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The Youth Myth: Why It’s Hip To Be Square in Real Estate Brokerage

You’re just back from Inman Connect?  Forget everything you heard there.  Chasing the hip, young 18-34 market is great if you’re selling sneakers but could be detrimental to the health of YOUR business for the next 7 years.  Here’s why:

Five reasons why you should avoid the 18-34 year old market for the next 7 years:

1- They ain’t got no money.

2- They don’t trust real estate as an investment.  This demographic believes that real estate is either perpetually overpriced or that it is dangerous.  Some eschewed the asset class, some leveraged it irresponsibly and lost.  It’s not that they don’t trust you because you’re a shady REALTOR, they don’t trust your product.

3- They view you as a functionary.  Your value hasn’t been established to them because they haven’t had good experiences with real estate.  They see you as an over-priced clerk because they watched you make “easy money’ while they chased the overpriced asset.

4- They need a lot of education…lots of it.  Since old is now new (in lending), the young are basically dinosaurs.

5- They really don’t have any “pain”.  They’ll be focusing on mitigating losses rather than maximizing wealth.  Their “pain” is best served by loss mitigation specialists and not wealth maximizers.

So…if that’s true, why the hell are you screwing around on Facebook and Twitter? Because the fastest growing user groups on those two social networks are the cheese, baby…the 45-65 age group.  If you want to sell or finance a lot of homes in the next 7-10 years, look for the baby boomers. Here’s why:

Five reasons the 45-65 market is the ticket to “real estate riches” until 2015:

1- They have the money and they’re getting a truckload more .  Baby boomers are in their peak earning years and are inheriting the largest transference of wealth, in history, as their WW2 generation parents pass away.

2- Boomers LOVE and trust real estate as an investment.  They’ve had great experiences with real estate as an asset class want to own 2 or 3 homes in retirement (this is a group that could buy twice as many properties as their children in the next 7 years).

3- They value you as a fiduciary, not a functionary.  They recognize, respect and want your expertise.  While they’re smart enough to figure it out on their own, they’re too busy going to concerts, visiting grandchildren, and staying in shape to pore over spreadsheets.

4- They’re already educated.  They understand the formula to real estate riches; buy, leverage responsibly, repeat.

5- They got pain…lots of it.  They think they’re going to live forever and don’t think they have enough money to do it.  They see real estate as an asset class to ease that pain.

The RE.net and the blogging Babbits are buying into the biggest lie ever foisted upon us by tech vendors; worship at the fountain of youth.  Follow the money, not the crowd.  You might not become famous but you certainly will get rich.

NEXT:  I’ll be talking about effective ways to market to Boomers online.  Think Bawld Guy; while he appears to be hip, he’s really square..which makes him..successful.

PS:  I’m generalizing when I categorize the demographic groups.  There are a lot of successful and responsible 18-34 year-olds but your odds are better with their parents until 2015.  The cool part is that 80% of your competition will buy into the Youth Myth while you clean up on the Boomers.

PPS:  You don’t have to be a Boomer to serve them.  Cher and Demi don’t practice age discrimination.

66 comments

66 Comments so far

  1. Rich Jacobson July 26th, 2008 12:27 am

    I wanted to leave my comments on AR, but couldn’t.

  2. Todd Carpenter July 26th, 2008 12:38 am

    Marketing to Gen X/Y had nothing to do with what I learned an Inman this year, but I do generally agree with your point that you shouldn’t just focus on young people.

    Of course, I don’t think you should focus on older people either. The last time I got into a generational studies argument, I ended up loosing a friend. I’ll end by saying I take people one by one. Marketing to a “group” never seamed like a particularly smart idea.

  3. Anonymous July 26th, 2008 1:25 am

    And those young people, not only what you said, but they just never stop texting! Check this out! http://ta1kinghead.wordpress.com/2008/07/25/stupid-is-as-stupid-does-careless-texters-get-their-due/

  4. Greg Swann July 26th, 2008 2:31 am

    Utterly briliant. It’s a thrill to watch you work. Cathy and I were in an amazing neighborhood of Orlando last night, maybe $800,000 to $2.5 million. Perhaps another $250,000 to $500,000 in vehicles at every home. I would be amazed if there were any homeowners under 34.

  5. Lenn Harley July 26th, 2008 3:23 am

    You’ve discovered one of my secrets. Talk to people who are buying.

    I disagree about baby boomers these days. The second home market is not good because they have financing concerns and rightly so. They can’t move up or down or away because they can’t sell what they have for the price they’ll take.

    We’re marketing to relocating families who want to buy where their children will be in stable public school communities and to first time home buyers, any age, who benefit from grants and foreclosures.

    Bottom line is, we’re selling.

    Lenn Harley
    Broker
    Homefinders.com
    Serving home buyers in Maryland and Northern Virginia

  6. Mike Taylor July 26th, 2008 4:41 am

    This is the one of the best posts I have seen here is a while. Great advice and I love the breakdown of the psychology of the different demographics. I had never thought about it like that before.

  7. Dan July 26th, 2008 5:11 am

    I have a different experience with the Gen Y crowd. I have been selling mostly to them, not because I have been seeking them out but because they have been finding me online. They are the internet generation and many of them have not experienced any kind of economy but this one. They want the same thing their parents had, a home, kids good schools. I am finding that they make a surprisingly lot of money and are not encumbered by too much debt. (BTW I am 56)

    My experience with the baby boomers is that they are worried about the economy and more cautious on making a change. But I appreciate the perspective as Sly said, “Different strokes for different folks!”

  8. Tom Vanderwell July 26th, 2008 6:04 am

    Brian,

    If I could tip my hat to you online, I would. You say it well and it makes a lot of sense. I see it every day.

    Tom

  9. Eric Blackwell July 26th, 2008 6:08 am

    Brian- @the wise crack about Cher and Demi…LMAO…

  10. Doug Quance July 26th, 2008 7:29 am

    There is more than a kernel of truth is the words that you write…

    The last Gen Y’er I helped get into a home promptly ran his phone bill up to nearly $1000 TWO months running… and soon lost his home to foreclosure. True story. More faith in the text message than a roof over his head. Go figure.

  11. Chris Lengquist July 26th, 2008 7:39 am

    I didn’t go. But I can tell you some of my best clients are 34 or less. Having said that, I’d starve to death working with just them. Most of them fall under your 1st point.

  12. Hunter Jackson July 26th, 2008 7:39 am

    While I agree mostly with what you say, there is one thing I don’t agree with:

    “1- They ain’t got no money.”

    Yes they do. Well, we do. I am 23.

    The majority of the Gen Y demographic buying houses have money, good jobs, etc. While they may not be purchasing the multi million dollar houses, at least they are purchasing.

    If they do not have money, mommy and daddy do and more than willing to help them out by turning over their piggy bank.

  13. Brian Brady July 26th, 2008 8:25 am

    “Marketing to a “group” never seamed like a particularly smart idea.”

    It’s the ONLY thing to do; it’s called niche marketing.

  14. Eric Bramlett July 26th, 2008 8:31 am

    Wow…finally someone tellin’ it like it is. I have a post I’ve been kicking around in my head about qualifying your ideas (i.e. how much money has it made you?) before putting them out there for everyone to celebrate. Just b/c twitter’s cool doesn’t mean you need to tweet – ya know?

    With that said, I have to disagree with a lot of your generalizations about 18-34. If you play that rule (stay away from them) hard and fast, you will work more efficiently, but you’ll also miss out on some great sales. Probably 1/3 of my business is 18-34. Since I’m 29, it works itself out naturally. Here’s what I don’t agree with:

    1) They ain’t got no money: Generally, yes. However, there are many that do got lots of money. Tech Boom Round II, anyone? Maybe it’s b/c I’m in Austin, but I sell LOTS of houses (2 this month) to engineers & programmers in the demo.

    2) They don’t trust real estate as an investment: Again, maybe it’s because of my market, but the X/Y’ers that I deal with LOVE real estate, and think it’s going nowhere but up (locally and long term.)

    3) They value you as a functionary: The X/Y guys that I work with know that they don’t need you to get the listings. The only truly “old school” value (you have to go through us to get to the homes) that we provide is the supra key. The X/Y guys use me b/c they know that buying a home is scary, and that I’ve been through the process more times in a few months than they will in a lifetime.

    Again – I LOVE the post, and I think it’s high time we start qualifying our ideas.

  15. Bob July 26th, 2008 8:38 am

    “I take people one by one. Marketing to a “group” never seamed like a particularly smart idea.”

    Amen.

  16. Dr. Beatrice Rowles, PhD FUBAR July 26th, 2008 8:56 am

    BLASPHEMER! HERESY! APOSTATE!!

    How dare you presume to challenge the wisdom of chasing the all-mighty youth? Who the hell do you think you are?

    Do you know how much work it is, and time it takes, to deal with people who know what they are doing? The old Boomer farts understand Real Estate, so they expect their agents to know things and show up for appointments. B-O-R-I-N-G!

    With the kids, you just send a text: “Sorry Dude, somebody handed me some crazy digity-dank at Dave M last night, LOL” — and you’re in!

    Lots of Boomers already have agents they trust. What can you sell, I mean tell, a new agent that will overcome THAT? I’ll tell you what..Nothing! Not a damn thing, so you go after the newbies. They will have money someday if they don’t already. Mark my words.

    Are you using the latest tech trends to cover up your lack of knowledge and spending time on Twitter instead of following up on leads? If not, you are missing out on the easiest way to make a buck since God invented commissions.

  17. David G from Zillow.com July 26th, 2008 9:01 am

    The 18-to-34 demographic will always be more fickle and entitled and less risk averse than their parents. That’s youth for you. And we will certainly exit this mess with a lower homeownership rate than we went in with and that’s normal for any correction. Put the two phenomena together and yes, the FTHB market won’t be as strong for the next decade as it was in the last. But if this advice to ignore the young demographic goes mainstream I’d personally be swimming into the blue ocean of Gen-Y buyers.

    While you’ve accurately analyzed challenges on the demand side of the market, Brian, ignoring the supply side of the equation. The average Realtor is 52 years old! Most Realtors still sell predominantly to their SOI and those folks are their 52 year old peers. Until this demographic on the supply side changes significantly, the boomer market will remain the red ocean in Real Estate and any Realtor trying to start their career there will probably fail unless they have a large local network. The sweet-spot may be in the 34-45 gap but your mileage will vary depending on your local competition and demographic.

    Some critical feedback; I’m personally finding the relentless Inman-bashing here this week detracts from otherwise great content. And you’re sending mixed messages; twitter for example was a major feature of the Bloodhound Unchained agenda – are advocating forgetting everything we heard at the Herd?

  18. David G from Zillow.com July 26th, 2008 9:09 am

    PS – I’m not advocating twitter and facebook as great marketing venues; I don’t think that they are (for most folks.) Facebook, in particular, is a relationship maintenance tool, not a prospecting tool. Friending people you hardly know on facebook is bad for business; it’s spam. As for twitter; it’s an extremely tight and geeky niche. If geeks are your peeps, then by all means, tweet your rates and listings. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time there too (for now.)

  19. David G from Zillow.com July 26th, 2008 9:13 am

    Corrections:

    “… Brian, you’re ignoring …”
    “… advocating FOR …”

    Off to get coffee.

  20. Brian Brady July 26th, 2008 9:56 am

    David,

    I’m being intentionally dramatic when I say ignore the 18-34 market. Of course we’ll serve them but our marketing efforts are better spent on the folks who will most likely produce 2-3 times the volume as their children in the next 7 years.

    Age of providers is irrelevant. The “54 year old REALTOR” is actually respected highly by the under 40 market. Wanna know how I know this? The younger generation tells me they wish the listing agent was their REALTOR, after the transaction is closed.

    Nobody will be swimming in a sea of Gen Y buyers because 80% of the REALTORS and originators will be chasing them. That’s the beauty of these industries; most listen to the wrong advice and follow the crowd and not the money.

    Check your demos, David. I’ll bet your users are surprisingly…old (and rich)

    “Facebook, in particular, is a relationship maintenance tool, not a prospecting tool. Friending people you hardly know on facebook is bad for business; it’s spam”

    Opinion, David; not fact. The facts are that the over 40 market LOVES to connect with strangers online. They join groups, attend teleseminars, and more actively discuss business-related ideas than their kids, on Facebook.

    There is a correct way to approach it and a gauche way, as well. I advocate the correct way.

  21. Teri Lussier July 26th, 2008 11:03 am

    I only do work that makes me smile: I’m thoroughly enjoying GenY. They are footloose and fancy free, playful, fun, and ready to rock. They get me, I get them. They are low baggage, low maintenence, real estate sponges, who don’t come crammed with crappy past experiences I have to work around and overcome before they trust me.

    Am I getting rich? Well. I ain’t unhappy, and 5-7 years from now? I’ve got something in the pipeline.

  22. Jeff Brown July 26th, 2008 1:21 pm

    Hip to be square. Someone should write a rock n roll song about that.

    I’m readin’ a lot of statements made here as if they’re as reliable as gravity. Gravity works every time it’s tried. Really, they’ve done tests and everything. Facebook, twitter, and the rest of the social media magic pills are still waiting for the jury’s decision as it relates to efficacious marketing.

    Our clients run the age gamut. In fact, while composing this comment, I took an hour off to speak to a 34 year old NY woman, (Manhattan) who stumbled across our blog. It’s my experience the 25-39 year olds coming to us are tired of the ‘remote control’ environment of online life. They quickly learn they in fact don’t know it all, just like we all learned at that age.

    This young lady makes $150-200K/yr. She’s now in areas I wouldn’t have put her, with no more equity. Fortunately she can hold on ’till things change. Think she’s enamored with using me just as a facilitator? Not frickin’ likely. She wants my professional advice, expertise, and experience. She’s already learned what the Gen-Y (or Gen-whatever) house agent can do for her when it comes to investing.

    2/3 of our clients are over 40. Of that group, half are over 50. Of the under 40 group, often our biggest problem is slowing them down. Many have more testosterone than is safe. :)

    There’s also a kind of paradox working for younger folks today. If they’re earning six figures, they tend to listen more. Sure, they’re also more technically aware. But that doesn’t seem to negatively impact our interactions with them. They come to us to answer the questions they don’t know to ask.

    And there’s the crux of much of that age group’s financial problems, if they have them. Like us at that age, they don’t think there ARE questions they don’t know to ask. Those are the folks buying homes (to live in) from Eric Bramlet, Benn Rosales, Andy Kaufman, and Brad Coy to name a few. Those guys speak their language big time.

    Investing though? The really smart ones realize early on they need to talk to a boomer. :)

    That’s when it becomes hip to be square.

  23. Sarah Stelmok July 26th, 2008 2:03 pm

    Ummm… I think you grossly misunderstand the 18-34 year old age range. I would love if you stop marketing to them; that leaves more of them for me! I find that this age group is very educated, cautious, and they do understand my value to the transaction. Although loyalty is harder to build, it is very obtainable as long as you don’t underestimate them. I am making plenty of money because this age range chooses to work with me. And in 5-7 years they will be having children, changing jobs, and ready to buy a new house. I would say that my 5-7 year outlook is very bright. Please feel free to pass your unwanted Gen-Yers and Gen-Xers my way!

  24. Robert Kerr July 26th, 2008 2:57 pm

    RE: “They ain’t got no money”

    Therein lies the fundamental reason for the current state of the RE market: from ~’02 until ’07/’08, “[buyer] ain’t got no money” didn’t matter one bit to anyone involved in the transaction.

  25. Brian Brady July 26th, 2008 3:38 pm

    “I would love if you stop marketing to them; that leaves more of them for me!”

    You’re missing and the comments are proving my point- 80% of the agents (and originators) are chasing this market. The smart ones are doing all the transactions at the top of the food chain.

    Follow the money, not the crowd.

  26. Sarah Stelmok July 26th, 2008 5:41 pm

    Just because I don’t agree with you doesn’t mean I missed what you were trying to say. I just don’t agree with you. I also know that I am a very smart agent and therefore I am not following money or clients. My clients come to me. By me being a good agent, the money comes to me as well. I am actually doing very well in this market because I set up a sound business plan in the good market. That business plan is based off of the Gen-X and Gen-Y buyers and sellers. I also do not use Facebook, etc… as a part of my business plan. I personally hate when agents market their wares to me in social networking venues. If working with Gen-X and Gen-Y doesn’t work for you, then it shouldn’t be your business plan. But it does work for me and plenty of other agents and originators.

    P.S. If you don’t want comments that do not praise your opinion, you shouldn’t allow comments.

  27. Brian Brady July 26th, 2008 6:00 pm

    Sarah:

    That’s great news! You are head and shoulders above most agents (and originators). Most agents wander aimlessly with NO marketing plan in place. They rely on, as David G pointed out, sphere of influence, to garner business. It’s a “passive” approach.

    What I discuss is EFFECTIVE marketing efforts. If 4 out of 5 agents are chasing a group who will buy half as many properties as their parents, aren’t the odds supremely better ( not for you, specifically but for the “aimless agents”)by chasing the over 45 crowd?

  28. Teri Lussier July 26th, 2008 6:13 pm

    Brian-

    Where are you getting 4 out of 5 agents are chasing this group?

    Offline, most agents I know are chasing the boomers.

  29. Sue July 26th, 2008 6:36 pm

    I work with and get along well with all age groups. My younger clients pull their parents into the picture anyway. Thats ok with me as then I establish even more contacts.

  30. jaybird July 26th, 2008 6:41 pm

    18-34 yr old market rox! It’s that simple and they prob make up 50% of my business. I must say that in the Northern Virginia and DC metro area, the 18-34yrs market may be a bit more evolved than other markets around the country as the cream of the crop often come here to advance their careers. Most are driven and very ambitious and make good money….They also love the brutal honesty and transparency of RE blogging when done right.

    And it’s great that they also move up or leave the area in a relatively short time compared to other age brackets.

    J

  31. Jeff Brown July 26th, 2008 6:58 pm

    Sarah — You said, My clients come to me.

    How, specifically do your clients find you? Sounds like you kick some pretty impressive booty.

  32. Thomas Johnson July 26th, 2008 7:15 pm

    Thanks, Brian. I am glad that some of us will still be doing deals by talking with our lips rather than our thumbs for a while.

    @Jeff: Gravity works every time it’s tried.
    It took Demi only half a million bucks to undo gravity.

  33. Jeff Brown July 26th, 2008 7:22 pm

    Thomas — Yup, and aren’t we glad she spent the money?

  34. Louis Cammarosano July 26th, 2008 8:11 pm

    What I learned in the past six months: there is too much focus on marketing and all its forms and not enough focus on the practice of real estate and customer service.
    We argue over different ways of getting customers, writing for google, getting better SEO, debating lead generation, discussing the efficacy of push/pull technique, considering blogging, hard sell/soft sell, lead capture or not, but next to nothing on how to work with customers to get their deals closed.
    Just because you know how to twitter or score high on Google doesn’t mean you know the first thing about real estate.

  35. Louis Cammarosano July 26th, 2008 8:47 pm
  36. John Allen July 27th, 2008 5:17 am

    Living in Sarasota Florida, about 90% of my business already comes from the 45-65 age demographic. I’m a youn Realtor (for Sarasota), but we do not actively go after the 18-34 crowd.

    Every market is different. The demographics of the community in which you practice real estate should be an important factor in determining where you want to focus your marketing efforts.

    Another factor is the real estate niche you work. We work the upper-end of the market and sell a lot of 2nd homes, luxury condos, vacation homes, golf course homes and retirement homes. There just simply is not a large supply of sellers and buyers of these types of properties in the 18-34 demographic.

  37. Sarah Stelmok July 27th, 2008 6:15 am

    Jeff Brown – I actually don’t spend that much money on marketing. I combine the “old school” approaches with “new school” approaches. I network with other real estate professionals via social networking, which gets my name out on a national and international level. That always helps with referral business, but only accounts for 10% of my business. But, it cost me $0 to get that business. And, I don’t pay referral fees for this business. There are many of us out there that won’t charge referral fees. 75% of my business comes from referrals from past clients. Customer service is key. I also set my clients up for success and they remeber that. The rest of my business comes from my website, which is switching over to my blog site, and my company. But, predominately, people find me via the internet and word of mouth. I also live in an area that has high turnover due to government jobs. Many businesses are recruiting the 22-40 age range. I am also in this age range and many of my peers don’t want to work with a “father or mother” type of Realtor. My average sales price is $428,957, so the broadly held belief that this age group can’t afford a nice house doesn’t hold water for me. 40% of my client basis is for investment purposes. And these investors are in the 22-42 year age range. And all this with a yearly marketing budget of $1700. It’s about working smarter, not pooring money into a marketing scheme that you don’t get a return on. (Side note: only 1 house I sold to a buyer has been foreclosed on and it was the buyer’s fault. They refinanced their house 4 times in one year and took the money and went on vacations. They were also 48 years old! I did have discussions with them about risky loans and they ignored me. They were foreclosed on 2 years after I sold them the house and before the height of the foreclosure mess).
    Your market is probably different than mine. There are plenty of agents in my market that can’t do what I do with the funds I do it with. That’s the beauty of this business. You don’t have to!

  38. Diane Aurit July 27th, 2008 6:23 am

    Brian, I have a number of sales that would contradict your theory on your 18-34 year old group. My youngest was 27 but I have a good number in their late 20’s early 30’s from all over the country. And, in many cases, this is not their first home purchase. I agree the boomers are a stronger niche but don’t neglect this generation x/y group!

  39. Brian Brady July 27th, 2008 6:30 am

    “I combine the “old school” approaches with “new school” approaches. I network with other real estate professionals via social networking, which gets my name out on a national and international level.”

    This is EXACTLY what we taught at Unchained, Sarah (and how Jeff is successful)

    “My average sales price is $428,957, so the broadly held belief that this age group can’t afford a nice house doesn’t hold water for me”

    It shouldn’t because you’re TARGETING high-income people. The broadly held belief is that over half you’re families, in Frederick, can’t afford that home. Why? The numbers don’t jibe. The median income for Frederick is some $60,000; that supports about a $220,000 mortgage. So broadly held, folks making less than $120,00/year can’t afford that $430,000 home. (See Robert Kerr’s comment)

    Sarah, I think you might be applying your unique and successful business development efforts as a corollary for the demographic group; that wouldn’t apply in the law of large numbers. That’s really my point.

    I’m not doubting your success. Most readers at Bloodhound are supremely successful agents and originators BECAUSE we discuss these theorems ad nauseum, here. Permit me this follow up question, Sarah; do you think your targeted marketing approach could be systemetized and applied, on a grand scale, for all agents?

  40. Sarah Stelmok July 27th, 2008 6:45 am

    Brian – I don’t live in Frederick. I live in Fredericksburg. I actually sell houses in the range of $75,000-700,000. That’s a pretty wide range. i do not target high end clients. I am also not a reader of Bloodhound. This link was posted on Twitter. I decided to read it. And you need to reread my last paragraph. My business plan does not work for everyone. I recognize my market is different. And, I don’t target per se. I put my information out there and people find me. My clients have ranged from 21-87 years old. All found me with the same tools. It is not my job to systemize my market plan and apply it to all agents. Just like you can’t do it for your market plan. All agents would not be successful with my clientele or my marketing plan. That’s why they chose me. My entire purpose for coming on here was to point out that Gen-X and Gen-Y are a pretty powerful group and there are agents out there that are very successful with this group.
    (I also don’t care if you doubt my success. But it would be nice if you were doing research on me in the correct marketplace).

  41. Geno Petro July 27th, 2008 6:53 am

    “1- They ain’t got no money.”

    Enough said. With the exception of a few trader types and the rare celebrity/pro-athlete, the 18-34 demographic in Chicago is mostly looking for cheap apartments to rent.

  42. Rebecca Levinson July 27th, 2008 8:25 am

    Brian,
    Bottom line is the internet should be used as a tool to find the true buyers. “Looky Loos” exist in every generation, as do money challenged folk- yes even baby boomers have these problems.

    I am not disagreeing with the complete context of this post as I have never thought that the Gen X and Gen Y crowd were the biggest goldmine out there. Ready, willing and able buyers are.

  43. David Shafer July 27th, 2008 8:31 am

    Like Brian, I have looked at the financials for many people in the younger age groups. And like Brian, I found that most have no money, and even worse, already are in debt. Of course, this is a generalization, but if you are setting up a marketing plan you need to take these generalizations into consideration. Most of my clients are older, as I am.
    I remember one particular person who came to me from a realtor. He was 24, had saved much money, and had a new job as an engineer. I was excited and spent hours talking to him about real estate and financing. He told me his future wife wanted to wait to after they got married to buy. Several months went by and some of my follow up marketing reached him. He responded that he was no longer interested in my services (never told the realtor) so I called him. His wife and him had gone to a developer of homes out in the outskirts of the county and bought using the developers financing since they got upgrades for doing that. This was early 2006. Since then homes in that area have lost 40% of their value because of the high foreclosure rates, empty houses and how far it was from jobs. It will be more than a decade before their home is worth what they paid for it. The ironic thing is that I told him to be very carefull buying in that area as did the realtor and the realtor had also warned him that the financing was expensive if you used the developers. We had several discussions about “location” and over supply of new homes with myself and the realtor present. I wonder about him as I read articles about his neighborhood troubles. The point of all this, is that I believe Brian’s original post is essentially correct and this is an example of why.

  44. Brian Brady July 27th, 2008 9:31 am

    “I don’t live in Frederick. I live in Fredericksburg.”

    Mea culpa. You get my drift, though. The numbers are somewhat identical for your town, no?

    “It is not my job to systemize my market plan and apply it to all agents. Just like you can’t do it for your market plan.”

    But I do. Otherwise I wouldn’t be offering advice for it.

    “My entire purpose for coming on here was to point out that Gen-X and Gen-Y are a pretty powerful group and there are agents out there that are very successful with this group.”

    I think Geno and Dave Shafer covered this with their comments.

    “I am also not a reader of Bloodhound. This link was posted on Twitter. I decided to read it.”

    Keep coming back- you have much success to share. I, for one, am intrigued with it and hope to learn more from you.

  45. Chris July 27th, 2008 9:45 am

    As a new agent IMHO its better to go after first time buyers and try to convert them to lifetime clients. The problem with going after the baby boomers if you are say a new agent in your 20’s is that, one they already have a trusted agent, two you could be their kid. So you have a big hump to get over.

    With the 18-34 demographic you also need to be carefull because a lot of them simply cannot afford a home. They love their $500 a month BMW payments, $200 a month cell bills, and lots have six figure college debt. So before getting to serios with them have a mortgage broker see if you should even be talking with them.

    Also I have noticed that even the ones with good jobs and lots of money saved up who could buy a home, don’t. They are very risk adverse, and until the market starts booming again will sit on the side lines. I think this is a stupid thing to do, because you are not going to build much equity by buying like that.

  46. pligg.com July 27th, 2008 9:47 am

    The Youth Myth: Why It’s Hip To Be Square in Real Estate Brokerage…

    Five reasons why you should avoid the 18-34 year old market for the next 7 years: 1- They ain’t got no money. 2- They don’t trust real estate as an investment. This demographic believes that real estate is either perpetually overpriced or that i…

  47. Jeff Brown July 27th, 2008 10:48 am

    Thanks Sarah.

  48. James Boyer July 27th, 2008 12:47 pm

    looking forward to your installment on marketing to boomers online. I currently do quite a lot of online work devoted to generating clients.

  49. Late Night Austin Real Estate Blog July 27th, 2008 1:04 pm

    As far as what age range to target I think it depends on the agent. The questions I would ask are ; what age group do you generally enjoy working with ; what age range do you think you convert more once you are in contact. Also the agents age matters. If an agent is 50 and their client base is 50 that works out pretty well. They will probably sell them their retirement house just as they are retiring themselves. If an agent is 23 their is a benefit to having a younger client base that will be around for multiple transactions over the years vs a 23 yr old agent with a client base that is 60.

    But basically I think an important question when going after a demographic is what demographic am I successful at converting. Personally I am not great at converting people over 60. I wish I was but I’m not. So I concentrate my marketing on clients that I am most likely to sell a house to.

  50. Jay Thompson July 27th, 2008 11:25 pm

    Great post Brian. Truly well done.

    But why the need to start it off with “You’re just back from Inman Connect? Forget everything you heard there.”

    Were you there? I was and don’t recall ever hearing this message. Clearly I didn’t attend every session, but I suspect I attended more than you did.

    How do you know what was said if you weren’t there? The Inman bashing was unnecessary, just plain silly (dare I say immature), and cheapens an otherwise brilliant article.

    Just MHO.

  51. Brian Brady July 28th, 2008 10:23 am

    Thanks, Jay.

  52. Alison Creamer July 29th, 2008 4:19 am

    Well, How many more baby boomers are going to continue to buy more homes the move up market is part of the best way to get future business as well. I think being well rounded and offering all types of service is the key. I do twitter, podcast and social network. I do this for the baby boomers kids who are impressed with how I helped mom and dad.
    Still a good blog just dont agree with all your saying
    Alison Creamer REMAX ALLEGIANCE

  53. Brian Brady July 29th, 2008 6:30 am

    “I do this for the baby boomers kids who are impressed with how I helped mom and dad”

    There’s the brilliance, Alison. Gen Y listens to their parents. Target mom and dad and the kids will follow.

  54. Greg Swann July 29th, 2008 7:55 am

    > “I do this for the baby boomers kids who are impressed with how I helped mom and dad”

    I’m with Brian. I like working with first-timers, but if Mom and Dad own a mountainside hacienda and three rental properties, so much the better. Networking is great, but networking downward makes less than perfect sense to me.

  55. Teri Lussier July 29th, 2008 8:05 am

    Greg, I was just about to say that.

    I was so sure you were wrong Brian, but I’ve been following the comment thread, and about mid-afternoon on Sunday, the light bulbs finally went on. I understand what you are saying, and it makes a lot of sense to me, so much so that I’m rethinking my marketing.

    Up on my hind legs! 😀

  56. Jay Thompson July 29th, 2008 8:39 am

    “Gen Y listens to their parents. Target mom and dad and the kids will follow.”

    So there’s hope Brian that some day my 14 and 16 year old will listen to me? 😉

    Actually, I think (hope) they will, but like any generation they probably won’t until they hit their 30s. Which incidentally is probably when they’ll start looking to buy a home…

  57. Brian Brady July 29th, 2008 8:56 am

    “Which incidentally is probably when they’ll start looking to buy a home…”

    BINGO!

    (some research states that the Gen Y kids are much more comfortable listening to their parents’ advice early)

    They might listen as early as 25, Jay !

  58. Irina Netchaev July 31st, 2008 8:21 am

    Brian, this is a perfect example of a niche marketing post. Both the boomers and the Gen Ys will buy, but what they will buy is very different. So… yes… divide them into groups and start drilling down further, decide who you like and enjoy working with and then target your marketing to those groups.

    This is a lot of food for thought. Thank you!

  59. Ken Smith July 31st, 2008 3:06 pm

    Brian not sure why everyone was so defensive about this topic. You provide some good food for thought. Can’t wait to see the posts about how to market directly to this demographic.

  60. […] other thing that is being talked about over at BHB is the notion that you should be chasing the best borrowers, and do it over and over again.  […]

  61. Kaye Thomas August 1st, 2008 11:15 am

    I market to buyers who are going to buy and sellers who will sell… and I don’t care how old they are…

  62. Ann Cummings August 3rd, 2008 3:13 pm

    Brian – interesting post and the comments have made it even more so. I will say that I agreed right off with some of your points in your post, the follow-up comments have enlightened me even more.

    Sarah made some really good points in each of her comments, and I really do love what Kaye wrote. My marketing plan is probably very similar to Sarah’s, and it works for me.

    And like Kaye, I market to those who need and want my services – no matter their age.

  63. Ann Cummings August 3rd, 2008 3:14 pm

    …and I’m always open to tweaking what I do when I see new ideas or a new way of looking at things! 😉

  64. Spencer Hill August 3rd, 2008 7:30 pm

    I get your point 18-34 yr olds are going to buy 1 house over the next seven years at a lower price than the 44 to 65 year olds will buy and they will buy 2 or more houses.

    As far as the asset class, beat up prices create value propositions. I haven’t purchased a new RE investment in over 4 years. Prices are now making things interesting.

  65. Tom Vanderwell August 5th, 2008 8:20 pm

    Brian,

    I thought of you and this post often today. I got 7 different e-mails at work today kicking off a great big marketing campaign to first time home buyers. Offering a “we’ll beat anyone’s rate or give you $50” special. Very price oriented, very much asking to be “shopped” and very much geared toward the people with no money.

    I just keep doing what I’m doing and going after my market and smile…..

    Thanks for bringing this out so well and fostering such excellent discussions.

    Tom

  66. Paul Francis, CRS August 7th, 2008 7:40 pm

    Interesting points Brian. Baby Boomers we are catering to that are relocating to Las Vegas have cold hard cash and we don’t have to worry about financing — an obvious benefit in the current environment.