It may be hard to believe, but not all of the 18- to-35-year-old generation is so weighed down with college debt that they’re living in their parents’ basements. Contrary to popular perception, the Millennials are driving home sales. In fact, the National Association of Realtors just recognized them as the largest segment of the homebuyer market at 35 percent — up from 32 percent in 2014 — in its most recent 2016 “Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Study.”
“The coming years of housing demand will be Millennial-driven and will support the single-family sector,” Dennis Lockhart, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, says. Given that new reality, here are four things experts say Millennials desire most in a house. Keep these in mind because you will most likely be selling to a younger buyer.
– Open floor plans. As a majority of homebuyers, Millennials long for that open floor plan because they entertain differently. “In essence, the kitchen is the new living room,” one realtor told Bankrate.com. “They want people to flow through the home during gatherings, rather than be sectioned off in rooms.” What does impress them? A home office. Make sure to tell them that formal dining room or formal living room can easily be converted into the perfect work-from-home space.
– Technological efficiency and healthy living. After you tear down some of those interior walls to open up your kitchen, making that open floor plan, ensure that you have plenty of electrical outlets in the house. Millennials are likely to go around counting the available outlets for all their tech toys and ask if you’ve installed programmable LED lighting and motion sensors. “Low-VOC paints and appliances like steam ovens also rank high,” Realtor magazine declares.
– The right “look.” They’ve seen all these great houses on Pinterest and HGTV, and feel they know what to look for, even before they step foot inside the house. And one of the things they would run away from? A shabby roof.
“Unsightly roofs are huge turnoffs and make buyers predisposed to find even more things they don’t like,” warns Patsy O’Neill, a sales associate with Sotheby’s in Montclair, New Jersey. Since Millennials love what the Washington Post calls “modern, sleek lines” — as well as “rustic looks”– if your roof does need replacing, you might want to consider the affordable Sienna line of diamond-shaped shingles from GAF (gaf.com), North America’s largest roofing manufacturer, whose products are often showcased on HGTV. “They pick up on key Millennial-style trends of natural, clean materials, clean lines, and the integration of artistic elements,” says Leslie Franklin, executive director of residential marketing at GAF.
– Low maintenance. Millennial homebuyers today do not want to spend their weekends renovating a house they just purchased. They want low maintenance.
To keep the workload down, Millennials often like smaller houses, although that could also have to do with Millennial buyers’ medium income of $77,400.