Generational Divide

by Stephanie Sims


Stephanie Sims is Chicago Agent’s managing editor.

There are many generations at play in America today: Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, and in case you haven’t heard, a new generation dubbed Generation Z for the time being (very creative). With multiple generations and multiple motivations behind homebuying decisions, it’s more important than ever to connect to clients in as many ways as possible. And catering to how your client wants to receive information has always been a factor in creating a good experience for clients, but it’s more than just text/email vs. pick up the phone and call – agents need to know their clients’ motivations behind decisions and what factors they are dealing with when it comes to purchasing a home in order to better serve them.

Practically every day, I read a report about Millennials, their preferences, their spending habits, their homebuying tendencies (or lack thereof) and how they differ from Baby Boomers. I also read reports about Baby Boomers and how their homebuying preferences are changing. There are 87 million Millennials compared to 76 million Baby Boomers, and while the majority aren’t yet buying in droves, thanks in part to student loan debt, the job market and other economic factors, they soon will be. According to a study done by Harvard, the number of Millennial households in their 30s is expected to increase by 2.7 million in the next 10 years.

Carolyn Duffy, pictured on our cover, is successful at working with clients from all generations, but some of the differences in how she adjusts her business practices can take some getting used to.

“The weirdest part for me is that I don’t get as much opportunity to have a long-term relationship with a Millennial when we are mostly communicating through texts and online signings,” she says. “We have to learn who they are and what they are a little more patiently. They’re not going to tell you too much about their life until down the road.”

Read more tips about how to appeal to all generations in our cover story on page 12, and email me with your thoughts about this issue: stephanie@agentpublishing.com.

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