The largest group of homebuyers in America are the Millennial, or “Gen Y,” generation, ages 18-36. They own 34% of the market share for all home buyers, they are 66% of all first-time home-buyers and those numbers are quickly growing. With technology at the core of every decision, this generation is shifting home-buying trends and agents must be equipped to stay in the game by knowing the answers to these questions.
How are Millennials Looking for Homes to Buy?
Having access to dozens of listing websites, Millennials are using the internet to do initial home searches with an average of 10 weeks of looking at potential homes online. Despite this autonomy in the early stages of the process, most are still seeking the high-contact, hands-on approach a real estate agent affords. In a recent survey, 92% of Millennials said that they still relied on these professionals to help them navigate the purchase process and they are also depending heavily on agent referrals from family, friends and neighbors.
Where do Millennials Want to Live?
With the big cities pricing out Millennials, they have turned to slightly smaller cities, such as St. Louis, where there is more inventory at lower price points. This is a major consideration as 46% carry a median of $25,000 in student loan debt and have little money for a down payment. Some of these “18-hour cities” offer mixed-use development or quiet neighborhoods just outside the city limits, which is attractive to Millennials, who still want to have a short commute time, good schools and proximity to shopping, restaurants, parks and entertainment.
What are Millennials Looking for in a Home?
A major trend for Millennial buyers is to find a home that provides adequate space for their four-legged “children” as many say that they view dogs as members of their family, rather than just as pets. They cited this as the chief motivator for moving out of rentals more often than getting married or having kids. They are choosing homes near dog parks and walking trails and want properties with fenced-in yards.
Because of their debt load and 75% using most of their savings for a down-payment, Millennials are opting to buy new construction or newly-renovated homes because they cannot afford to DIY or contract the renovations they are seeking. Therefore, updated kitchens and bathrooms are a must-have for Millennials Since they only stay in their first home an average of 6 years, they don’t see major renovations as a good investment and instead look for properties that can easily be re-sold. A home office is another wish-list item as many of today’s jobs are internet-based or offer telecommuting.
Green home features are also important to this generation, that cares equally about the environment as they do about saving money with self-generated power, energy-efficient appliances and better insulation. Smart home technology is also attractive to these buyers. They have come to expect technology integration into everything that is electronic, from programmable thermostats and lighting to wireless home security systems.
How Are Agents Marketing to Millennials?
In order to reach this buyer pool of over 75 million people, real estate agents must use as many online tools and resources as possible to market listings. This also means that the information online should be geared toward the wants and needs of these potential buyers and highlight features that are important to them. Using social media outlets and high-quality, professional photos is critical to catching their attention on websites and often leads to walk-through appointments.
How Can Sellers Optimize their Homes for Millennials?
· Update kitchens and bathrooms.
· Dedicate a room or space in your home to include a home office.
· Remove extra furniture and clutter to give the appearance of larger spaces and create a more “open floor plan.”
· Replace old appliances with new, energy-efficient appliances.
· Add insulation to the attic to prevent heat loss during winter months.
· Replace old thermostats and add dimmer switches to lighting.
· Create outdoor living spaces
· Consider adding dog-friendly amenities such as a “doggy door” or doghouse in the back yard.
· Add a fresh coat of paint in neutral colors to rooms and a few trendy decorative items.
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