Jersey City — The real estate industry is planning ahead to pass Gen Z’s vibe check.
Global real estate franchiser RE/MAX recently weighed in multigenerational opinions in its U.S. Future of Real Estate 2023 Report to help innovators in the space get a sense of what the real estate industry will look like in 2023 and onward.
Adults of the generation are likely entering college or starting their first big career-role – but that doesn’t mean that Gen Zers are not thinking about what they want when it comes to purchasing property in the future.
Although Gen Z (from tweens to mid-20s) only make up 4% of current homebuyers, our preferences are being studied now.
These studies can be a tool for existing real estate companies to use to evolve, or in all honesty, these studies can inspire an emerging startup founder to build a new tech-enabled solution that meets our consumer preferences.
Here’s what tech startups (new and existing) can do to better serve the growing demographic of Gen Z real estate customers.
Think of convenience and efficiency. 78% of Gen Z homebuyers in RE/MAX’s study are interested in homes with smart features. As the iGeneration, we are all about tech-fueled simplicity. Think of platforms like Amazon, Instacart and Uber Eats. We want everything to be at the tap of our fingertips.
The same thought-process applies to our interest in smart homes with features like controlling door locks, televisions, thermostats, cameras and more thorough mobile devices. As cool as all of these features sound, there’s room to innovate further in this space. Like Cher’s closet in “Clueless” or even “Jetson”-level innovation.
Considering that 77% of Gen Z is interested in new builds when buying homes, high-tech, smart home products have room to thrive in the near future.
Foster digital and IRL communities. Access to vibrant communities are a must have to Gen Z homebuyers. The rise of remote work has allowed flexibility in where we choose to plant our roots.
Because of that, a vast majority of Gen Z are seeking interactive local communities that can offer them the in-person companionship that remote work does not. This is where I see the business models of local meet-up platforms like Bumble having the ability to aid real estate tech.
Imagine if there was an app that could show real estate listings and local community activities with live ratings from neighbors in the area. A prospective Gen Z homebuyer could then explore local events and interact with neighbors ahead of finalizing a purchase.
This concept alone could serve a Gen Z-friendly and tech-fueled way to get a vibe check before making such a permanent decision like home ownership.
Keep it casual. Let’s face it, real estate jargon is hard to grasp, especially for first-time home buyers. According to RE/MAX’s report, only 28% of Gen Z are able to define key real estate terms like “mortgage” rate.
This is arguably a fair disconnect in knowledge, especially considering the fact that most of the generation is not yet purchasing homes. But, when the time comes that we are the majority of homebuyers, I believe some tech-fueled solutions that help bridge the real estate education gap will be a must.
That said, some of the key educators in real estate are often the agents themselves. Considering the fact that Gen Z tends to crave connectivity and empathy, I predict that the generation will grow to crave tech platforms that allow them to find and develop casual relationships with agents that they can trust.
This in return will allow Gen Z consumers to learn the industry in ways that work for them, at their own pace.
Keeping it gee, these are just a few of the ways that my brain dreamt up some tech-enabled real estate innovation that’s Gen Z friendly.
As more Gen Z begins to purchase homes, more studies will continue to evolve and so will the innovation that brews from it. I’m excited to see what tones and trends we continue to set in the sector.