Understanding Generational Trends in Home Buying and Selling Series: Part 1

Part 1: The Silent Generation and Baby Boomers

How does the real estate market affect generational trends in homebuying and selling, and how can real estate agents, mortgage professionals and title agents best assist each demographic? This blog series examines data from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) recent home buyers and sellers report through the lens of marketing research firms for the purpose of helping industry professionals identify key strategies for courting customers from different generations. This blog, the first in the series, focuses on older buyers and sellers. 

STRATEGY #1: Use Data to Create a Good First Impression

Smart companies use consumer data to better understand their customers, anticipate their needs and tailor their marketing efforts to create the best first impression possible.

Although the Silent Generation (born 1925-1945) accounted for just four percent of buyers in 2021, they represented the largest number of buyers to purchase new homes (at 20 percent), as new developments offer the appeal of less upkeep and need for renovations. Made up of mostly retirees, many in this generation are downsizing or seeking senior-specific communities. They are also looking for information on property tax and withholding, with many relying on their more tech-savvy children and grandchildren to help them maintain their property and finances.

The majority of home sellers in 2021 (42 percent) were Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964). Older Boomers (ages 68-76) are entering retirement, seeking less property maintenance responsibilities and downsizing to smaller spaces due to empty nests. However, one in six Younger Boomers (ages 58-67) show a preference for larger multi-generational homes to care for aging parents or accommodate adult children over the age of 18.

STRATEGY #2: Understand and Honor Customer Preferences

Customers look to real estate professionals for guidance when buying or selling a home. Therefore, it’s important to understand and honor generational preferences for communication, financing and more.

For example, the Silent Generation is more likely to purchase homes based on proximity to health and care-giving services. Twenty-eight percent chose senior-specific housing in 2021 to accommodate their needs. This group is the most likely to depend on a real estate agent for paperwork help, inspections and determining market value. They prefer to see prospective homes in person rather than online and have the lowest urgency when selling their home, preferring to wait for the right offer.

As Baby Boomers reach retirement age, many are looking to cash in on the equity they’ve amassed in their homes and move to metropolitan areas that offer better affordability and lower tax rates; ample access to health care; strong, diverse economies with part-time employment opportunities; moderate climates; and low crime rates. Sellers in this demographic are the most likely to depend on real estate agents for help marketing their home to potential buyers and many prefer to meet in person. As most sellers in this demographic are repeat sellers, Boomers generally depend on equity earned from their previous home to finance their new one.

STRATEGY #3: Show Care and Respect

Great customer service happens when customers feel known, heard, and valued. That means getting to know the people you serve, listening to their needs and showing them you care. For example, older generations may enjoy getting a handwritten thank you note, or a holiday card wishing them well. Like any relationship, customers who feel valued are more likely to remain loyal and recommend you to others.

There’s a reason countless Americans have relied on Old Republic Title for a century. Through changing markets and generational trends, we continue to offer personalized service and a variety of title insurance resources designed to help our customers protect one of their biggest investments. Whenever you’re ready to buy or sell your home, Old Republic Title will be there to help.


Copyright ©2022 “2022 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report.” NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. March 2022, https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/research-reports/home-buyer-and-seller-generational-trends