Like buyers, older sellers tend to move greater distances, and are more likely than younger generations to move out of the state or region. While younger buyers typically moved to larger, higher priced homes, the data shows a clear trend of downsizing to smaller, less expensive homes among the Older Boomer and Silent Generations.
Typically the older the seller the longer the tenure in the home, while Millennials had been in their previous home for a median of five years, Gen X-ers stayed 8 years, Younger Boomers owned their home for 11 years, Older Boomers stayed for 13 years, and the Silent Generation kept their previous home for 15 years.
The reasons for selling a home also varied among the generations. Younger buyers were more likely to move to accommodate job relocation or desired to upgrade to a larger home. In comparison, older buyers were often looking for a smaller home due to retirement and because upkeep was too difficult due to health or financial limitations, or to be closer to family or friends.
When it comes to negotiating, older sellers are often more willing to reduce their home's asking price but are less likely to offer buyer incentives such as home warranty policies or assistance with closing costs.
Of sellers working with real estate agents, the study found that older generations of buyers are more likely to use full-service brokerages in which agents provide a broad range of services. While more than two-thirds of Millennials used full-service brokerages, they were more likely than other generations to choose limited service, which includes discount brokerage, or minimal service, such as simply listing the home on a multiple listing service, presumably because they have less equity in their home.
Sellers of all ages typically found a real estate agent through a referral or friend; however, younger sellers were more likely to use the same real estate broker or agent for their home purchase, 59 percent of Millennials used the same agent compared to 42 percent of Older Boomer sellers. Younger sellers typically want their selling agents help with selling the home within a specific timeframe and pricing the home competitively, whereas older buyers are looking for their agent's help with marketing the home and finding a buyer.
For additional NAR commentary on the home buying habits of Millennials, watch this video.
NAR mailed an eight-page questionnaire in July 2012 to a national sample of 93,502 home buyers and sellers who purchased their homes between July 2011 and June 2012, according to county records and using the Tailored Survey Design Method. It generated 8,501 usable responses; the adjusted response rate was 9.1 percent. All information is characteristic of the 12-month period ending in June 2012 with the exception of income data, which are for 2011. Because of rounding and omissions for space, percentage distributions for some findings may not add up to 100 percent.
The National Association of Realtors®, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
Information about NAR is available at www.realtor.org. This and other news releases are posted in the "News, Blogs and Videos" tab on the website. Statistical data in this release, as well as other tables and surveys, are posted in the "Research and Statistics" tab.
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