How Baby Boomers Approach Home

The Rush: How Baby Boomers Approach Home Buying

We often receive questions to NAR’s Research Department regarding housing for the Baby Boomer generation. People want to know, why isn’t there specific housing built for them? How can REALTORS® cater to the needs of this group? The answers to those questions are contained in our research reports, but are often overlooked.

The Baby Boomer generation, first of all, is defined in two categories in our 2015 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report; people born from 1955-1964 are called Younger Boomers and those born from 1946-1954 are Older Boomers. We will refer to the general group as “Baby Boomers” unless distinct research indicates differences for the two subcategories.

Seniors Snipit 2

Combined, Baby Boomers account for 31 percent of the home buying population. This category gets overshadowed as a home buying demographic because they do not stand out as first-time buyers, as the Millennials do – which are a hot topic in the media and largely are first-time home buyers, and they are often not seen as buying large family homes with children under the age of 18 like Generation X. As a demographic, statistically speaking, their relative importance compared to Millennials appears to be less substantial because they are broken down into two categories.

Notably, Younger Boomers purchased more multi-generational homes in 2014 than any other age group at 21 percent. Baby Boomers in general have a strong purchasing power. Older Boomers have the same median income as Millennials approximately $76,000 for each and Younger Boomers have a higher purchasing power with a median income of $96,600.

Seniors Snipit

NAR’s Generational Trends Report also shows that Baby Boomers are buying detached single-family homes more than any other home type. Eighty-one percent of Younger Boomers bought single-family homes as did 72 percent for Older Boomers. Baby Boomers are selling their larger homes and downsizing for smaller places predominantly in the suburbs or small towns. Younger Boomers cited that the primary reason for purchasing a home was a job-related relocation (16 percent) followed by the desire for a smaller home (13 percent).  For Older Boomers, they bought homes first for retirement (15 percent) and second to be closer to friends and family (nine percent).

Additionally, there are senior-related housing communities that cater specifically to the Baby Boomer and the Silent Generation. For all buyers over the age of 49 who purchased in senior related housing, their housing preferences are delineated in the chart below:

Senior Related Housing Chart

Compared to other home buyers, Baby Boomers combined are 31 percent of the home buying population just after Millennials at 32 percent. Younger Boomers has the largest population of single females purchasing homes at 23 percent followed by Older Boomers at 21 percent. Single female Millennials are just half that pool of Baby Boomers at 12 percent. Single female Baby Boomers also purchased homes priced $100,000-150,000 more than any other price range.

Types of Homes Purchased by Baby Boomers

Older Boomers’ top reason for buying a new home more than any other age group (29 percent) was to enjoy the amenities of new home construction communities, to avoid renovations or problems with plumbing or electricity (28 percent), followed by the desire to customize the design features (25 percent). Factors that influenced Older Boomers were largely quality of the neighborhood, convenience to friends and family, shopping, and health facilities. Younger Boomers also prioritized the quality of the neighborhood but wanted convenience to jobs, schools, and shopping. Predominantly, Baby Boomers purchased homes ranging from $200,000-300,000 with three rooms and two bathrooms. About one-quarter of Baby Boomers bought homes that were built between 1960 and 1986 that are 1,501-2,500 square feet.

Heating and cooling costs were more important to Baby Boomers than other generations. Gen Y and Millennials were most concerned with commuting costs. Baby Boomers were more likely than other generations to report that they made no compromises on the home they purchased, whereas Millennials noted they compromised on price and size. Younger Boomers foresee that moving could be caused by life changes such as relocation for work whereas Older Boomers viewed their purchased as permanent and their ‘forever home.’

The Home Search Process for Baby Boomers

For Baby Boomers, they were twice as likely to contact a real estate agent first when starting the home search process compared to Millennials. All buyers looked online at 43 percent and Older Boomers drove by homes in various neighborhoods. Baby Boomers in general were half as likely as Millennials to use a mobile device to search for information about homes and utilized online video sites and newspaper ads more than other generations. Almost all generations equally visited 10 homes before they purchased.

Millennials found their homes on the internet 51 percent of the time compared to Older Boomers that found their homes first with a real estate agent 39 percent of the time and only 34 percent on the internet. Thirty-two percent of Older Boomers looked at foreclosures whereas 59 percent of Millennials considered it. All generations noted that the most difficult part of the home buying process was finding the right property. Millennials noted that understanding the process was difficult 27 percent of the time whereas Baby Boomers only cited this as an impediment seven percent of the time. Most notably, Baby Boomers used virtual tours 25 percent more frequently than Millennials. The Silent Generation reported they were the most satisfied with the home buying process above all other generations at 68 percent compared to 52 percent of Millennials.

Amanda Riggs





Buyers and their agents need to feel welcome to look at the property at their leisure without danger or distractions. So while you adore your sweet-tempered pit bull rescue, he could turn territorial, barking and growling at potential homebuyers. And it could cost you the opportunity to sell your home.

Think of buyers as guests and work to make them feel comfortable as they consider your home for purchase. If you have a protective dog or one that isn’t well-trained, drop her off at doggie day care when you know your home is going to be shown. Or call a pet sitter on call who can take your pet for a long walk while your home is being shown.

If you must leave the dog at home, don’t expect real estate professionals to handle your dog. They are not dog trainers and should not be expected to risk a dog bite to show your home to buyers. This is where crate-training can be a huge advantage. At least your dog is secured and more inclined to relax while your home is being shown.

What you should not do is leave your dog loose in the backyard. Not only does the buyer not have access to part of the property, but your dog could bark so much that the din drives the buyer out of the house. Also, don’t leave your dog at the neighbor’s. It’s just as bad if the buyer believes a noisy dog lives next door.

Housecats can also repel buyers. Most homes aren’t designed with a convenient place for the litter box, so cat owners do the best they can. Owners get used to the smells of catboxes and fishy foods, which could be offensive to buyers who don’t have cats.

While buyers aren’t afraid of being cat-attacked, cats can still be startling — they appear silently without warning and they jump on furniture and counters. And if you’ve taught your cat to jump on your shoulders, you can imagine what could happen to an unsuspecting buyer.

Exotic pets can be showing-stoppers, too. Birds are gorgeous, but a puffed-up screeching cockatoo can be intimidating and dangerous. Imagine a buyer bringing small children who can’t resist sticking their fingers in the cage and quickly get rewarded with a nasty bite from a very strong beak.

When you’re selling a home, keep in mind that the first two weeks on the market are crucial. That’s the time you want your home to be pristine and move-in ready. You don’t want any noise, smells or stains that could put buyers off.

Sell your home faster and for more money by making your home as inviting and accessible as possible, so that buyers have no barriers to overcome. Accessibility to your home is just as important as price, condition and location.

Blanche Evans


Make Your Home Look Expensive

6 Sneaky Ways to Make Your Home Look Expensive


Want your place to look like those home design website images you drool over? Of course you do! Problem is, your budget may not match your design aspirations. Fear not! Making your home look high-end isn’t always about spending tons of cash.

It’s a matter of taking the time and care to arrange things in an eye-pleasing way—and making small, inexpensive updates that have a big impact. In other words, it’s about being sneaky.

Here are a few tricks to pull if you want to add the illusion of luxury.

Build Your Own Samantha Collection modular cabinets
Build Your Own Samantha Collection modular cabinets

1. Declutter

Nothing says “this home ain’t worth much” like tons of disjointed knickknacks, piles of books, and other miscellaneous items that should be tossed or stored.

No, you don’t need to go full Marie Kondo, but going through your rooms and getting rid of anything that doesn’t mesh with your personal style is a great first step toward transforming your home from average to exceptional.

Walk through each room of your home and edit items. Make some tough decisions. Sure, you love your grandma’s vintage Chinese vase, but does it really jibe with your West Elm look? It might be time to store it or let it live in another room with similar family heirlooms.

Next step: Tackle any stuff that piles up—toys (if you have kids), shoes by the door, mail on the dining table. At the very least, find places for your stuff to live in a more organized way; an upgraded closet with beautifully sorted nooks and crannies looks luxurious.

2. Eliminate grunge

You may not have time for intensive cleaning on a weekly basis, but a once- or twice-yearly deep clean is an easy way to make your home look far more luxurious. After all, you rarely see a mansion with dirty baseboards.

Go through your home and search for overlooked areas that have become dirty and downright gross. You’ll want to pay special attention to the grouting, says designer Young Huh.

“Having old tile cleaned and regrouted makes a huge difference in having your bathroom look sparkly and fresh,” she says. Best of all: The process is simple and inexpensive.

Get sparkly new floors–minus the refinishing. Try steam cleaning wood floors for an immediate lift to the finish.

3. Add—or rearrange—lighting

Designers use lighting to define spaces and separate rooms, making a small space grand.

Think of your living room—where you might have a reading nook, sofas and chairs for company, and a television. Visually differentiate among the areas by using different kinds of lighting: Add a table lamp beside your cozy reading chair and sconces behind your couch for conversation. Consider a dimmer for overhead lights. Architects and lighting designers swear by them. Installing is a relatively simple DIY.

Bonus cheapskate tip: Use warm-colored lightbulbs, Huh says. Cool tones are a “sure-fire way to make your home look down-market,” she says. Daylight bulbs work best for reading nooks.

8-inch fused glass door pulls

8-Inch Fused Glass Closet Door Pulls Large Cabinet Pulls Amber White Home Decor Door Hardware Office Kitchen Bathroom Extra Large Pulls

4. Upgrade your hardware

Don’t have a kitchen renovation in the budget? You can get a similar effect for much less by swapping out old, dated hardware for new.

Tired of your brushed-steel drawer pulls? Try gold, bronze, or even crystal—or make an adventure of it and scour your local thrift store for vintage hardware that screams your style.

It’s not hard to find attractive options in any decor style for next to nothing (a drawer pull, for instance, might start at just $3 or less). For hard-to-find designs, search etsy.

Changing the countertop and faucets is another change that can make your home look much pricier, Huh says. If you have the budget, exchange your dated sink accessories for something fresh that matches your brand-new hardware.

5. Repaint

There’s no simpler way to make an old home feel new than painting.

“This is the most important part,” Huh says. “Repaint and choose beautiful colors for an instant makeover.”

You can’t go wrong with classy neutrals. Minimalists might love a bright white combined with a bold accent wall; DIY decorators might enjoy a tasteful, sandy tan tone, which pairs well with any number of woods.

Paint isn’t just for your walls: Add some color to your front door, window trims, or even the floor, if you’re brave (hardwood can look amazing when painted white).

Family room vignette

Family Room Vignette

6. Focus on the devil in the (decor) details

Does your home feel a little meh—and you’re not sure how to change it? Try vignettes—combine decor items (e.g., vases, frames, and objets) that add visual interest to an otherwise bland area—perhaps a shelf or console table.

Organize your vignette around a theme so that the decor items are unified and tell a visual story. Go around your house and cull items you love that need a new home (see tip No. 1 on decluttering).

For example, take that silver tray you’ve been wanting a use for, add a glass tumbler with a fresh flower, that postcard your parents sent from Thailand, and a white bowl filled with colorful candy. Voilà: You now have a magazine-worthy vignette!

Another way to go: Grouping together multiples of the same object (e.g., glass vases in the same color) is an instant update. Decorators often use odd numbers because they are said to be more appealing.

Before you know it, you’ll be posting pics of your gorgeous home.



There’s a lot to think about when it comes to buying your dream home. Every decision, small to large, is important,

and can increase the price dramatically. Let’s look at a list of common issues that buyers face.

1. Neighborhood: Deciding on what neighborhood you desire is tricky. You must consider your wants and needs. They vary by person. Do you have children and need to live within the boundaries of a specific school district? You might want a short commute, a neighborhood with historic homes, or homes that are near night life and restaurants.

2. Square footage: What size of home fits your needs? The average home in the United States is 2,195 square feet. Thirty years ago the average size was just 1,645. The trend has been for larger and larger homes, with special purpose spaces, such as exercise rooms, offices, studies, and media rooms. This trend is now receding.

3. Floorplan: Architectural styles offer a wide range of choices! Open floor plans might appeal to you, with their great flow for entertaining. Or you may have a more traditional aesthetic, preferring cozy rooms. Think about how you live your life and what style best fits your needs.

4. Finishes: There are different grades of homes. Take your kitchen, for example. You can find a wide range of beautiful laminate counters, just as you can find a wide range of beautiful granite ones. These choices dramatically affect price. Think carefully about what you want in your dream home. Do you want stone floors or will ceramic suffice? Are you looking for green building materials, such as zero-voc paint, bamboo floors, and recycled counters?

5. Amenities: Our homes extend past the borders of our property. We live in the parks, shopping, and restaurants that surround us. Be sure to think outside the “box” of your house when you buy.

6. Landscaping: A large yard can mean lots of entertaining potential, but it can also mean a lot of work. Be sure to consider your needs now and down the road when it comes to yard maintenance. Many buyers prefer a townhouse or condo as their “dream home”. These options afford buyers with much less responsibility when it comes to upkeep!

Be sure to discuss all of these topics with your real estate agent. They can help you decide on a happy compromise among the long list of choices. They’ll also help you know what items on your wish list you can get in your price range. Good luck on your dream home search!

My 30 years in building and design can help you with those decisions. Call Chris Williams 435-962-1923
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