For millennials entering the housing market, they are understandably somewhat anxious. They felt the recession deeply, and don’t want to get into a home they can’t afford if the economy takes another hit. They’re also used to renting, and the cost of a mortgage, insurance, taxes, maintenance, repairs, along with the time it takes to keep everything running might feel like a huge commitment.
Millennials are holding off on homeownership because they are overloaded with student loans too. There was $1.53 trillion in outstanding student loan debt in the second quarter of 2018, in the United States alone. Millennials are also holding off on marriage and starting their own families. Which means most millennials are still living in a single-income household because they aren’t in a committed relationship where both incomes are combined. This means millennials don’t have the income or savings to put a down payment on a house, but they also don’t have the need to house children and provide room to grow as a family.
However, millennials are growing up. They know homeownership is a great way to build wealth, and they know it’s a part of their future. Many are in fact reaching a stage where they’re choosing to get married and start families. Some are ready to take the leap and buy their first home now. But they won’t be looking for the same features as past generations might have.
What are they looking for, then? It pays to know what your clients want in their first home, and how you can accommodate those wishes even if the house of their dreams is outside their price range. Millennials tend to want sustainable features, upscale design, and a welcoming community.
But all those wish list items bring up the overall price tag, and your clients might not be ready for that rude awakening. Here are a few home trends millennials actually want to buy into and how you can leverage them in creative ways to find the perfect place for your young new clientele. Let’s get started:
Home Trends Millennials Actually Want to Buy Into... Sustainability, Design, Community & TechnologyClick To Tweet
Millennials love green living; hopefully this trend is here to stay. The problem is, most millennials find that homes with sustainable features are often outside their price range. This can be so discouraging, one might resolve to keep renting just a few more years.
You can help by reminding your clients green-living doesn’t have to be expensive and any home can use a few eco-hacks to be more sustainable. Also, older homes can be slowly renovated and updated over time. So for creative millennials who want a challenge, a fixer-upper could be a great investment. For first time homebuyers, these eco-friendly household tricks could be the best alternative to a newly-build sustainable home:
- Repurpose old clothes into cleaning rags.
- Get creative and avoid buying specialized cleaner (like a vacuum specifically for your keyboard).
- Ditch harsh cleaning chemicals for household cleaners like lemon, salt, or vinegar.
- Work towards a zero-waste household.
- Go paperless.
- Start a compost bin.
- Garden and grow your own food.
- Cut down on your household energy use by: replacing light bulbs with LEDs, washing clothes on the cool setting, air drying clothes, and turning off wifi when it’s not in use.
- Cut down on household water usage by: fixing leaks, reducing tap pressure, and only running the washer when it’s full.
- Sealing up doors and windows to keep air from leaking through.
- Install eco-friendly material like bamboo floors.
Consider creating a DIY eco-friendly guide with these tips or start a blog that helps teach first-time homebuyers how they can make their new homes more eco-friendly.
In an age of perfect photos and social sharing, an Instagram-worthy home is high on the priority list for many millennials — but it can be hard to know what they’re looking for. Largely, millennials are passing up homes built between 1970 and 1999 for newer or older ones. This is because of a few design features that millennials actively avoid:
- Avocado-colored appliances
- Boxed ceiling lights
- Formica countertops
- Gold-toned trim
- Walnut cabinets
It’s not a bad idea to suggest that home-sellers update these features before listing their homes. A few things millennial homeowners are looking for include:
- Big and bright kitchens with beautiful or unique features like built-in spice racks, recessed lighting paired with hanging fixtures, wine coolers, and exotic stone
- Modern bathrooms with lots of glass and stone and high-tech features like motion light sensors
- Earth-tone and soft colors
- Open floor plans
What’s inside the house isn’t the only concern for millennials. The community around their potential home is just as important as green-living practices and beautiful design features. Millennials are looking for neighborhood involvement, unique retail, and walkability — to name a few priorities. It’s important to keep these preferences in mind when you’re showing millennials their potential options.
These trends might be tough to accommodate in the current housing market where most millennial’s budgets push them out toward suburban areas. Here are a few tips for selling in these situations:
- Stress the savings.
- Highlight homes with nearby shopping and dining.
- Provide community information and show how they can get involved.
- Point out transportation options.
- Point out walking routes and nearby parks.
- Look for neighborhood amenities like clubhouses, pools, playgrounds and annual events.
Finally, we’d like to mention one home buying trend among millennials that’s not going away: they’re using technology for every step of their home buying process.
Zillow shows that millennials are doing their research online.
Sixty-six percent use apps to shop homes on the market and 29 percent found their agent online. So if you’re not online, you’re not getting millennial clients like you could. This also tells us that millennials have already seen the homes on sites like Zillow, or even Craigslist.
When working with a millennial home buyer, try sending them homes that haven’t been listed yet, or maybe homes that won’t show up on those sites.
Knowledge is power, and being able to share tips and tricks with your clients to help them achieve what they want in a home in creative and affordable ways just might be your competitive advantage. If you encounter a millennial homebuyer who is discouraged by their options lacking sustainable features, beautiful design, and an attractive community, use these tips to help bridge the gap and get a young homebuyer excited for this new chapter.