Millennials: Love them or Hate them, it won’t be long before they are a huge part of your real estate business. Millennials have already taken over as the largest generation in the workforce according to Pew Research Center Data. That means once they figure out this whole student loan debt problem and start saving, they will be looking to buy homes. They won’t all be renting forever, and when millennials do start buying homes in increasing numbers, it will have a big impact on the market. We’ve noticed a few key trends through our business in what this generational group is looking for in their homes.
Here’s a few insights on what we think Millennials are looking for:
- Technology. It’s not a big leap to say that millennials love of tech and all things new will also apply to their tastes in homes. The problem is predicting what type of technology and smart home upgrades to make. You want to put in upgrades that are as future proofed as possible and can last a few generational cycles before they become obsolete. A few suggestions would be thermostats, doorbells, automatic locks, and smart lighting. These are items that will be used everyday, so they will have maximum effect when marketing a home. Make sure they are compatible with a smart hub from a major company like Google, Apple, Amazon or Samsung. I recommend the Nest Thermostat, Ring Doorbell, August Smartlock, and the Phillips HUE lighting system for starters.
- Open/Multi Use Floor Plans. This is a big trend not just with millenials but seemingly all buyers. It’s also an easy one to implement. If you’re building a home make sure you’re looking to maximize usable square footage in a smart way. Open kitchens flowing out into living rooms or common spaces are hugely popular. Having a large island or a breakfast bar to separate your kitchen and living room instead of a dividing wall is a great start. If you’re remodeling, look to demo walls and open up rooms as much as possible. Always check to see if a wall is load bearing, but even if it is you can usually create a larger and taller opening instead of a narrow doorway. Here’s a floor plan that’s a great example of maximizing square footage for functionality and open flow.
- Old School/Original Details. This is a trend I was surprised to discover but has held true with our dealing with millennial buyers. They love a few well placed original details in homes. The biggest example I’ve come across is mid century or older tiled showers and bathrooms. We’re used to ripping out the old school pink or powder blue shower tiles and modernizing them, but in a lot of cases millenials went crazy for these old styles. This works in a market where there is a lot of new tract homes and master planned communities like the Southwest. A big chunk of the housing stock is new and cookie cutter, so to find a house with some original details makes them edgey and unique. Check out a couple examples we’ve used below.
- Smaller Houses. According to a 2015 study by the National Association of Home Builders, millennials are a big factor in driving down the average home size. Millennials are looking for smaller homes located in more urban locations and with a proximity to their workplace. Using an open floor plan can maximize the size of a smaller house and make it feel like a huge house, without paying for the extra square footage. It also is easier to maintain, cheaper to heat and cool, and possibly cheaper to buy. If you want to upgrade or remodel a smaller house your budget can go a lot further because you have to buy less materials and pay less for the work. That means you can buy more expensive items that are of higher quality than if you were to buy a McMansion with 4,000 square feet or more.
- Turnkey/Ease of Use. Millennials are generally not known for being the most handy generation. They are the generation that if something breaks you throw it out and get a new one. As a real estate investor, providing a turnkey property that is easy to use and maintain with smartly chosen materials can be a big selling point. If you are selling or renting, make sure to put the right materials in your projects that can last a long time and not go out of style too quickly. Installing wood look ceramic floors or luxury vinyl plank can be a great option for their high end look and feel, while being affordable, easy to clean, and easy to replace if needed. Granite counter tops and quartz are also a no-brainer. They are timeless, durable to heat and wear, and the cost of these tops have come down a lot in recent years. Installing all LED lights can also be a great upgrade because they are extremely energy efficient and can last up to 10 years without needing to be replaced. More easy upgrades to make that make a property easier to use and last longer would be installing pull handles and knobs on all cabinets so the cabinets don’t get as dirty and worn, installing double pane vinyl windows for durability and energy efficiency, installing water efficient toilets, and making sure there are plenty of outlets throughout the home for all the electronic devices homeowners use.
Hopefully this provides some helpful insight and value to your quest in attracting millennial buyers. This is a great start to start to implement these ideas and get your real estate business ready for the next generation and stay ahead of the trends.