With all the talk about millennials, it is sometimes easy to lose sight of another crucial category of homebuyers — Generation X.
Although millennials comprise most of the homebuying population, research shows that Gen X comes in at a close second. Generation X consists of those born between 1965 and 1980.
There are a few important features to note about this group. They are buying homes earlier and starting families later. They are at the peak of their earning and spending years and, in turn, spend the most on homes.
Along with the millennials, this group is also very tech-savvy but has a better appreciation for the Internet because they can remember not having it.
This group is typically financially stable, with a budgetary plan instead of the huge line of credit that many millennials need. They are independent and want detailed information on their choices. They are interested in things including school ratings and the nearest grocery store.
They are good at creating a work/life balance, which puts them more in control of where they will be in 10 years — about how long they will stay in the home for which they search. Their kids are in school, but it won’t be long until they are moving into dorm rooms, and mom and dad can put a nice down payment on a smaller place.
There are several marketing cues that we can take from the characteristics of Gen X. First and foremost, greater than 90 percent of homebuyers, including Generation X, begin their home search online. Everyone is in a hurry these days, so if your site doesn’t show up until the second page of Google, then you probably aren’t getting too many conversions.
What does this tell me?
If you aren’t using search engine marketing and pay-per-click, then you should. Consumers have a short attention span, and there are only so many spots for advertising. With companies such as Zillow and realtor.com dominating the search results, it can be a bit crowded. Your campaign must be unique and aggressive if you want to stand out in that crowd.
Because Gen X members are at this particular stage of their lives, this isn’t their first rodeo. They are in the search for a home but typically also have a house to sell. If you can cater to both of these needs, double points for you.
Keep in mind that this group wins for having high expectations of sold data and off-market statuses because most of them will be selling their current home. If you can’t give them this information, they’ll just use a search engine to find it elsewhere, which won’t be on your site.
Remember, they’ve done all this before. Gen X knows the drill and won’t have quite as many questions or need as much help with the process and steps, which makes them a more low-maintenance client when it comes to the details of the transaction.
Likewise, expect to go straight to voice mail if you give them a call because, like millennials, they are a generation that seldom uses their smartphone to actually talk. Try sending a text or reaching out through social media. Not only does Gen X approve of this, but they expect it.
Make certain your platform notifies you the instant that your prospect is online and looking at a property because chances are, if you wait until tomorrow, their head will be elsewhere. Finally and most importantly, be available — even when you’re eating dinner.
In the technology age and the instant gratification that it supplies, expected customer service from an agent has gone from a 9-to-5 to an around-the-clock job.
Candi Looney is a marketing research analyst for Quantum Elite.