Learning what millennials are looking for in a home and delivering
Technically I am a “GenXer,” and my timing into this world, born during the very last days of the 70’s, afforded me the best of multiple experiences. My childhood was a childhood – I played fort and tag until the streetlights came on, read my Nancy Drew mysteries under the covers with a flashlight, and used my imagination to keep myself entertained. However, as I reached the end of high school, email and the Internet were becoming handy tools – perfect timing, as I would be able to embrace this new technology when I started my college career.
A lot of Millennials (Individuals born between 1980 and 2000) had the same exposures that I did, raised during the challenging economic times of the 1980’s, but many did not. Those millennials born during the latter part of the 1990’s had a completely different experience, where almost everyone had a cellphone and enjoyed faster, more affordable computers. Mundane tasks were able to be accomplished with just one click, response times got quicker and were often by an automated system, and the expectation became that you can get something that you need or want as soon as you need or want it.
Fast-forward almost two decades later and Millennials have grown up; they are getting married, starting families, and are looking to purchase a home. What is this dynamic group of people — 75 million strong – looking for in a home and how can you best be prepared?
Bigger is not Always Better
It used to be that square footage was king; however, millennials are coming from a completely different perspective.
First, affordability is an issue. They are feeling the pressures of student loan debts and the lack of down payment funds. They still want to purchase homes, with 89 percent of Millennials who currently rent planning to purchase a home in the near future. To make their goals of homeownership a reality, they are considering what spaces they really need such as home offices, flex space, and some storage.
While they may be looking for smaller homes, Millennials do want quality upgrades in the spaces they have chosen. Top-of-the-line appliances, hardwoods, and tech features are just a few of the options that appeal to this demographic.
Homes for this group of buyers are an extension of who they are and what they value. It is about connecting the things they love with the people they love, all under one roof.
Their goal is to create an atmosphere that supports their hobbies and interests. Whether it is travel, photography, cooking, fly-fishing, tai chi, or macramé, Millennials want spaces to help them pursue their goals.
Technology is, of course, a huge part of the connections mindset and these buyers expect smart options so that they can run their home with a swipe of their finger.
Home is Where you Make it
Location is always important, but don’t go with the misconception that all Millennials want the downtown urban lifestyle. Many of the younger generations appreciate classic or traditional architecture in quaint suburbia.
It is about the lifestyle that the neighborhood offers and the opportunities they will be given. Are there walking and nature trails, bike paths, or water features? What about wooded views and open spaces? More importantly, is there a sense of community? A lot of millennials are very interested in a new trend of living, which includes communal workspaces, rooftop lounges, outdoor dining options, and monthly social events.
Even if your neighborhood doesn’t offer these amenities, being knowledgeable about what options are close by could be key to closing a deal.
Man’s Best Friend
Pet amenities are also gaining traction for this demographic. While millennials are looking to be close to pet parks and walking trails, they also want pet-designated areas in their home, such as dog wash areas in the mudroom, personalized lockers, pet doors, and built-in doggy beds.
The Customer Journey
Make sure to consider your Millennials’ customer experience. This crowd expects seamless customer service from all channels and real-time responses. Considerations should include:
• The look and function of your website. Is your message clear and relatable? Is it easy to navigate? Photos are imperative! The more, the merrier.
• Using LiveChat or virtual agent features to help with the data gathering process. The more information that you can provide digitally the better.
• Online reviews are today’s word of mouth. Make sure that you are aware of what is being said about your company and encouraging your homeowners to write positive reviews on your behalf.
• Providing quick, genuine, and accurate customer service once a conversation begins.
• Building relationships through your most visited social media channels.
The bottom line is that Millennials have now surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest generation in the U.S and, in the next two years, they will make up roughly half of our country’s working population. They are smart, tech-savvy, and they know what they want, and very soon they are going to be knocking at your door.
Are you ready?
Julia Reinert is the Marketing Manager for Homes By Dickerson. She currently serves as the 2018 Triangle Sales and Marketing Council Chair and on the editorial board of NAHB’s Sales and Marketing Ideas publication. She may be reached at email@example.com.