One of the toughest challenges at the moment, noted Sherry Chris, CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC, in an Inman News interview during last year’s Real Estate Connect in San Francisco, is the big demographic shift in the homebuying crowd.

With a third of the real estate market occupied by baby boomers and another third represented by their children, the echo boomers, it’s difficult to serve them both well, as they have different needs and purchasing habits, she said.

One of the toughest challenges at the moment, noted Sherry Chris, CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC, in an Inman News interview during last year’s Real Estate Connect in San Francisco, is the big demographic shift in the homebuying crowd.

With a third of the real estate market occupied by baby boomers and another third represented by their children, the echo boomers, it’s difficult to serve them both well, as they have different needs and purchasing habits, she said.

"How do we continue to service the customer of today — those baby boomers who have driven the real estate market for the last 30 years — and also service the consumer of tomorrow?" she asked. "That’s a challenge, but it’s also a great opportunity."

Chris noted differences in what prospective homebuyers are looking for. "We noticed that consumers are looking for lifestyle and community above the actual dwelling itself," she said, and noted her company’s online "lifestyle search" feature.

"Today, people are thinking, ‘Where’s the nearest Starbucks?’" said Chris. Consumers want to see what the community looks like first, she noted, and not just the home itself.

Real Estate Connect NYC 2012 is just one week away. More info

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