Understanding The Millennial Home Buyer

Understanding the Millennial Home Buyer

Today’s home buyer is very different than even 15 or 20 years ago.  As a home seller or even a real estate agent understanding today’s home buyer is critical in helping to get your home sold.

We are going to talk about one segment of the home buying population, the Millennial home buyer  or generation Y.  The Millennial home buyer is shaping the real estate today and will for years to come.

So why are we talking about the Millennial home buyer?  Millennial home buyers make up the largest segment of the home buying population…. 34%.  They are the first time home buyers out there and potentially the older Millennials may be moving on to their second home purchase.

How the Millennials grew up and what they have gone thru shapes how they buy homes and what they expect in a home.  It is very different than future generations of the Gen Xer’s, the Boomers and The Silent Generation.

Realize Millennials have have bucked the trends and values of past generations.  They continue to stymie advertisers and how best to reach them.   Yet they control  a large percentage of consumer spending,  not only in home purchases but in all areas of consumer spending.

Let’s think a little like a Millennial home buyer to sell to a Millennial home buyer.  Most likely they will be a large population of who is viewing your home.  It makes sense to try and cater to them.

Understanding Today’s Home Buyers and What they Want and Why They Want It

Understanding the Millennial Home Buyer and what they want in a house.While we are focused on the Millennial home buyer, don’t discount how some of these points have shaped how other generations buy homes as well.

My mother is a 76 year old from the silent generation.  She is quite the smart phone, texting, googling hipster!

Mom shops with the best of them online, can research everything in a heart beat and needs her smart phone to communicate.  She would rather text than pick up the phone.

Hmmmmm, not unlike a Millennial.

Millennials Have Had Financial Hurdles to Jump

The Millennials have been sold a bill of goods.  Do anything to go to college, get the degree and you’ll get a great job.  No generation has racked up so much debt so fast.  Many Millennials left college with tens of thousands worth of debt, then they struggled to find a decent job if a job at all!  Many moved back home.

Because of this Millennials are getting married later and having kids later.  The push to own a home is not as great until the family starts to come.

Also gas prices are up, housing affordability is down, wages are down, commuting in urban areas adds hours to your day and commutes are longer to get to the jobs….  On the whole the Millennial generation is working harder for less.

They want turnkey house that are affordable easy and inexpensive to maintain.  They don’ want to spend money on renovations after they buy a house because they don’t have much left!

How Technology Has Shaped A Home Buyer’s Thinking

The Millennials grew up with fast changing technology. In 1990 we had only about 15% of the households with a computer, compared to 79% in 2010 to about 83% today.

But don’t forget about the smart phone.  The smart home has put the internet in almost everyone’s hands with some not opting to have a home computer because they can get what they want with a smart phone. The Millennials are the first generation to grow up in the digital age.

Technological advances alone have shaped how all of today’s home buyers search for homes.

  • Millennials want information fast and they know how to get it.  They don’t want to wait and they will move on quickly if they can’t find the information they want.
  • Millenials want a ton of great online pictures of your home as well as including aerial real estate photos and other information.  They do not want to come out from behind the computer until something compels them to do so.  Look at the fall of brick and mortar stores and the rise of Amazon.  Fail to deliver the best you have online and you lost the buyer before they even show up.
  • Millennial home buyers want smart technology in their home.  Everything from lights to HVAC to security systems all controlled by their smart phone.  Heck, door locks now are being controlled by smart phones.
  • Millennials are quick decision makers.  Once they make up their mind they go for it.

The Reality TV Generation

For good or for bad, networks are all over home design, home buying, house flipping, home renovation with their how to reality TV shows.  But don’t underestimate how this has shaped how today’s home buyers think.

Im sorry, in all the years I have been selling real estate I have never seen an infinity pool with a waterfall, I have only seen one massive patio with living room seating for 12, a massive gas fire pit, 60″ TV and full built in outdoor kitchen with stone counter tops etc…

Many of these TV shows glamorize home ownership and finished renovations.

And I am going to step out further and mention sites like Pinterest and Houzz.  All those beautiful home decor and renovations ideas that many can only dream about.

The reality home shows and home decorating and renovations sites have shaped today’s home buyers with the idea of luxury and perfection.

Expectations have been set.

  • Millennials want updated baths and updated kitchens with all the latest fixture styles.
  • With all the home staging shows and home staging tips with the home flipping shows, home buyers expect a home to be fully prepared and staged…. yes staged, its expected.
  • Millennials want the appearance of luxury and they want it new.  Luxury doesn’t have to come at a steep price they just want the appearance of luxury with a few luxury items and they certainly want it new.

A House is a Place to Live and Not Necessarily A Home

Millennials are less about owning and more about social experiences.  Statistics show that Millennial home ownership is down compared to future generations.

Millennials want to live full happy lives by experiencing life thru experiences rather than ownership.  They feel more connected to friends the community and the world by sharing those experiences. Many have also watched their parents and grandparents work hard and struggle to watch them lose it all in one of the worst recession our country has seen.

You can lose “things” you can’t lose a memory of an experience.

Look at social media.  It allows people to connect.  I myself have connected with people I haven’t seen in 35 years thru Facebook.  People connect on a much broader level and that connection can be worldwide.

Social media connects you with a whole new world of experiences.

  • Millennials want turnkey home that are low maintenance.  They want to spend more time and discretionary income on the experience than pride of ownership.
  • Houses don’t need to be large or be on huge lots, this means less money and time spent on maintenance.
  • Millennials on the whole want to be in urban or suburban areas where they can connect more with the world around them and plug into more activities.
  • This also gives a clue into what Millennials want in a home.  They want open multi purpose living spaces to entertain.  Formal dining rooms are out but large open kitchen/dinging/living are in.  And, don’t forget extending that space to the outdoors with decks and patios.
  • Millennial are far more transient than past generations as well as not being focused on “things”.  They are minimalists when it comes to furnishing and decorating.
  • The fixxer upper is lost on many Millennials as they don’t want to put the time into it. Again its just a place to live and they have other activities they would rather invest their time in. (nor do they have the money)

Summary of What the Millennial Home Buyer Wants

While the Millennial generation continues to confuse advertisers, we can at least get some insight into the Millennial home buyer.  Don’t underestimate the buying power of this generation and the fact that they want to buy houses.

First, you need to take the time to present your home in it’s best possible light starting with the de-cluttering of your home as well as the de-personalization of your home.

From there, you need to discuss with your REALTOR any minor and upgrades that should or could be done to make your home more compelling to the Millennial buyer.  Don’t overlooking staging your home as that is what is expected from the new generation of home buyers.

The closer you get to perfection the better.

The Millennial home shopper are expert online shoppers.  Your house must be in perfect order before even marketing your home.  Your homes online persona is critical in capturing a Millennials attention.

But, whatever drives the Millennials today can change as they age and their priorities may change.  Remember the oldest Millennial was born in 1980.

Get your home millennial ready now!

Other Real Estate Resources:

Understanding The Millennial Home Buyer is provided by Kevin Vitali of EXIT Group One Real Estate of Tewksbury MA. If you would like to sell your home give me a call at 978-360-0422 and let’s get the process started.

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