyer nor seller even knew they had. So, if you are 20 or 80, a good old fashioned phone call (attached to the wall or not) followed by an email is really the best way to ensure clarity when it comes to life’s largest personal transactions!