Special to the Financial Independence Hub
Millennials may eschew many traditional values, but members of this demographic remain committed to one primary tenet of the “American Dream” — homeownership.
While a large number of young people have put the brakes on buying a new home because of student-loan debt, mortgage restrictions and a sluggish job market, the largest bunch since the baby-boomer generation is beginning to enter the real estate market en force. The sheer size of this group and the fact they were born and came of age in an era of rapid technological innovation puts them in a position to transform both the real estate market and what is desirable in a home.
To keep pace, real estate agents and home sellers alike are having to alter the way they market and present homes in order to attract millennial homebuyers. Does your property have what it takes for millennials to take notice?
Walkability and Amenities
The millennial generation places a higher value on “experiences” than they do on material goods. In this demographic, a home is typically perceived as a base for the rest of one’s life, rather than the center of it. Instead of a classic house in the suburbs with a white picket fence, millennials are more likely to prefer property in an urban setting within walking distance of local attractions. There is also a larger interest in non-traditional and mixed-use properties, such as warehouses that have been converted into lofts.
In an effort to save money and reduce their ecological impact, many millennials are forgoing cars in favor of alternative transportation. As a result, millennial buyers tend to prefer home shopping in locations that have easy access to public transportation and a minimal commute to work. If your property is close to a metro system or even a local bike-share hub, you can expect younger individuals to reach out with interest.
Whether it is telecommuting for their job, reaching out to friends and family, staying organized or simply relaxing, millennials are constantly connected to digital technology in both their personal and professional lives. Updated wiring for “smart” features such as wireless burglary detection or door locks that can be monitored remotely via app and home entertainment systems that can be controlled via voice recognition, are all highly desirable features.
Functionality vs. Traditional Features
Formal spaces and traditional features like moldings and built-in bookcases are considered too limiting by many of today’s younger buyers. The majority of millennials are looking for open floor plans and flexible spaces that can be adapted to meet their needs. If you are attempting to sell a home with a more traditional floor plan, it may be worth the money to hire a professional home stager to highlight creative alternative uses for the available space.
Younger homebuyers value a healthy work/life balance. They would rather spend their downtime traveling or with friends and family instead of being burdened with a long list of home maintenance projects. Instead of large lawns and extensive landscaping, millennial buyers are more likely to opt for a small yard that requires minimal upkeep and that can serve as an extension of their living space for casual entertaining. Condos and homeowners associations that cover various aspects of interior and exterior maintenance are also popular among millennial home buyers.
Healthy and “Green”
Younger homebuyers tend to be both health and earth conscious. They are interested in materials and features that are ecologically sustainable and free of harmful substances. Recycled, reclaimed, and renewable building materials, as well as low-VOC paints and energy-efficient appliances, are major selling points, as are green spaces and thoughtfully considered landscaping.
Finally, it is important to remember that millennial homebuyers typically look at the concept of homeownership differently than previous generations. Millennials are not necessarily looking for the perfect “forever” home in which to raise a family and eventually retire. Instead of a long-term investment or symbol of wealth, millennials are simply looking for a comfortable home in which to enjoy and live their best possible lives: right now.
Emma Bailey is a freelance writer based in Chicago, IL. After going to college in Florida she relocated to Chicago, where she now lives with a roommate and two rabbits. She covers current topics in the home, finance, and technology verticals.