In honor of National Homeownership Month we’re taking a look at the different generations to gain a better understanding of what their housing needs might be.
We’re starting with the millennial generation—those just out of college and into their early thirties—and what they want since some consider them a game changer. Here’s what many millennials are looking for in a new home:
The one trend that people in this age group tend to emphasize is the importance of being able to get together socially. This is the generation that went to prom as a group, spent more time working on school projects in groups than their parents or grandparents, work in buildings where teams share one big office, and probably spent the first few dates with their partner out with a group of friends rather than a two-person dinner. The implications for real estate come down to the living room/kitchen area of the house. The open plan kitchen that opens into a space big enough for a couch, coffee table, and flat screen TV is a feature that matters to them. It would be wise to make sure the room is staged in such a way that it shows how conducive it is to entertaining and how many people can comfortably fit without feeling cramped.
If keeping up with the Joneses used to mean having a big yard or driveway, then today’s young buyers are feeling the peer pressure to use public transportation. This is mostly driven by the fact that green living is now the “cool” thing to do, but it is also related to a more subtle trend of wanting to live a lifestyle that suggests carefree or unencumbered living.
Since many millennials don’t have cars, they’ll need easy access to a grocery store or drugstore (as well as those all-important social hangout spots). Whereas then generation above them wants to hear about the schools and public parks in the neighborhood, many millennials are more focused on things like being able to get groceries as easily as possible.
Anyone buying their first home, particularly those who live in cities, are acutely aware of how many square feet they currently live in and how much they would like to live in. They have suffered through keeping their bike in the entryway and having to return to the grocery store every few days since the fridge can’t hold a week’s worth of food. After the price, the first piece of information they will look for on a property listing is the square footage (especially if floorplans are provided) so it’s a good idea to prominently display this information in your marketing materials.
This is on every homebuyer’s mind, but when it comes to the millennials they often don’t realize how much house they can afford. The average asking prices for starter homes might be low, but they still seem like huge sums of money to someone who has probably never dealt with a number over $100,000. Also, an increase of even ten thousand dollars (say in an escalation clause or for another property) can sour them on a house even though it isn’t going to add much to a monthly mortgage payment. This is where an agent’s expertise comes into play the most—by calming their fears to let them know they aren’t biting off more than they can chew.