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Are You Ready to Deal with Gen Y First-time Home Buyers?

June 29 2020

couple virtual homeI was recently involved in a real estate class and I noticed the ages of the attendees, from 18 years old to 70 years old, and thought about how the different generations communicate and absorb information. For a refresher, here is a quick breakdown of the generations:

  • Baby Boomers: 56-76 years old
  • Gen X: 41-55 years old
  • Gen Y (Millennial): 26-40 years old
  • Gen Z: 5-25 years old

Today, I want to focus on Gen Y, the generation also known as Millennials, that are 26 to 40 years old.

In my last article, "Shifting Population Due to Working Remotely," I wrote about the number of Gen Ys that will have the opportunity to relocate because of tech companies switching to permanen remote work. Let's do a deeper dive into what makes up Gen Ys. First, we can break the group down into two groups: Gen Y.1, which is 25-29 years old, and Gen Y.2, which is 30-40 years old. We can include both for some general conversation and will do a deeper dive on Gen Y.1 shortly for a reason.

There are about 95 million Gen Ys in this country, and they have different habits and beliefs than other generational groups. Ninety-five percent still watch TV, Netflix is their choice; 32% do online purchasing and have multiple social media accounts. They have less brand loyalty than other groups. Many have delayed major purchases and lifestyle changes like weddings and buying a home—BUT on the positive side, they want a partner to help them with large purchases like a home. This group also lacks patience and doesn't respond well when given poor service.

When it comes to income, some in this group are making crazy money, while others not so much—but they also have a plan. First, the true tech geeks in this group can knock down around $250,000 annually. As for others, household income can be over $70,000 due to both members of the household working. Once student loan debt is paid off, home buying is placed before things like getting married and starting a family.

Many of us use Facebook as the go-to social media platform, but for Gen Ys, they are drawn more to visual platforms such as YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram. Actually, Facebook usage drops with each younger generation to where Snapchat is the most used in this group—with almost three quarters of Gen Y using it six or more times a day.

Here's the challenge—many in Gen Y.1 making unbelievable money in tech can now live anywhere and work remotely. However, the average real estate agent is 53 years old, and these first-time homebuyers who depend on a partner are 26-29 years old. Normal ways that we have attracted and communicated with clients in the past just won't work. I personally have picked up a client from Snapchat and was very surprised when she reached out to me.

The things that stood out the most as I was researching this article was that many younger first-time home buyers are visual, demand good service, and what information they want they want it now! Oh, and adjust to starting a conversation with "Hey, dude."

Dick Betts is a REALTOR® in The Villages, Fla. for Touchstone Real Estate in Mount Dora. He's also a national speaker, trainer and consultant. Learn more at