August 8, 2018

Looking out for Gen Z

Almost every segment of the real estate profession today is aimed at the millennial generation.

Which makes sense. At 80 million strong, millennials—those born roughly between 1981 and 1996—are the largest demographic in history. And now, many have graduated college, begun careers and families and are settling nicely into their prime spending years.

But time marches on, and it’s not too early to be talking about the next wave of potential homeowners: Generation Z.

Made up of the 75 million Americans born since 1996, Gen Z is expected to start buying homes in earnest within 5 to 10 years. And analysts say they’re going to be a bargain-hunting, tech-loving, real estate–savvy force to be reckoned with.

Having watching the Great Recession unfold, most are financially conservative. They know the value of a dollar and the mathematics behind long-term investment. With that savings know-how, many will be ready with a down payment when the time comes. The same can’t be said for millennials.

Raised on reality TV, they also know about the true value of housing. They know to ignore insignificant cosmetic problems in search of a good deal, the same way DIY flippers do on HGTV and Lifetime.

At the same time, they won’t gravitate toward a complete rebuild. They’re largely risk averse, and most would rather save money than spend it.

Here’s something else that should come as no surprise: Gen Z loves their tech. In fact, 90 percent plan to find the home of their dreams online, and many want real estate professionals to reach out to them on social media versus email or online advertisements.

That said, here’s a social media marketing tip: Gen Z sees Facebook as an old-person’s platform. So get hip to the kids with phone-friendly platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Tumblr. Most use their phone to research purchases before they buy and are even unabashed about pulling out phones to look for better prices right in front of salespeople.

In addition, Gen Z has higher expectations for in-home technology. What’s considered a smarthome of today probably isn’t going to cut it.

This generation values home ownership and sees it as an ultimate life goal. So much so that 97 percent of Gen Z plan to own a home before the age of 30, with 81 percent planning to enlist the help of a real estate professional.

Real estate professionals need to learn about this demographic ahead of time. That’s the only way to update sales approaches and technology to meet their needs and desires when the time inevitably comes.