The real estate industry is a competitive place. With over 2 million actively licensed agents, and only 5.5 million listings being sold each year, you must fight to hold your own.
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) latest report, housing inventory “sank to 1.07 million and a 1.9-month supply” back in December. So, it’s safe to say that many real estate agents and teams are ardently searching for new listings and properties to sell.
We’ve discovered a gold mine of listings we believe will be the wave of the future heading through 2021 and beyond. With listings lasting only a few days on the market — being purchased well above asking price — and buyers dying for a place to live, this group of homeowners may be the answer.
The segment of the market I’m talking about specifically are baby boomers: 55-plus homeowners, living in the big house their families grew up in. Now, they want to downsize into a smaller home as they grow older.
Numbered at 71.6 million in the U.S. alone, baby boomers make up a massive generation and hold about a third (or 33 percent) of all residential real estate in the country. Additionally, a 2019 Market Watch article stated that “roughly one in three homes in the U.S. is owned by someone age 60 or older.”
Needless to say, this is a big market that needs serving. But you probably already knew that. Many real estate agents and professionals have already helped many baby boomers move throughout the course of their careers.
But here’s where it gets exciting: Think about your other agent friends and what they do for marketing.
You may have some friends in the industry who market online, do Zillow leads, run Facebook ads or are active on Facebook with their sphere. What do all these ads have in common? They’re focused on buyers.
Don’t get me wrong. These methods work. There are plenty of agents making a killing with Facebook, Zillow and whatever other system they’ve plugged into and repeatedly built their business around.
However none of these methods target the 55-plus baby boomers who have a large house to sell and a new house to buy, and need help moving. Because of this, I believe the market is sleeping on what’s going to be the biggest opportunity for residential listings over the next few decades.
The Wall Street Journal reported that by 2037, “a quarter of the U.S. for-sale housing stock, or roughly 21 million homes, will be vacated by seniors.” Although this was published in 2019, and the coronavirus pandemic might have already skewed these numbers, we’re still likely to see baby boomers pass away in large numbers within the coming decades.
Last year, during its onset, the pandemic accelerated some boomers’ retirement plans, pushing them to “make real estate decisions they’ve been putting off — or they’re changing course entirely,” according to a realtor.com article.
In fact, the America at Home Study, which looked at consumer sentiment during COVID-19 in April, found that “35 percent of baby boomers 55 and older want to move out of their current home sooner than planned.”
With that said, a lot has changed since then, and what boomers are going to do — if they’ll make good on their plans to move or completely reverse-course and stay put — in the post-pandemic era is hard to predict.
In short, I’m not one to try and time the market. I can’t tell you when exactly boomers will move from or downsize their homes. All I know is this: It will happen, and when it does, there will be a gold mine of money to be made.
So what can you do now to position yourself to win big in this shift? Nobody is really targeting this demographic, so the space is wide open even if you’re not a master marketer.
Consider what would be important to you if you have been (or have parents) who were in a similar situation. Some people need help decluttering their belongings. Some people need help with moving and lifting heavy things.
Some people need help even defining their goals and deciding if downsizing is something they want to do. Those are three angles you can work to bring in new leads, add new services and get your foot in the door with baby boomers.
Find your own unique edge. Do your own research, and find a way to really pivot and meet these needs in a way nobody else does. What services could you offer to really stand out and over-deliver above the competition?
There are a million ways to serve these individuals, as the downsizing process has many different parts. The only question is: Where will you shift your business to pivot and deliver?