Millennials are no longer the youngest people in the workforce. There’s a whole new generation to think about–Gen Z. About half of them are old enough to legally drive and many are looking into buying their first home.
Generation Z refers to people who were born between the mid-1990s and the mid-2010s. The stats show that this demographic numbers around 74 million people in the US alone, and makes up about 25% of the population. That’s a lot of potential homeowners entering the marketplace.
This generation is defined largely by technology. Most of them would’ve grown up with smartphones as the norm, as well as everyone having their own computer and permanent access to the internet. Instant communication is incredibly important to them, as is being fiscally conservative. It’s these traits that need to be leveraged by Realtors looking to sell property to a fast-emerging client base.
Gen Z is largely defined by a need to avoid living in large debt that they have no hope of paying off. It’s a reaction to how the two generations before them struggled so much with higher education fees, leaving many unable to afford to buy their own homes. This group of youngsters are learning from their predecessors and are making a strong effort to educate themselves about personal finance. They’re looking to save and invest for their futures.
This means that Gen Z is a lot more conservative in their buying habits. They are far more likely to do plenty of research into their purchase, especially a large one such as real estate. Their first port of call will be the internet to see the market value of similar houses or apartments, check the amenities in the area, and ensure they’re getting a good deal.
When considering a new home, a typical Gen Zer will value location first. They want to live in an area that’s convenient for work, trendy, full of good amenities, offers a sense of community and belonging, and can offer them the lifestyle they want. Space is a big selling point too. They don’t want to live in cramped quarters or in a space that feels overcrowded.
There’s an interesting contradiction coming from the housing demands of Gen Z. They value an old-fashioned sense of community in the neighborhood they’re looking into, but also want a home that’s smart and looking to the future. They’re rarely far from their smartphones and other connected devices and would like their homes to be the same.
This generation looks at property from a tech-savvy angle and wants it to meet their expectations or, at least, be adaptable to suit them.
Generation Z may be slightly better off than Millennials in that they’ve tried to learn from the past. However, the world’s uncertainty could see them continue the trend that started with Millennials being worse off than the Gen Xers before them.
In the US, Gen Zs have still had to take out student loans if they wished to pursue higher education. Globally, they have lived through massive political and economic uncertainty. The full impact of the coronavirus pandemic in terms of the world’s economy is largely unknown and will play out as the rest of Gen Z grows up and becomes adults.
How to Cater to Gen Z
Yes, this generation is going to face financial struggles as they move through their adult lives. However, the hope is that they have seen enough to have started saving for their future early. They see the value in buying property, and should not be ignored as a target market.
1. Get Yourself Mobile
If you don’t have a mobile app, you’re very unlikely to attract the attention of a Gen Zer. With an app, you can reach them directly and send messages straight to their phones. Conversely, they have a direct line of contact with you, and that’s something they value highly.
2. Offer a Virtual Experience
As a generation raised on technology and used to instant gratification, most Gen Zers are as comfortable in the virtual world as they are in the real one. Using 3D tours or virtual showings as a marketing tool will greatly appeal to them. This type of media streamlines the time they spend searching, offers a real feel of a property instantly, and quickly determines whether or not it’s a feasible option.
3. Build a Strong Online Reputation
Reviews are one of the most important elements in decision-making for Gen Z. They will immediately Google your agency to ensure you’re someone they want to do business with. Plus, they will check out the amenities in the neighborhood you’re showing them properties in. If the coffee shops, gyms and other places of interest have poor reviews, they won’t want to live there.
Spend some time building your reviews from happy customers on various platforms. Facebook pages allow reviews and Yelp is another popular platform to take advantage of. As an added reference point, you can put testimonials on your website and mobile app too.
4. Be Social
The vast expanse of social media is where you are going to reach your Gen Z customers. They are considered the most connected demographic in history, with nicknames such as the iGeneration, Gen Tech and Digital Natives.
It’s important to note that Gen Zers are moving away from the likes of Twitter and Facebook. They enjoy more visual platforms such as YouTube and Instagram. How-to videos that provide valuable information to the watcher will get you noticed in a good way.
It’s easy to see how Realtors that move with the times and capture the interest of Gen Z in a way that resonates with them will have the edge. Talking to the Digital Generation in a language they understand will be the key to unlocking increased sales.