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Meet the Parents

An estimated 80 million people comprise the category known as 'Gen Y' - people born roughly between 1980 and the early 2000s. Gen Y and real estate have been on the outs lately, mostly because of difficult job and housing markets - a double whammy that has forced many to move back home with their parents.

 But as the real estate ship rights itself and the job market steadies, Gen Y is more ready, willing and able to join the ranks of homeowners than ever before. Trulia shows people between the ages of 18-34 still believe in the concept of home ownership, and 65% of those surveyed said "their American Dream includes owning a home." Gen Y is also a group that is known to be defined by their Boomer "helicopter" parents. Certainly not every Boomer is a helicopter, and not every Y is defined by their parents. But Gen Y is more likely to seek the input of their parents for major decisions - like buying a home - than previous generations.

So, is this a bad thing? Not always. Gen Y can benefit from parents' insight to gain experience where they have little or none - asking for advice from someone you know and trust who has bought or sold a home it before is only natural. But they are also a group that knows what it wants, and it's not necessarily what their parents had.  


For example, today's younger buyers are looking for walkability (one-third are willing to pay for the ability to walk), outdoor space but less lawn, open floor-plans, and less formality. They are not interested in bigger cookie-cutter homes of their parents that are far from amenities and expensive to maintain.   Many real estate professionals wince when they hear buyers say, "I'd like you to meet my parents!" This usually occurs at the time of the home inspection, but often before that. Some real estate professionals fear parents will instill doubt in their children's decision or derail a sale for reasons that do not align with the buyer's true vision. Generally speaking, I find that parents are a sounding board for their children - they ask a lot of questions (which is a good thing), sometimes they disagree with their kids, but mostly they are there for support - and maybe give a gentle kick to encourage their kids to leave the nest and settle into a nest of their own.

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