The goal of homeownership has epitomized the American Dream for generations. But the Millennial homebuyer is a far different animal than homeowners of previous decades. Indeed, the Millennial homebuyer tends to have far different needs and expectations not only for the homes they buy but for the entire home buying process.
And that means that, in many ways, Millennials are revolutionizing the real estate industry. But what is it, exactly, that makes the millennial homebuyer different, and what can you do to tap into this important, lucrative, and rapidly expanding market?
The Evolving Needs of the Young Homeowner
Millennials are generally defined as those born between 1981 and 1997. Thus, this is a generation that is truly just coming into its own, having begun to establish careers and build families of their own.
But these are also the first generation of homebuyers to be considered true digital natives, those who came of age in the aftermath of the mobile digital revolution. And that has led to several characteristics that make Millennials distinct from previous generations of homebuyers.
First, and foremost, Millennials are true children of the information age. They are consummate researchers, used to being able to pull up any information they may want or need with the mere tap of a digital screen. And that means that as young as these homebuyers are, they are also in no way naive.
So you’re going to need to be prepared to collaborate with a truly savvy consumer, one who will not take well to less than stellar service. Your Millennial homebuyer will expect you to be prepared and available whenever and wherever they may need you. After, this is also the on-demand generation, for whom patience is likely not a strong suit.
Thus, if you want to build a strong relationship with Millennial homebuyers, it’s imperative to focus on service. The home buying process is a perilous and stressful one for every consumer, but it can be especially so for young homebuyers who may be going through the experience for the first time and who likely have other sources of financial anxiety, such as student loan debt. This means that you will need to communicate clearly, frequently, and comprehensively with these young homebuyers if you’re going to retain their business, their loyalty, and their positive word of mouth.
Tackling the Tech
It’s not only that Millennial homebuyers may be the most informed generation of aspiring homeowners in history, but the technology that so often shapes the Millennial’s daily life will also likely play a pivotal role in the homebuying process. Indeed, Millennials are used to conducting most, if not all, of their business online, and searching for their new home is likely to be no different.
This means that much of the work you will do with your young homebuyer will be in digital format. Millennials are often seeking to explore their prospective homes online first, meaning that they expect to be able to browse digital listings and engage in virtual tours of the property and the neighborhood.
In addition, because Millennials value speed and convenience, they are also likely to expect to be able to do much of the necessary paperwork, from applications to secure document signings, online. For young adults looking to purchase a home in a new city, indeed, the opportunity to find and perhaps even close on a home without ever actually laying eyes on the real estate agent in person can be a tremendous value for these young homebuyers.
Smart Homes and Small Footprints
Given the unique attributes of the Millennial homebuyer, it’s perhaps not surprising that they should have vastly different expectations for the home of their dreams. For example, these tech-savvy young adults are likely to place a far higher premium on smart home technology than might members of previous generations.
For instance, Millennials generally want secure, high-speed broadband internet access throughout the home, complete with full home connectivity. Ideally, they’ll want a home that allows them to control everything from appliances to thermostats to door locks with just the simple touch of their smartphone.
But it’s not only that Millennials are looking for digs that are tricked out with the tech. They also want a home with a minimal carbon footprint which, for many, is an attribute of the tech they seek. For example, these homebuyers are looking for energy-efficient systems that enable them to reduce their energy consumption and minimize waste using these advanced smart systems.
This coincides with a desire for a smaller footprint, more outdoor living space, and renewable energy sources, from solar panels and wind turbines to composting and wastewater management systems.
There are few feelings more satisfying than to pull into the driveway of your own home. But Millennial homebuyers are far different from previous generations of homeowners. From changing expectations for the homes they seek to their ever-evolving requirements in the homebuying process itself, Millennials are truly revolutionizing real estate.
By Indiana Lee, BOSS contributor