Having an understanding of who today’s homebuyers are and where they come from is important as you venture down the path of selling your home.
Maybe you have never sold a home before or it has been years since you sold a home. How agents sell homes have changed drastically even in the 18+ years I have been in the business. Gone are the slick, real estate magazines, huge real estate sections in the newspaper and even the effectiveness of open houses are waning.
Who Are Today’s Buyers
Millennials (age 22 to 39) make up the largest home-buying segment at 38% with Baby Boomers (aged 55 to 73) coming in at 33 percent of home buyers followed by GenX’ers at 23%.
Between Millenials and part of the GenX’ers, they make up over 50% of the buying population. All of the Millennials and part of the GenX population grew up with the age of the internet. Computers and smartphones are a way of life for them and have been from a very young age.
But don’t underestimate older GenX’ers and Baby Boomers. Many of them are just as internet savvy as the younger generation.
While growing up, the younger generations are highly image-driven and they expect it. Watching videos, reading memes, streaming Netflix, Instagram stories, etc…. More so then ever before, we are overstimulated by images because of technology. We are trained to be looking for the next image to stimulate us.
We have also become a nation of online shopping. Look at all the department stores closing. We can get all the information we want online and never have to go to a store.
My mother is turning 80 and she uses the internet with the best of them. (sorry mom)
Turn on the TV and find a prevalence of real estate reality TV and DIY shows. They have also trained us to expect perfect homes and upscale finishes like we have never seen before. The flipping and staging shows subtely train us what to expect when we view a home…. that expectation is perfection.
Combine all of this and what is it telling us when it comes to marketing a home?
You need to have a strong internet presence. Quality real estate photos and detailed information about your home is critical.
And, homes that are move-in or buyer ready are highly desirable. Many home-buying decisions are being made before a buyer even steps through your door.
What Do Today’s Home Buyers Expect?
Because the cost of homes is high and is are greater percentage of our incomes than ever before, buyers today are expecting homes in better shape. Combine that with the (sometimes unrealistic) real estate reality shows, many buyers have high expectations on finishes, features and condition.
The younger generation is looking for upscale finishes, technology, all in a smaller home. No longer do they want sprawling homes like the boomers. They don’t want to be saddled with debt and they don’t want to be saddled maintaining a large home. They are typically looking for more modern clean appearances and homes that use renewable resources is a plus. Remember they are environmentally conscious.
With many getting married later and buying houses later, connecting with others and having activities is important. Urban areas are becoming more desirable than rural. Millennials watched their parents work hard and in some cases lose it all.
There is still a time and place for fixer-uppers as well as larger houses but smaller is where the general mindset is trending.
Millennials focus on experiences with friends and families. Socializing is important so an urban environment is more appealing.
The older generation has raised their families and may be ready to make a move.
They could be making a lateral move if they are on the younger side or downsizing as they get older.
The older generation is looking for luxury and far less maintenance. They have already done it all.
They too are interested in socializing and enjoying life and are looking for communities that will cater more to a leisurely lifestyle. Do not underestimate their wanting some of the things they see their kids getting in homes as well.
Technology, green building and socialization. As they see their kids living a certain lifestyle they may want that as well.
What are some features that both generations are looking for?
- Form and function over size. Size is no longer important like it was in the 90’s and early 2000’s.
- Place for a home office. Tele commuting in oor society is waymore prevelant and buyers need a place to work from home.
- Upscale finishes and features. Hardwoods, stainless, solid surface countertops are more the norm that the exception these days.
- Surburban areas with downtowns. Many buyers are rejecting rural locations. Partly becoause the jobs are moving to highly urban areas. Plus a good suburban area provides todays buyers a place to plug in with others.
- Materials that come from green building materials. Saving the enironment is always a plus for today;s home buyers.
- Open spaces to entertain and live. Open living space is still a high priority for today’s buyers
- Energy efficiency. With soaring cost and high cost of housing, buyers want to save money where they can.
- Low maintenance. With our jobs being all consuming, buyers don’t want there free time taken up with home maintenance projects.
Don’t worry if you can’t achieve perfection. There are buyers for every home. The closer you can get to achieving what today’s buyers want the broader appeal your home will have. Discuss with your agent what things can reasonably be done.
Love In The First 3-4 Seconds
Almost everyone in today’s day and age, turn to the internet to research and shop for any purchase they may be considering. No longer does it matter what generation they grew up in.
Smartphones are being used more than desktops and information can be gathered at anytime, from anywhere.
You need to capture a buyer’s attention in the first 3-4 seconds online with a great curb appeal shot of your home. Once you capture their attention you need to keep their interest by following up with more high quality photos and detailed information.
A potential home buyer is making split second decisions on the internet. The decision being will your home be a potential or are they moving on.
Gone are the days of real estate magazines, newspaper ads and even open houses. It is all about your online presence.
What I tell my sellers is your first showing is online and curb appeal needs to start online as well.
If you are selling you have probably been online looking. Think about your behavior and how you view houses. It is probably much like every other home buyer.
How A Home Buyer Finds Your Home
Most home buyers are scouring sites like Zillow or REALTOR.com as well as receiving a daily email from their buyer’s agent. They may see a list of homes at 6 to 10 at a time and investigate the homes that grab their attention.
Think about what your home’s first impression will be for a given home buyer online.
Does your home show well? At the very least clean, decluttered and depersonalized. But can some bigger projects yield a return, like replacing wallpaper with neutral paint, can a kitchen or bath be inexpensively refreshed or updated, does the front of your house need some landscaping?
Are you providing quality real estate photography? The single most important marketing tool you have is high-quality real estate photos highlighting the best of your home. Photos that are crooked, out of focus, and improperly exposed will hold no appeal for home buyers. In this day and age buyers are used to seeing professional-quality photos.
Follow up with accurate stats of the home. Tax information, room sizes, lot size and other facts about your home need to be detailed and accurate. Buyers want information and won’t come out from behind their phones or computers unless they are compelled to.
Use your description well. Don’t over-exaggerate the description of your home. Use the description to point out features that aren’t obvious somewhere else. Point out recent updates and the benefits of your home’s location that may.
A buyer will only come out from behind their computer or desk once they feel comfortable with what they see online. When they are intrigued enough, they will contact an agent for a showing.
Buyers Are More Educated Than Ever
Researching a home is much easier with the internet. In a matter of minutes, a buyer can determine what similar homes are for sale in the area.
They can also identify homes that have recently sold which are comparable properties to yours.
They can determine if your home provides a good value or not from their cell phone. Not only are sales data available, but the internet also allows a large number of photos, aerial views and floorplans. It makes it easy to compare your home to others that have been or are in the market place.
Precise pricing is more critical than ever.
Putting It All Together
Preparing your home properly for homebuyers could include basics like cleaning, depersonalizing and decluttering but also discuss with your agents if any renovations or repairs can improve your homes appeal.
Properly positioning your home by its pricing is the next step after decisions have been made about your home’s preparations. Pricing it properly, ensures you are showing it to the right buyers.
Follow up with a stellar online presence to get the buyers wanting to schedule a personal showing of your home. Technology has been a game changer when it comes time to sell your home. This starts with professional real estate photography. Sell to your home buyers the way they want to be sold to.
Other Home Selling Resources:
- Pricing a home is a critical step in listing your home that shouldn’t be overlooked. Bill Gassett explains what the risk are of overpricing your home.
- Chris and Karen Highland share what it is like to sell a home. Even as real estate agents they are reminded of the basic principles a home seller must keep in mind.
- Anita Clark discusses why home sellers want to sell to Millennials and how to cater to them.
- Conor Macevilly shares some common mistakes that can kill a home sale.
Understanding Today’s Home Buyers, was written by Kevin Vitali of EXIT Group One Real Estate in Tewksbury. Kevin provides the experience and insight to help get your home sold.