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What Buyers Want From Real Estate Agents Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers

By Brian Kline | April 10, 2018

In residential real estate, somethings change and somethings remain the same. The first week of April, released its 2018 homebuyer study. The study reveals that buyers continue seeking easy-to-access data and agent support to make informed search and purchase decisions. New and important information shows that budget choices and how they work with their agent varies across demographics.

first time buyers

The survey data results come from more than 1,000 consumers who recently purchased a home. While 82 percent of buyers stated online access to data-focused property information was essential to their decision-making process, the study highlighted vast differences in the way millennials, Generation X (Gen X) and baby boomers manage their home buying budgets and work with real estate agents.

Generally, the age breakdowns of these generations are:

  • Baby Boomers were born 1946-1964 (sometimes listed as 1943-1964).
  • Generation X were born 1965-1980 (sometimes listed as 1965-1979).
  • Millennials were born 1981-1997 (sometimes listed as 1980-2000).

Home Searches and Agent Engagement

A supermajority (78%) of national homebuyers believe data and machine learning will have an important influence on the real estate experience over the next 10 years. However, Gen X is most self-directed when buying a home while millennials tend to be more reliant on their agent to do the work.

  • Gen X considers themselves more hands-on in the real estate process. They were the most likely to do their own research online to make decisions before initiating the next step with their agent (62 percent versus 59 percent of baby boomers and 48 percent of millennials). Furthermore, only 29 percent of Gen Xers stated they trust their agent to do most of the legwork (versus 33 percent of millennials and 36 percent of baby boomers).
  • Nearly one in five (19 percent) millennials stated they can be indecisive at times and, therefore, rely on their agent to tell them what they should be considering and touring (versus 9 percent of Gen Xers and 5 percent of baby boomers).
  • Fifty-five percent of national homebuyers indicated they do their research online to make decisions and initiate the next step with their agent.

Buyers Struggle with Budgets

Considering the rising home prices and strong competition in many areas of the country, when asked how much beyond their budget they went to get into their current home, one-third of national homebuyers surpassed their budget by $16,510 on average. A closer look at each demographic shows:

  • Forty percent of millennials went over budget by $24,545 on average.
  • Thirty-four percent of Gen Xers went over budget by $13,996 on average.
  • Only 19 percent of baby boomers went over budget by $8,024 on average.

How Real Estate Agents Can Streamline the Home Buying Process

The vast majority of homebuyers (83 percent) worked with an agent and agree agents bring value to the process. In today’s competitive marketplace, homebuyers rely on agents to help them save time and money. According to the survey results:

  • When asked how their agent could effectively save them time in the home buying process, two-thirds (66 percent) of recent home buyers would value getting streamlined access to additional listings and 61 percent would like to be able to access data such as home appreciation, walk scores and neighborhood information easily in one place.
  • A top value that homebuyers perceived was the agents’ understanding of their preferences (60 percent), which ultimately helped them get into the right home.
  • Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) said the most important benefit of working with an agent is their help in negotiating a better offer than they could on their own. However, when asked what they wish their agent had done differently, nearly half (47 percent) of home buyers nationwide felt their agent could have provided bundled services to help save them money.

According to Dario Cardile, Vice President, Growth Marketing at

“Buying a home is typically the most expensive purchase most people will make in their lifetime, and there is a terrific opportunity for real estate brokerages to engage consumers with the right tools and data that can help them make more informed decisions. Data and artificial intelligence will play a key role in how consumers buy and sell homes in the coming years, but knowledgeable agents can help strike the best deal to get consumers in their dream home quickly while saving money in the process.”

You’ll find the full survey press release at:® 2018 Home Buyer Study.

Please leave your comments.

Author bio: Brian Kline has been investing in real estate for more than 35 years and writing about real estate investing for 10 years. He also draws upon 30 plus years of business experience including 12 years as a manager at Boeing Aircraft Company. Brian currently lives at Lake Cushman, Washington. A vacation destination, a few short miles from a national forest. With the Pacific Ocean a couple of miles in the opposite direction.

Brian Kline has been investing in real estate for more than 30 years and writing about real estate investing for seven years with articles listed on Yahoo Finance, Benzinga, and uRBN. Brian is a regular contributor at Realty Biz News
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