Millennial buyers, those who were born in the 1980s and came of age around the year 2000, are now the largest segment of homebuyers in the world. This group of buyers is an interesting switch and has a different set of expectations when it comes to the concept of ‘home’ than previous generations. Because of the influence of television and the internet, for example, they do not expect to walk into a naked home. They expect that the homes they inspect with an eye to buy will be prepared by professionals at staging property and the home will essentially be a turn-key purchase.
Interestingly, these young buyers do things completely differently from their baby boomer parents. They switch jobs often – this is because they are technology oriented and seem to want to learn it all. When employer A has taught the millennial everything there is to know about Product X, the millennial moves on. Employers have learned to pay little attention to what was once a resume red-flag – an applicant who has had 10 jobs in five years.
The real estate industry has also had to adapt to the new views of the millennial buyer. This buyer doesn’t view a home the same way his or her parents did. Generally, the millennial buyer wants nothing to do with renovating. A fixer upper doesn’t appeal to them. They want to spend their spare dollars on travel, recreation, education, and entertainment. They work to live, so they want their spare time to be wide open. (Which is not to say that all millennial buyers are the same. There are some more traditional dreamers among the millennial set, but they are the exception rather than the rule.)
Because the new buyers want more and less at the same time, we’ve compiled this list of some of the things the millennial wants in a home:
- A wide open floor plan: These people like their entire lives to flow together. They have no interest in 12 rooms with carefully segmented uses. They like a living/dining/kitchen combination that can accommodate whatever whenever.
- Updated bathrooms and kitchens: Millennial buyers have their eyes open for a bargain and are educated enough to understand that updated appliances and fixtures are big expenses that they won’t have to bear if they are already in place in the home. These are the two rooms that have traditionally been home sellers. At least that hasn’t changed for this new group of buyers.
- A kitchen that can double as an entertainment space: The millennial even entertains differently than his or her mum and dad. The parents may have had dinner parties in the formal dining room; the kids are likely to have tapas and cocktails served on the kitchen counter and spill out to the deck from there.
- Energy efficiency: Because these buyers are extremely budget conscious and very ‘green’ they will look for both cost savings and carbon-footprint-shrinking features in a house. Have your home inspected and, if necessary, updated to provide both these features if you’d like to woo a millennial buyer.
- Low maintenance: Anything in your home that can salvage time is a good thing in a millennial’s eyes. These people don’t want to spend their weekend mowing an expansive lawn or renting a steam cleaner for the exhilarating experience of carpet cleaning. They like low-maintenance everything, so they will have time for other exhilarating escapades that involve zip lines and kayaks.
- Wired: Thirty years ago a home might not have had the sort of connections with the outside world that are demanded by today’s buyer. A mobile millennial must be wired at all times. So, old underground non-fibre optic phone or cable lines won’t do. Don’t worry about the phone jacks. Just be sure that your home is internet ready and the service is reliable.
- Home office: A growing number of today’s employees work from home. This makes it essential for you to have the professional who is staging property create something that could be a dedicated office. Even if your buyer doesn’t work from home today, he or she soon might.
When you’re getting ready for the process of staging property to suit a millennial buyer, understand that you’re dealing with a different creature. Professional property stylists have already done the homework and can, at the drop of a hat, create a clean, green, low-maintenance, highly aesthetic home that will appeal to the millennial buyer and for which this buyer will happily pay more.