13% of the US population are 65 and older – a figure that has tripled from 4% in the 1900’s. In 2050 about 1 in 5 Americans will be over 65 yrs. About 5% will be 85 and older which is up from less than 2% in the 1900’s. In a survey by Pew Research Center the question was posed, “how long do you want to live?” and the average response was 89 yrs. old.
Neo-Traditionals are the buyers of today. In fact they never stopped buying. They have continued to buy in a recessionary market because they’re looking for things that connect with them on a personal level. They believe they have the judgment and experience as entrepreneurs to find the best properties; best buys and that they are the best screeners to find their property. More than any generation these Neo-Traditionals are predominately boomers.
Cultural opportunities and “what’s in the neighborhood” are very important to the Neo-Traditionals. A unique design in the home, more extras in the finish out, the Starbucks being walking distance to their home are examples of what stands out to them in importance versus the number of bathrooms or square footage of the house.
The following suggestions are how this new buyer applies to you and your advertising. You must emphasize what’s unique about the listing. You need to describe the experience of living in that particular community. Anything that differentiates this home from others must be expressed in the advertising. The traditional practice of giving snippets of information such as 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, 3 car garage, and oversized kitchen won’t do for this buyer. This buyer will just move on very quickly to the next ad since they are looking for more information.
The Neos are sophisticated buyers and they find you when they are ready. When they do get in touch with you due to “their search” on the web, they are more ready to buy than any buyer you have worked with because they have done their research. They are accustomed to making decisions for themselves but they will contact you with a specific list of questions for you on a particular property they are 80% ready to buy. This is your opportunity to connect. Don’t treat them as though they are just starting the housing search for they have spent hours screening up to this point of contacting the agent. Give them the benefit of making your services readily available.
Remember this group is not unique to a neighborhood or area so to find them you must gear your marketing services to catch their attention. Here are some additional suggestions: look at your listing from a different perspective. How does this house stand out from any other? What will this buyer get from moving into and buying this house? It could be the coffee shop down the street or it could be the ability to walk for 5 miles on the hike and bike trail that is ½ block from the neighborhood. Perhaps this community does a biannual triathlon for the home owners’ participation. Get the picture? We have to get more creative for the Neos. If there are environmental positives about the construction, these would definitely be mentioned in the marketing material.
How does the agent stand out from the crowd to get the Neo’s attention? Everyone is a multi-million dollar producer in all ads and business cards so that does not stand out. What are the things you are doing that would give you better exposure to this buyer or any buyer for that matter? Are you honest? How do you show this without simply saying it? Testimonials from clients which truly describe “what you did for them” are good methods of getting your professionalism across without your stating it yourself. Are you involved in activities the Neo can identify with? Pictures of yourself and family volunteering at an art festival or at a sporting event or charity function will get the message across visually. Write a blog giving sound information on the area you specialize within.
The boomers, the silents have proven they are not willing or expecting to live in retirement communities on a whole. Their preference is to live in a multi-generational neighborhood which allows for walking distance to shopping, grocery stores, gyms. With this in mind retirement communities have incorporated these accessible facilities into their communities. Planned communities have incorporated the multi-generational, easy access, amenity filled properties into their site plans. All our ads for any listings in our communities should focus on the same. With Neo-Traditionals being primarily boomers, a sprinkling of gen x, and some silent’s if we gear all our ads to giving more information instead of less information and we focus on the uniqueness of the house, neighborhood or community, we should have buyers staying in the buying mode for many years to come. The demographic of retiring buyers staying in the same house for many years is no longer the scheme of things. People are not retiring in place. Boomers are moving for amenities, boomers are willing to switch houses if there is something more personal in the community that attracts their attention. Are you the agent that will get the Neo’s attention? You will be if you change your old way of marketing your listings.