Millennials are driving a paradigm shift in just about everything, including home buying. As the single largest demographic group and the largest group of home buyers in the U.S., the preferences of this generation cannot be ignored.
But, the things that Millennials want from a home aren’t the same as their parents and grandparents. So how can your business benefit from Millennials buying homes? First, you need some generational context.
Generally speaking, Millennials prefer experiences to things. They don’t collect objects as much as they collect “moments.” They don’t need a space to put their china cabinet. They need a home that won’t cause problems when they’re out of the country for a week. They don’t mind living in the suburbs, as long as they’re close enough to work and things to do. And, many Millennials still believe that buying a home is the first step toward the American Dream.
Millennial home buying trends tell us that this generation is purchasing homes later than their parents and grandparents. This delay in home-buying also results in the skipping of traditional starter homes in favor of something more polished (and expensive). For all that money, Millennials want their first home to be just right.
What Millennials Want in a Home
Lower Maintenance. Millennials tend to like living in low-maintenance spaces so they can free up their time and money to have experiences elsewhere. In a 2018 survey by Bank of the West, nearly a quarter of Millennial homeowners said their top regret was that their home is costly to maintain.
Builders can get Millennial homebuyers’ attention with low-maintenance homes that don’t require improvements or renovations from day one. For home exteriors, the performance, durability, and low maintenance of James Hardie’s siding and trim can be positive selling points for Millennial buyers.
Prime Location. For Millennial homebuyers, location is everything. A 2018 survey by Trulia revealed that the overwhelming majority would give up home features to live in their ideal neighborhood. Garages topped the list of items Millennials would trade off for a preferred location, followed by a recently updated kitchen, and then square footage.
Millennials are ready to compromise because they are more likely than any other generation to live in urban or urban-adjacent areas. More than a two-car garage, they want proximity to public transportation, neighborhood amenities, and walkability to town.
But Millennials aren’t only concerned with a neighborhood’s practicalities; they care about looks too. Trulia also reported that Millennials would rather sacrifice proximity to good schools or a short commute to work for a neighborhood’s aesthetics—meaning that they pay close attention to the landscaping and curb appeal of houses near the one they’ll call home.
Smart Home Technology. The National Center for Health Statistics reported that two-thirds of Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 live in cell phone–only households. Many are using their phones to control smart home amenities such as automated lighting, wifi-enabled thermostats, wireless home security, and wireless home entertainment systems.
Builders looking to capitalize on Millennials buying homes might consider incorporating smart technology into new homes. Industry experts recommend:
- Smart door locks that open and close via phone or voice-control commands.
- Smart thermostats that give homeowners the power to control temperature remotely through wifi-connected devices.
- Smart watering systems, which conserve water by allowing homeowners to customize watering based on their type of grass, or to turn off sprinklers on rainy days.
- Smart security that includes cameras in doorbells, as well as in and around the home.
Finding Millennial Buyers
Now that you’ve got an idea of what Millennials want, you need to find some ideal locations and do some marketing.
The website WalkScore can help you identify places in your area that might be attractive to younger buyers. WalkScore provides a score for an address that’s based on proximity to neighborhood perks like grocery stores, restaurants and bars, shops, schools, and parks. It also scores an address’s bikeability and access to public transit.
You’ll also need to market to this generation. Social media is a great way to do this and Millennials expect it from you (95% of this generation expect a brand to have a Facebook page). When used correctly, Facebook gives you the opportunity to personally interact with your target market on a regular basis.
Not sure where to begin? Get started with our guide to using social media to grow your business.