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How to improve Sales using Generational Wants and Needs

There are many differences in the wants and needs of each generation during the home purchase process. By understanding these preferences you can focus on the right features during walk throughs and open houses based on a person’s age, as well as in the preparation of your real estate marketing materials.

An energy efficient home rates very highly for Baby Boomers.

The Study

According to a national study conducted by the National Association of Home Builders, they found that there were some interesting differences, particularly between Baby Boomers and the rest of the age groups. The study, “Housing Preferences of the Boomer Generation: How They Compare to OtherHome Buyers”, dug deep, covering all aspects of a home from size to specific rooms and features. There was a list of 150 features covered and those involved in the study rated the features they wanted and those they did not want. Findings were based on 4,326 responses from home buyers in general and also based on the following generations:

Wants by Generation

It is all about age, and looking at the differences between the younger generations versus the older, it is clear wants change as people age. Here are some breakdowns of the most wanted home preferences by generation:

Millennials want more outdoor space.

  • Millennials: Millennials are the only generation to include a deck, a patio, and a front porch on their top 10 most wanted features. They are also the only group that want both a shower stall and tub in their master bathroom. Having a formal space for a dining room tied in 10th place with Energy Star® rated appliances, exterior lighting was second and a living room took third. The number one position for the most wanted for Millennials was a laundry room. They also listed ceiling fans and main floor hardwood to round off the list.

  • Gen X: Gen Xer’s shared Millennials number one desire for a laundry room. However, clearly Energy Star® features were far more important to them with Energy Star® rated appliances, whole home and windows all appearing at the top of the list with a space in second for exterior lighting. Another commonality with Millennials was a desire for hardwood on the main floor, ceiling fans and a living room. They came in second for wanting the most outdoor space, looking for both a patio and a front porch. Gen Xer’s were the only generation that did not show any preference for bathrooms on their most wanted lists.

  • Baby Boomers: A laundry room did not even make it to the list when it comes to Boomers. Instead their top three spaces were taken up by Energy Star® rated appliances, whole home and windows. They also added insulation higher than code stressing their desire to save on energy bills. As well, outdoor living dropped in favor with only one outdoor feature listed, a patio in 9th place. They shared a desire for a full bath on the main floor with seniors and rounding off their list was a laundry room, exterior lighting and hardwood on the main floor in 10th.

  • Seniors: For seniors, it was outdoor space that did not rank on their most wanted list. They were also the only generation that did not mention hardwood flooring. They included kitchen features not mentioned by any of the other generations that included a double sink, as well as table space for eating. However they did share one thing in common with Millennials and Gen X which was a laundry room as their number one want. Coming in close second and third were Energy Star® rated appliances and whole home, with Energy Star® rated windows and insulation above required code further down the list in 9th and 10th place respectively. Their bathroom preference was main floor full bath and they also listed exterior lighting and ceiling fans to round off their list.

Seniors want table space in the kitchen for eating.

Most Unwanted Features

There were many things that all generations added to their most unwanted lists albeit in varying priority:

  • Home elevator

  • Cork floors

  • Living in a golf course community

  • Wine cellar

  • Pet washing station

Millennials and Baby Boomers included laminate kitchen countertops, yet interestingly neither listed granite nor other higher quality counter tops on their top 10 most wanted lists. As well they both listed not wanting only a shower stall in the master bath.

Millennials were the only group that listed His and Her baths as an unwanted feature and Seniors were the only ones that listed baseball/soccer fields and a game room as unwanted. They were also the only group that did not list living in a high density community and dual toilets in master bath.

Last but not least, all but the Millennials listed Daycare Centre on their lists, with seniors rating it as their number one most unwanted. Elevator took first for the other three generations.

By understanding these wanted and unwanted features you can direct potential buyers to the features they most want and be prepared with some good answers and solutions when they object to features they don’t. As well you can use the commonalities to draw attention to high priority wants and downplay the most common undesirable features throughout your real estate marketing campaigns.

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