You'd do well this year to remember the forgotten generation ... that's what Generation X has been dubbed. But these folks, ages 37 to 51, are the only generation to buy more homes in 2016 last year than it did in 2015, according to a new National Association of Realtors' (NAR) report.
NAR adds that more Gen X sellers are expected to enter the real estate market this year.
Okay, that sounds pretty good, but here's why else should you pay attention to Xers:
- They're making the most money with a median $106,600 annually. Younger boomers (aged 52 to 61) make $93,800; millennials (36 and younger) earn $82,000
- They're the largest generation with the kids still living at home, so schools and roomier homes are on their radar
- Gen X sellers' have built enough equity to sell and trade up to a larger home
- The share of Gen X homebuyers grew to 28 percent -- the largest percentage since 2014
- Gen X homeowners represented the largest share of sellers in the past year (27 percent), followed by older boomers (23 percent) and younger boomers (20 percent).
And perhaps most importantly, they're happy to work with real estate pros. A full 88 percent of Gen Xers worked with a real estate professional to buy or sell a home. Plus, NAR says over 80 percent of Gen X buyers consider a home purchase a good financial investment.
So, what do you do with this promising information? How do you tap Gen Xers? Here are some tips to keep in mind as you market to -- and work with -- this age group:
1. Single-family dwelling and schools are still important. As I mentioned, Gen Xers still have kids so convenience to schools carries weight. And Gen X buyers represent the largest share of single-family, detached homebuyers (85 percent).
2. Continue to cultivate your online presence. Gen Xers are following their younger counterparts when it comes to searching for real estate - upwards of 88 percent start with the Internet followed immediately by real estate agents at 87 percent.
3. Go with open houses. Yes, the marketing tool of holding an open house is particularly effective for Gen X buyers. They like to see, touch, and smell.
4. Focus on family and friends. Research shows that while younger buyers were more likely to need a larger home or move for job relocation, Gen Xers want to be closer to family or friends. They also often said their current home was too large.
5. Keep a sense of urgency. Gen X sellers are the most likely group to have wanted to sell their home earlier but waited because their home had been worth less than their mortgage. Now that the market is stronger, emphasize the timeliness and the fact that interest rates are on the rise.
6. Strengthen your referral networks. A full 60 percent of sellers found a real estate agent through a referral by a friend, relative or neighbor, or used their agent from a previous transaction. If you're not asking for referrals, you're asking for trouble.
And let me hear from you: What do you think about Gen Xers. Have you segmented your marketing efforts to better communicate to different demographics in your farm area? Where are groups of Gen Xers meeting in your part of the country? What can you start doing today to improve your chances of reaching this important group?
Bubba Mills is the CEO of Corcoran Consulting and Coaching Inc. (www.corcorancoaching.com/programs, 800-957-8353), an international Real Estate, Mortgage, and Small Business coaching company. Mills is a nationally recognized speaker, coach and mentor to the top real estate agents and mortgage companies. Visit us at www.CorcoranCoaching.com.