Can you believe that the generation who brought you flower power, free love and The Beatles are on the verge of retirement? The baby boomers thought they would be forever young but the world’s largest demographic are now well into middle-age and easing their way into their golden years.
This means that the large homes in established suburbs they bought for $100K in the 1970s are now approaching the million dollar mark. These are the perfect properties for young, enthusiastic and entrepreneurial families who have already sold their first home and are looking for somewhere to establish roots.
Just as a tree sheds its leaves to make way for new life, this is the natural lifecycle of real estate. Agents need to understand the requirements of upsizers and downsizers if they want to capitalise on the opportunities both parties present.
The traditional downsizer is an empty-nester whose adult children have started families of their own and no longer require the back bedroom or basketball hoop hanging above the garage. With a seniors card in hand and some time to themselves, they dream of a simpler life full of travels, good friends and maybe even a new set of golf clubs. They are at a point in their lives where they’ve done the hard yards and just want to relax into something smaller and more manageable.
Let’s take a look at Amy and Michael’s story. Michael had a long career in IT spanning over forty years at a mid-size company in the CBD. He was earning good money and was a fastidious saver, always plugging away at the retirement fund and making good investment decisions. Amy was a full-time bookkeeper who took ten years out of her career to bring up their twins, Chris and Nathan. Once the boys were in high-school, she took up some part-time work but was never the household breadwinner and couldn’t contribute much to the super fund.
Now that the boys have left the coop and started their own lives interstate, Amy and Micheal want to spend a few years travelling the country. It’s time to sell the family home and buy a unit near the sea, which they can rent out whilst driving around in their newly purchased campervan. Even though they are established and have paid off their mortgage, the cost of bringing up kids, interstate getaways and part time work, means they’re not obscenely wealthy.
They do have a long standing relationship with Agent Ash, who you might remember from our story about how to service divorcees in their time of need. He’s been great at keeping in touch with Amy and Michael over the years, with his automated ActivePipe emails, and because they know his service is second to none, they give him a call and tell him about their plans.
Agent Ash is excited! He has the perfect buyers in mind. A young family with baby number three on the way looking to upsize. The great thing about downsizers is that their properties tend to be on large blocks close to schools and other amenities, so he knows he is potentially staring down the barrel of a healthy commission cheque.
That’s the story you all know, right? Retirees certainly make up a large chunk of downsizers but you’d be foolish to disregard the growing number of young people who are turning their backs on the traditional ‘bigger is better’ dream in pursuit of a simpler life.
People are working longer hours and spending less time at home, so convenience is more important to them than size. To identify non traditional downsizers, you need to be a little tech savvy and have systems in place that tell you who is clicking on those smaller properties online.
Having this insight will direct your conversations and set you up for success. For example, if you find yourself on the phone to a retiree ready to make the big move, why not suggest the services of a local removalist company who can help them declutter and pack the belongings they’ve amassed over the last 30 years? Going this extra step will solidify your relationship.
You also need to understand the types of media older people engage with because that will shape your marketing strategy. You may want to invest in more traditional advertising such as a local newspaper rather than the online methods you rely on to reach first home buyers.
If it’s a younger downsizer you might want to focus on the sustainability features of the new property and the possible savings they can gain from a smaller home.
Whilst Amy and Michael have happily parked their campervan at a beautiful beach down by the coast, they’re not the only people who should come to mind when you’re thinking about downsizers. They now come in all shapes and sizes and you should be equipped to service each of them according to their individual needs.
Take the time to learn their pain points and provide solutions to their concerns. Having as much advice and information as possible will put you front of mind and ahead of the competition so that you have a customer for life.
If you don’t know where to start, jump on your ActivePipe dashboard and check out your profile updates so you can see who has been categorised as a downsizer. Don’t just assume that you know who they are and what they are looking for, dig into the data and find out.
You might be surprised by the upper hand a bit of research can give you!