Selling House Porn to Gen X and Y

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Luxury Connect | Oct. 16-18 | Beverly Hills

Candy Evans is one of the nation’s leading real estate reporters, bloggers and consultants. She writes for AOL’s Housing Watch, Joel Kotkin’s The New Geography, and is now a guest blogger for Future of Real Estate Marketing (FOREM). She’ll soon be writing for Move.com. Candy holds a masters degree in journalism from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and has been a published writer for more than 25 years. She was a longtime contributing editor to Dallas’ D Magazine and sister pubs, and in 2007 founded the wildly successful Dallas real estate blog, DallasDirt, where she broke the news on where former president George W. Bush bought his Dallas home in 2008. She is the founder and creator of SecondShelters.com.

What is my absolute favorite part of real estate? Getting inside home after beautiful home to see what’s really behind those walls. I call it House Porn, bringing readers photos and descriptions of beautiful first and second homes I have been privileged to see. When I first started working on a real estate blog, I used to come home and want to completely re-decorate my own home. But I am of the generation raised by a mother who read Good Housekeeping, Family Circle and later, Architectural Digest. Of the three, I think more practical living tips came from GH and FC than AD. But AD was loaded with pages of beautiful homes that looked perfect, almost too perfect. My generation is still buying homes that way, web surfing over page after page of real estate porn, photos of granite counters, Wolf ranges, Kohler sinks and walnut floors. That 90 percent of all real estate search starts on the web surfing House Porn is no shocker. We Boomers have been looking at House Porn in magazines since Eisenhower.

Then comes Generation X, our kids. These are the ones who we empowered and hot housed and told they could be anything in the world because they were/are the most wonderful creatures, ever, gosh darn it. This is the generation that will have no one tell them what to do, not mom, not bosses, not government. It is OK, however, to be told you are a genius and the world is so lucky to have you. These kids have parents who call bosses and yell at them for making Johnny work too hard. So will this generation be into House Porn? After all, the web was coming around as they were growing up.

I think they will be into House Porn, maybe even more than their parents. The difference: they will have to make up their own mind, and not listen to agents or so-called “experts”.  They will have to verify everything ten times. Never mind what that mortgage broker says — if it doesn’t get explained on the internet, it doesn’t exist.

Now Gen Y, totally different story. These kids were not hot housed, they were warehoused and watched and told never to cross the street without a brigade on duty. They never played by themselves but had pre-arranged play-dates with kids who were drug-tested and screened for their IQ.

A rapid consumption generation, but they recycle. And they have a fear of trust because we were always afraid of something bad happening to them. These are the Facebook kids, who carry their friends in their cell phones . Are they going to utilize House Porn? You bet. Not only will they look at photos of homes and select favorite rooms, they will share these rooms with friends on Facebook and Foursquare, and with friends from across the world. Don’t forget these kids have been to Europe and the Middle East and came back oh so glad to be home, but their lives are all about relationships. Not only will Gen Y buy 6 to 12 homes around the world, they’ll be social nomads and re-unite with friends everywhere they go. It will be very, very important for this group to obtain the approval of their peers, get their blessing on Facebook and other platforms. And of course those listings are going to be passed to peers – what else? This House Porn is perfectly safe with this generation, as long as everyone “likes” it.

Are you into House Porn?