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How to Snag Baby Boomer Real Estate Leads

August 04 2019

moving matureNeed listings? Our advice is to get very familiar with the older generations.

According to the chart on page 96 of NAR's latest Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends, 55 percent of all home sellers are members of the baby boomer (age 55 to 73) and silent generations (age 74 to 94).

When it comes to buyers, Millennials make up 39 percent of the pool, but those 55+ generations loom large as well, making up 37 percent of homebuyers.

As you know, Millennials are typically first-time homebuyers. The chances are quite good, however, that since 76 percent of boomers own homes, your older client will gift you with two transactions, both selling and buying.

You'll need to earn their business, though.

First, get to know them

They may be older, but they're not "old." And they aren't "seniors" either. In fact, "they flat out reject the term 'senior citizen' with all of the implications that come with the phrase," according to John Brandon, contributing editor at Inc. magazine.

If you want to market effectively to this generation, dump the stereotypes, warns Brent Green who wrote the book Marketing to Leading Edge Baby Boomers.

"They will not tolerate … generational stereotypes and clichés," he warns.

This brings us to the second misconception about baby boomer real estate consumers.

They're not tech dolts, either

Remember: the World Wide Web was created by baby boomers, so there's always been a certain curiosity about tech advances among the cohort.

Today, nearly 90 percent of adults between the ages of 50 and 64 use the internet regularly while nearly three fourths of those age 65 and older do, according to Pew Research.

Surprisingly, more than half of adults age 75-79 use the internet (there goes another stereotype!).

They make up a large part of that 90 percent of homebuyers who shop for homes online before calling an agent.

How to market to older Americans

If you plan on concentrating your marketing efforts on the baby boomer generation, start with your website; ensure that it's boomer friendly.

Remove anything that may be offensive or makes you appear out-of-touch. Remove the words "seniors" and, most especially, "elderly." Use "mature," "50+" or "baby boomer" instead.

Avoid referring to them as "retirees," as boomers make up nearly 30 percent of the workforce.

Use a slightly larger font to make your content easier to read so they'll stick around longer.

Sprinkle your pages with testimonials – this type of social proof means a lot to this cohort.

Then, work on beefing up your content to match what boomers are seeking:

  • Community descriptions and resources
  • Keep it hyper-local
  • Educate – it's been awhile since they've been involved in a real estate transaction.

Not all of your content should be about real estate. Use your hyper-local posts to highlight nearby businesses or amenities that serve their interests. Some of these include:

  • Dining out
  • Entertaining
  • Gardening
  • Golf
  • Home improvement
  • Online and video games
  • Travel
  • Walking, jogging, hiking
  • Working out at the gym

Don't neglect to share your content on social media. This generation is especially prevalent on Facebook and LinkedIn, according to Irfan Jafrey at Forbes.com.

Additional marketing ideas

Two themes regularly appear in real estate articles and studies of baby boomers: they will either age in place or sell their homes and rent.

They may say they want to age in place, but reality is setting in: it's going to take a lot of time, effort and money to retrofit their current homes. Even if they have the time, effort and money, they simply no longer need as much space.

It turns out, however, that aging in place doesn't necessarily mean aging in this place. Older adults are "redefining what it means to age in place, with one in four planning to move to a new home to accommodate changing needs that come with aging," according to recent research from Home Instead Senior Care.

"A growing number of older adults no longer see aging in place as having to stay in the same home where they've lived for decades and perhaps even raised their family," according to the company's gerontologist, Lakelyn Hogan.

One-story homes, less square footage and low-maintenance landscaping are about to become quite popular in the real estate world.

Use your real estate postcards, newsletter articles and social media shares to help educate boomers on the benefits of buying another home instead of renovating their McMansions and of owning over renting.

Overall, your older clients expect to be taken care of with excellent customer service. Provide it and you'll get the bonus – they love to refer their friends and family members to those who have served them well.