Despite a slow start, the millennial generation is actually buying homes. According to data from the most recent Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report from the National Association of Realtors, they are the largest generation of home buyers, making up 35 percent of the total.
With this crop of new buyers, sellers are challenged to appeal to a vastly different generation of needs. Unlike their parents, millennials aren't necessarily looking to buy a home so they can settle down and start a family. On top of that, their tastes are dictating a whole new wave of trends in home design.
"Preconceived notions about what is correct have been shaken and stirred, and the boundary between formal versus informal seems less important to them," Chadi Graci of Graci Interiors in New Orleans told Realtor Mag.
So what are these young buyers actually looking for? Here are five areas to concentrate on to make sure your home is up to their standards:
"Be sure to highlight spaciousness and versatility."
1. Open floor plans
David Charron, president and chief executive of listing service MRIS, told the Washington Post that millennials are looking for homes that cater to their social needs. For this reason, open floor plans have become a must on the generation's real estate wish list.
The key is having open, multifunctional spaces unobstructed by too many partitions or walls, as Larry Abbott, a remodeling and home improvement specialist in Houston, told Realtor Mag. That means formal spaces, like a dining room, aren't so appealing. When prepping your home for these prospective buyers, be sure to highlight spaciousness and versatility.
2. Tech and environmental-friendliness
One big difference between millennials and older generations is they were brought up in very tech-driven and environmentally-conscious times. This means they're more likely to look for these features in a home. More newly built homes are using green materials, as real estate agent Darbi McGlone told Realtor.com. This doesn't mean you have to reconstruct your entire house, though. Little changes, like putting in double-pane windows that improve insulation, can still make a difference.
Charron noted that many new buildings are also including tech stations for homeowners to keep all their devices charging in one spot. You could offer the same space by creating one in your home.
3. Modern and simple design
Another point that Abbott made to Realtor Mag is that millennials aren't looking for the same status-affirming embellishments that used to rule home design. These days, it's much more about cleanliness and simplicity. Again, this doesn't mean any major renovation on your end. In your staging, be sure to keep furniture and decor to a minimum. Millennials will prefer seeing the basics that your home has to offer rather than how ornately it can be decorated.
4. Online advertising
If you're really trying to reach this generation of buyers, get them where they already spend a lot of their time: online. According to the NAR trends report, 38 percent of millennials began their search for a home on the internet. This means bringing your home not only to online listing sites but also to social media, like Facebook.
Overall, the steps to appeal to millennials can be made in small changes. Since younger buyers aren't necessarily looking for long-term investments, they're less likely to make these updates themselves, but they will appreciate them in whatever home they choose to purchase.