Burt M. Polson | Napa Valley and Vallejo's Commercial Real Estate Broker

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Napa Valley & Vallejo, California

Real Estate Through the Generations - Part 2

Why all the hype about Millennials?The Millennial generation spans the years 1981 to 2000 and represents 83.1 million people, the largest generation. Baby Boomers held the spot for decades--those born between 1946 to 1964 representing 75.4 million people now hold the number two spot.

In part one I told my parent’s story: as newlyweds in the 1950’s purchasing their first home and a few years later their first commercial property. Not only was the process of marketing and acquiring real estate during the time of the Greatest Generation different than today, but also how we interact with real estate.

The Generations

Here are our current living generations’ attitudes and values towards real estate and life in general to give you perspective on the differences:

  • Greatest Generation, 1901-1926 (my parents): community and civic-minded, assertive, marriage for life, no “retirement”, no debt, into simplifying investments
  • Silent Generation, 1927-1945: richest retirees in history, marriage for life, true epitome of retirement, disciplined, self-sacrificing, own multiple properties and investments

  • Baby Boomers, 1946-1964: use credit, self-righteous, self-centered, largest generation, women began working outside of the home, divorce-minded, career-oriented, work hard, large homes, amassed wealth in real estate, difficulty in selling home for several reasons

  • Generation X, 1965-1980 (my generation): entrepreneurial, idealistic, more into the neighborhood while less into society, grew-up isolated, individual rights rather than the common good, not loyal, self-absorbed and self-reliant, highest income earners, seen their properties become worth less than their mortgage, largest pool of investment real estate buyers

  • Millennials, 1981-2000: considered the “next great generation,” respects authority, high academic pressure, fast access to information, like working in teams, huge student loan debt, waiting to marry and have children, buy real estate for utility, largest pool of home buyers

  • Generation Z, 2001-forward: represents a “mixing-pot” of ethnic backgrounds, grew up with technology and know no different, tired of hearing about the environment, savvy consumers who know what they want

It’s an information age...for some

The means each generation acquires information is different. I make my living selling and leasing real estate. My success is tied to my effectiveness in building relationships, but to each generation relationship is a relative concept.

To someone in the Silent Generation and Baby Boomers personal contact via a phone call or in-person is the key. They value the opinion of others and also print or mail marketing pieces. They like for you to “cut to the chase” and eliminate the fluff.

You reach a Millennial initially through online means while maintaining the relationship through texting, social media and email. Online reviews and recommendations are important as is the overall online “presence” and message. Most want to know what value you bring to the table because they are well-equipped with information in-hand.

We are barely scratching the surface in how each generation views their home and investment real estate as a part of their life. Entire fields of study, real estate designations and classes are offered to give us insight into just a slice of this social influence.

Burt M. Polson, CCIM, is a local real estate broker specializing in commercial, luxury estates and wineries. Reach him at 707-254-8000, burt@acresinfo.com. Sign up for his email newsletter at BurtPolson.com.

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