Harris Interactive reports most baby boomers are still in the workforce, and are a driving force in the housing market. The same report concludes 42% of baby boomers would like to retire in the South, 32% in the Western United States, 15% in the Midwest, and 12% in the Northeast. Which means the bulk of opportunity for marketing luxury real estate remains in the Sunbelt.
Four out of ten or 40% of baby boomers own second, separate vacation homes. In fact, baby boomers account for 57% of all vacation home ownership, and own 58% of all rental properties in the United States. Ten percent of baby boomers plan to buy real estate over the course of the next year. Two-thirds of those will buy a new home, a second home or commercial property.
According to a National Association of Realtors survey, baby boomers expect to use a professional realtor when they buy property. Not only will they utilize real estate agents, but they will demand excellent service and expertise from their agent. Of boomers in the rich category, 97% own homes, and 47% own other additional real estate.
Interestingly, American Demographics states the future intentions of baby boomer regarding real estate investments, their thinking, and attitudes are influenced by the media and outside pressures, including marketing.
Bellmarc Realty, which is a leading residential broker, offers the following advice for marketing real estate to affluent baby boomers:
Baby boomers believe bigger is better, so they are attracted to larger custom houses in luxury gated communities.
Use word-advertising to describe and promote large luxury houses. Most baby boomers have acquired many possessions over time and need lots of space.
Luxury properties should be suggested as long-term investments. Generally speaking, the appreciation rate on luxury houses is exceptional. Affluent baby boomers are very concerned with investment potential, which heavily affects their decision to purchase.
Location remains vital to affluent baby boomers. They desire traditional residential neighborhoods, especially if gated and exclusive.
Baby boomers find large, luxury houses with panoramic views very appealing.
Many rich and ultra-rich baby boomers desire spacious apartments in long-established co-ops, especially in the Eastern United States, since many of them come from sorority/fraternity backgrounds. In such instances, co-ops carry definite snob appeal, which is usually best described as “upper-class luxury.”
Affluent baby boomers often want to see all available luxury properties before they make a decision, so real estate agents should be prepared to be helpful and generous with their time.
Younger baby boomers, those in the 45 to 50 age-group, are interested in “up-and-coming” neighborhoods. The investment potential may take longer to reach fruition, but they are willing to wait.
Make sure to mention at least one nearby “destination restaurant” to younger baby boomers.
Younger baby boomers are interested in luxury apartments as long as they come with a doorman, an elevator, service amenities, and exclusive designer interiors. Younger boomers relish the latest gadgets and chic name brand appliances as well.
Since most baby boomers are still working full-time, and are technologically capable, use e-mail and cell phones to contact prospective clients. Phone calls and e-mails should be short, because baby boomers are busy and on-the-go.
A portion of affluent baby boomers, according to the National Association of Home Builders, desire to “age in place.” This means they will not purchase new houses. Instead, they will re-model their present houses. Baby boomers in this segment want easy-to-use luxury products, such as more efficient lighting, convenient control devices, easy-grip handles and luxury cabinet hardware, adjustable showerheads, seats, bars, and luxury bathtubs with textured bottoms. Other desired luxury items include low-step showers, wider doorways, ground-floor bathroom additions, hardwood flooring, luxury carpeting, electric stair-lifts, and even in-home elevators.
Zero maintenance is of primary importance to affluent baby boomers. Many of them own two or more homes and they do not want to worry about security or upkeep when they are gone. They also want energy efficiency and attractive exteriors in their properties.