The faces of todays real estate consumer do not have many wrinkles!
While the median age of REALTORS® has remained constant for several years, the age of the real estate consumer is changing fairly dramatically. They are getting younger and younger.
According to NARs 2008 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the median age of a real estate consumer is 39 years old. The average age of first time homebuyers is only 30 years old. Real estate consumers continue to get younger on average. According to NARs 2006 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the median age of real estate consumer was 41 years and a first time homebuyer was 32 years old.
Conversely the average age of a REALTOR® is 51 years old. The median age of a REALTOR has remained consistent since 1999.
NAR 2008 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, NAR 2007 Member Profile
It is really important for the industry to understand the implications of the generational differences affecting the methods for communicating and connect to real estate consumers.
While many real estate professionals are moving to social networking and blogging reluctantly, the generation real estate consumers belong to has embraced these methods of communication. 93% went online to search for a home while only 34% attended an open house.
Interestingly 81% of buyers in 2008 used a real estate agent of broker in the purchase of their home. There has been a significant increase in the use of real estate professionals over the past 7 years. At the same time there has been a significant decrease in the number of homes being purchased directly from the homeowner. While younger consumers are using the Internet for a variety of communication methods, this has in no way reduced their interest in working with an agent or broker.
To capture the attention of todays real estate consumer agents need to become comfortable and active in the methods of communication used by their customers. They need to answer emails within minutes using their smartphones to keep them in constant touch. They need to embrace the new social networking technologies like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and others. They need to understand that younger consumers expect and require few quick feedback and they need to adopt technologies that connect them instantly via their phone like VoicePad and Real Ping.
Younger real estate consumers are also interested in learning from peers about the past performance of agents. While many agents are reticent to share satisfaction ratings, consumers are actively seeking out this type of information on-line. If you would like to learn more about the burgeoning area of reputation marketing, you can download a free white paper WAV Group just published on the topic here