15 Features to Attract Millennial Home BuyersJune 29, 2016
Millennials (aka Generation Y) range from 18 to 34 years old and represent the largest generation in the US, according to the Pew Research Center. It’s easy to picture them as student-debt-loaded grads living in their parents’ basement who aren’t ready to buy. Don’t underestimate the power of Millennial home buyers.
The National Association of Realtors’s Field Guide to Millennial Home Buyers attributes 31 percent of the market to this group. They expect this number to go up dramatically. Fortune magazine says their purchasing power is expected to increase from $600 billion to $1.4 trillion in the coming years. So get your house ready for millennial home buyers by playing up the features that attract them:
- Updated kitchens and baths: The motivation for these features isn’t based on a need for all things new but a lack of cash to update what’s old. Counters and appliances are the most sought-after updates.
- Maintenance free: Old carpet is a turnoff (germs and odors and stains, oh my!) to millennial home buyers. Smooth surfaces like wood floors and granite/quarts/concrete counters say clean and easy care.
- Open floorplans: This generation says “Y” go out and spend money when you can stay home and save it? These homebodies enjoy entertaining friends and cooking from Tasty YouTube recipes in the same space.
- Turn traditional spaces into flex spaces: The formal living/dining room space isn’t really a Gen Y perk. Dress up those spaces as theater, craft, music or reading rooms (yes, they like actual paper books). A recent Better Homes & Gardens survey said that 1 in 5 millennial home buyers preferred that traditional dining rooms be home offices.
- Location: Forced out of cities due to high prices, millennials who are buying the burbs are still conscious of commuting expenses. Make a point of highlighting if your house is close to public transportation or “minutes to downtown”.
- Walkability: Lessen the blow of losing downtown eateries, pubs and shops by pointing out the local amenities that are within walking distance of your house. Is there a cute local downtown nearby? Is there a nice park? A great school? Make it known! Do some research at WalkScore.
- Tech: This cell-phone-dependent generation needs to know that they’re connected in the house. They likely don’t have cable, so carrier/internet coverage is important. If you’re in a good coverage area, highlight that. Turn a little nook or side table into a unique charging station with a vintage breadbox or suitcase. Does your home have high-tech features that are phone controlled? That’s a huge plus!
- Decks, patios, balconies: A recent Trulia survey said that 60 percent of millennial home buyers want a “room with a view,” but few can afford it. Instead, dress up your outdoor space as a great place for friends to hang out.
- Garden space: Just like Grandma, Millennials love gardening. Just like Grandma, Millennials love gardening. It’s inexpensive to create a small garden area in a corner of your yard with old pallets, concrete blocks or cedar boards.
- Natural materials: Play up brick, wood and other natural design features your house may have. Make odd-colored brick or dated paneling modern with white paint.
- Personality: Builder white walls are blah. Consider an accent wall or inset in trendy colors such as coffee, grey, sea glass green, soft turquoise and pale blue. Or just make a neutral room pop with a few bright accents. This can get dicey if you’re design challenged, so consult your agent on this.
- Go green: Are your windows energy efficient? Do you have solar? Anything that’s good for the environment and lowers heating/cooling bills is a plus you should mention.
- Garden space: Just like Grandma, many Millennial home buyers love gardening. It’s inexpensive to create a small garden area in a corner of your yard with old pallets, concrete blocks or cedar boards. Yards zoned for chickens are also a plus.
- Set the stage: In this HGTV era, a stylish and clutter-free home is a must-have. Just put your stuff away and get it staged if you can’t do it yourself. It matters.
- HOA value: High fees for condos in the city are another reason the ‘burbs are viewed as more affordable. If you have an HOA, chances are it’s much lower than the city, but it’s a good idea to mention what the buyer gets with it (trash, pool, etc.)
BONUS! Online presence: The National Association of Realtors says 90 percent of buyers shop online. Millennial home buyers do this mostly from their phone. You’ve got seconds to impress them before they move on. Remember that just because houses are viewed on a phone, you shouldn’t take home pictures with one. Choose a listing company that provides professional photography. Put up as many photos as possible.
Although millennial home buyers don’t typically have cash for remodeling, they’re not swayed by minor DIY projects. They just want good bones they can personalize to their own style, and be able to imagine their favorite activities in the space and neighborhood.
BY SUSHA ROBERTS
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