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Charlie Glahe WIN Broomfield

Marketing your home to millennial buyers

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Millennials are becoming an undeniable force in the housing market. According to the National Association of Realtors 2016 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report, they make up 35 percent of all home buyers, and for the third year in a row they remain the largest homebuying generation in the U.S. In contrast, the average home seller is about 54 years old. The generational gap between buyers and sellers means that sellers may not have the most comprehensive understanding of what these millennial buyers want.

When it comes to real estate, millennial wants and needs are quite different from the generations that came before them. To better market your home to this very important segment of homebuyers, there are a few important facts about millennials you should know: 

1. Millennials like open spaces 
Millennials are an extremely social generation, and as such they prioritize homes with open floor plans that allow spaces to flow into one another.  They are turned off by homes with too many walls that make it difficult to host gatherings at which all attendees can easily mingle. If you have an open floor plan, make sure to highlight that feature in your listing.

If you don't have an open floor plan, that doesn't necessarily mean you need to start knocking down walls and making expensive renovations. When staging your home for showings, Darbi McGlone, a realtor who is also a millennial, told Realtor.com that sellers can make spaces feel more open by reducing clutter. In addition to open floor plans, millennials like clean, modern-feeling homes, so staging your home to feel more sleek and minimalist could make a big difference. 

2. Millennials see homes as investments
Many millennial home buyers are not interested in remaining in their new homes for a long period of time. They are more often looking to purchase homes to accumulate wealth, rather than to set down roots. Realty Today emphasized that sellers need to take a new approach to marketing to this type of buyer.

Millennials may not be as interested in hearing about why your home is the best place to raise their children. They may prefer to hear about how difficult the home is to renovate and whether there will be solid future opportunities to make a profit on the property. As a seller, if you have determined that your interested buyer is one of these investment-focused millennials, you should highlight the features of your home that position it as a smart investment. 

Keep in mind, however, that as millennials grow up they are becoming increasingly family-oriented. The NAR report revealed that the median age of a millennial homebuyer is now 30, an age where many begin to think about starting a family. According to the report, 51 percent of recent millennial buyers bought a home in the suburbs. The number of millennials purchasing in cities decreased 4 percent this year, which means millennials may be becoming more family-focused than they used to be. 

3. Millennials like hardwood floors 
This desire is related to the millennial preference for modern-feeling homes. Carpets are largely unappealing to this generation. If your home has some beautiful hardwood floors, make sure to highlight them in your listing

4. Millennials like to walk 
If your home has great stores, restaurants and other amenities within walking distance, that could go a long way with millennials. NextTitle, a Title and Escrow company, said many millennials prefer to walk places and also prioritize living near public transportation. Again, make sure to emphasize these features in your listing if they apply to your home. 

5. Millennials start their home search online 
Actually, almost all generations do, according to NAR's Generational Trends Report. Because so many home buyers begin their searches online, it is key that your home is not only listed online, but also that it is accompanied by crisp, fresh photographs that will highlight features millennials love. 

6. Millennials are not looking for fixer-uppers
According to NAR, millennials are largely looking for finished homes. They are not interested in homes that will require a substantial amount of work and renovations. 

"The more the seller has done, the better, so the buyer doesn't have to spend time making changes," interior designer Allison Endres told NAR. 

To make sure your home is in great shape for these millennial buyers, consider getting a pre-listing inspection. That way, you can take care of any necessary repairs or renovations before a buyer discovers it in his or her own home inspection. As previously stated, millennials aren't looking for a project, so a pre-listing inspection could be key to making your home more appealing to this generation. 

A pre-listing inspection is paid for by the seller and conducted before the home goes on the market. It is a great way to prevent deals from falling through at the last minute, as if the seller does not want to make repairs, he or she will at least be able to alert the buyer of any issues with the home in the beginning of the process. Even more, if your pre-listing inspection report comes out clean, you can use it as a marketing tool to show buyers there is nothing wrong with your home. 

It may be a seller's market this spring, but it is still important to stage your home so it appeals to the greatest number of buyers. Making your home more millennial friendly doesn't have to be a long, expensive project. Sometimes, it can be as simple as a shift in staging strategies and a change in what your listing highlights.

Of course, not all millennials share the exact same preferences. These qualities, however, are shared by many and will help your home appeal to the greatest possible number of millennial buyers. As you get to know your buyer pool, you may find their preferences are slightly different. Work with your listing agent to determine which features of your home will attract the highest number of buyers in your specific area.