If you do not know who the Baby Boomers are then you are probably a Millennial and need to spend more time getting to know your grandparents…hint, hint. In 1945, the United States of America and Allied Forces celebrated the end of World War II and the Baby Boomer era was born (literally) resulting in an unprecedented development in manufacturing, the need for consumer goods, expanded education, employment opportunities and…housing, and I mean a lot of new homes.
The last of the Baby Boomers are thought to have been born in 1964. My parents are Baby Boomers. My father, fresh out of the U.S. Army, found a job with ease in a local factory, then he and my mother purchased a 10-acre piece on the Puget Sound and by a hand shake with their local bank, obtained financing to build their very first home. Here they raised their family from the late 1960s into the late 1980s. When “we kids” grew of age my parents decided in their mid-40s that it was time to downsize, so they sold our beloved 2,800 square foot home and barn and moved into town to another house that was quite large but with a very manageable one acre and close to town. According to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2016, there are an estimated 75 million Baby Boomers and many of which are looking for housing.
According to the National Association of Realtors, Baby Boomers made up 31% of recent homebuyers for 2016, and I believe it. As a Home Loan Consultant, a good number of applications and inquiries I've received have been from Baby Boomers looking to purchase their next home. The reasons for buying vary, ranging from downsizing to relocating to be near their now-grown children and grandchildren; in fact, my Baby Boomer parents are now looking to sell and relocate to a smaller home! Some Boomers are going the opposite way by taking on larger homes with bonus or guest rooms for their grandchildren or relatives to visit. There are also scattered cases of families looking for homes with “family member units” where they can live on the same property with a family member. Other Boomers simply need the tax deduction or are entering into retirement.
So what is a lender’s greatest tool for marketing to our Boomers? I believe it is simply listening. Well, shouldn’t we be good listeners to all members? Of course, but if we are honest, most of the time we are not and with younger generations, we get away with it because they may find it as an acceptable behavior. Remember, our Boomers are a chip off the “Greatest Generation.” My parents would say, you have two ears and one mouth for a reason, and they were right. When you listen well, you will understand the need, deliver a product of value and earn a business relationship that is priceless.
Alan Pust, Home Loan Consultant