7 Preferences You Need to Know
Millennials (people between 18 and 36 years old) tend to get little respect as a home buying force. “Maybe they can afford a starter home someday – but not my house” is the going wisdom. This type of thinking is completely wrong and might wind up costing you thousands of dollars.
Already, according to Zillow, one-half of American homes (single family and condos) are owned by people under 36 years old. 66 percent of Millennials are planning to buy a home in the next 5 years and they comprise the single most active part of the entire housing market.
So let’s tackle the biggest Millennial misconception first.
- Millennial Money – Millennials don’t have enough money. The average cost of a house just pushed over $500,000 last week. Admittedly millennials came of age during a recession and therefore make about 20% less (in income adjusted for the times) than the preceding generations. They also are the largest generation in history, so they suffer from the competition for jobs. However, they have two not so secret weapons. The First is the Baby Boomer generation. Millennial parents and their extended families, especially single aunts and uncles, are both lenders and co-signers. Baby boomers are infamously known as “helicopter parents” and their wallets come open to house their millennial pride and joys. Second – Historically low-interest rates.
- Decision Makers – Number one above segues nicely into number 2; Be prepared for multiple decision makers. The first carload may be followed by several others. Generational differences will come to bear on the final decision, but the millennial’s preferences will almost always win the day (see comment above on “pride and joys”).
- Fixer Uppers – Not so much. Millennials have shown a profound disinterest in gaining sweat equity. Millennials like new and when they can’t get it they want “turnkey”. Yes, when you were young, you got married and bought a fixer upper and that turned out great – do you have any more stories with which to bore a millennial buyer?
- Research – Millennials research everything. They are the ones standing in the aisle on their phones in Target researching reviews and ratings on the mop they are considering. You must be represented very well on the web. You may think that your home, the jewel you are selling, just has to be seen in person to appreciate. Get all of that endearing info on the web. You will need more than just a listing on Zillow or Redfin.
- Photos – As a corollary to 4 above – get professional photography. Shooting snapshots with your phone will not please the discriminating millennial eye. High-quality visuals are becoming the new norm, as are sponsored Facebook ads, Instagram posts and digital advertorial
- Open Floor Plans – This generation of millennials has little sense of privacy (“my friends posted some fun pictures of me drunk last night on Facebook”) and they go shopping in their pajamas. Accordingly, they love to share open space. The open floor plan marries the living area, the dining area and centers on the open kitchen as the social center for the whole family. So if you have a cloistered cozy little house, think about knocking out a few walls before you put it on the market.
- Green Technology – Energy efficient appliances and green features are appealing. Low-cost smart home technology also has outsized appeal. Generally, millennials may not have the cash for buying new appliances, solar units, and electronic security but if you purchase them, they are more than willing to wrap the cost (plus) into a mortgage.
Millennials are a good group with which to have a little fun. Their cliched character flaws of entitlement and attachment to devices are well known. But millennials are resourceful diggers, fast movers, and have x-ray vision when it comes to phony marketing schemes. Respect them by being authentic and you will have no problem. Now, let’s get ready for Generation Z.