Build for Your Buyers: Retirees


Customization: What Makes Your Homes Stand Out

Don’t make the mistake of underestimating Boomers—this is a group on top of trends. Jonathan Smoke’s report identified many key design features builders may want to aim for. Open floor plans with kitchen bonuses such as islands, stainless appliances, and breakfast nooks, continue to dominate the marketplace—and the wishlists of Boomer buyers.

 Retiree home options

Quality First

Although all three of the main home-buying demographics have a strong interest in seeing quality in their new homes, retirees have perhaps the most stringent standards. Working with your component manufacturer should help you provide this group with what they need, but they may also be interested in energy-efficient features. Yours home will also need to display, at least, your awareness of how to build with buyers’ energy needs in mind. Their needs are driven less by environmentalism than practicality: many simply hate paying high gas and electricity bills, which can be unpredictable to those on fixed income.

Smaller Homes in Older Markets

Bigger is not necessarily better for this sale. To win retirees, think smaller and aim for older, more established markets such as Boston, or markets in Florida and California. “Destination” markets have an obvious appeal for Boomers hoping to enjoy their retirement, but this generation will consider snowy college towns to be as desirable as beach towns as they search for their next homes. Baby Boomers are more likely to work with Realtors, so extensive online campaigns directed at their needs may be a waste of time and energy.

Don’t Ignore Younger Boomers

Although retirees’ needs should be front and center, don’t discount others in their age group who are still working, as they may be likely to move this year as well. Their motives for moving will be a little different. While most Boomers are looking for a retirement home, younger Boomers may actually be relocating for a job. Approach them the same way as you would retirees—just know that location (proximity to cities, businesses, and schools) may play a different role in their new home searches.

Both retirees and working Boomers have a tendency to get bogged down in selling their old homes, so they may not be ready to buy as fast as younger groups and most can afford to be choosier.

There’s no question retirees will be an important factor in the home market. Learn how to build for their needs—as well as the needs of this year’s other major home-buying group—and you can look ‘forward to a successful year ahead.