Learning what Millennials are looking for in a home and delivering
By JULIA REINERT
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 involved playing fort and tag until the streetlights came on, reading Nancy Drew mysteries under the covers with a flashlight, and using 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 similar exposures, raised during the challenging economic times of the 1980’s, but many did not. Millennials born during the latter part of the 1990’s had a completely different experience, where almost everyone had a cellphone, we enjoyed faster, more affordable computers, mundane tasks were able to be accomplished with just a click, response times were quicker, and the expectation became that you can get some- thing as soon as you need or want it.
Fast-forward almost two decades 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
Square footage used to be king; however, Millennials are coming from a perspective where 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 want quality upgrades in their chosen spaces. Top-of-the-line appliances, hardwoods, and tech features are just a few 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 people and things 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 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 not 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 and opportunities the neighborhood offers. 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.
With or without these amenities, being knowledgeable about what options are close by could be key to closing a deal.
Man’s Best Friend
Pet amenities are 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, personalized lockers, pet doors, and built-in doggy beds.
The Customer Journey
Millennials 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.
• LiveChat or virtual agent features to help with the data gathering process. The more information that you can provide digitally the better.
• Making sure 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. 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 Director of Marketing for Homes By Dickerson. She is a past chair of the Triangle Sales and Marketing Council for the Raleigh-Wake HBA, a member of the PWB, and was awarded 40 under 40 by Professional Builder Magazine. She may be reached at Julia@HomesByDickerson.com.