As each generation comes of age, they also become prospective homebuyers. Although there is no shortage of challenges for younger generations, homeownership is still a goal that many aspire to — largely thanks to the abundance of media that showcases the joys and struggles of homeownership. Case in point? HGTV! HGTV (Home and Garden Television) is a channel that features home buying, selling, designing, flipping, and much more. HGTV is hugely popular with the age group known as “Millennials” — people born between 1982 and 2002.
Shows that especially resonate with Millennials include House Hunters, which follows the process of buyers finding their first property; Fixer Upper, in which Texans Chip and Joanna Gaines turn run-down properties into stunning homes with a southern twist; and Property Brothers, where brothers Jonathan and Drew Scott help homeowners tackle large-scale renovation projects to make budget properties look high-end. Although these shows are first and foremost entertainment, they provide an honest look into buying, selling, and renovating, thus empowering Millennials to take the leap.
Millennials might not be your target client base right now, but in the next few decades as they become the largest age demographic, they are going to be your primary client base. They won’t always be first-time buyers, and their behavior/perspective will evolve as they get older, but it’s worth getting to know them now to learn what makes them different from other generations.
They’re mobile and digital
Millennials seek out agents online and they are more likely to work with ones who have substantial web presence. If having a website is something you’ve put on the backburner, you’re already losing potential clients. Millennials use social networking to find agents; not just because they spend a lot of time on social networking, but also because they want to see reviews and endorsements. Few types of marketing are as effective as word-of-mouth marketing, and that’s essentially what social media is. Build up a follower base on the sites that Millennials use most, such as Instagram and Facebook. (If you’re not sure where to start with social media, don’t fret; check out our recent series.)
They want smaller properties
Gone are the days when homebuyers yearn for palatial properties. Millennials want quality over quantity; meaning, they seek smaller houses with high-end finishes. Luxurious details win out over space and storage. On House Hunters, many Millennial couples seek out townhomes or lofts — not just because these spaces are often less expensive than a single-family home, but because they get a feel for ownership without having to manage a huge plot of land. Amenities and location trump size for these types of buyers.
Millennials like clean and sparsely-decorated homes. But don’t confuse “minimalism” with “modernism.” While many Millennials enjoy sleek and “futuristic” abodes, just as many are eager to preserve traditional and retro details. Rustic and industrial styles appeal to Millennials. Details like subway tiles, farmhouse doors, exposed brick, and wood-burning fireplaces are features that often win them over. This is why Millennials flock to the style featured on Fixer Upper; even those who don’t live in cities where the “farmhouse” style is popular want to incorporate those elements into their home.
Consider this preferred aesthetic when planning your home stagings. According to Property Brothers, effective stagings show buyers an aspirational lifestyle. Keep furniture simple and neutral and add a few quirky, rustic accessories.
They’re willing to get their hands dirty
Millennials aren’t put off by a fixer-upper; in fact, many prefer it. This varies on a case-by-case basis, but it’s worth showing first-time homebuyers the properties that may require a little bit of elbow grease. Renovation is messy and difficult but can yield incredible results, especially for those who are willing to tackle much of the labor themselves. Shows like Fixer Upper make it look almost glamorous! Even when the reality is much different, Millennials are very DIY-centric; the popularity of craft websites like Pinterest and Etsy are evidence of that. Plus, many Millennial trends, such as concrete countertops, are popular because they are DIY projects.
If you’ve been put-off by the abundance of articles claiming that Millennials are just a bunch of lazy, avocado-eating youngsters, guess again. You might even be a Millennial yourself and can relate to many of these preferences. In any case, the Millennial homebuyer market can be big business for you. Start building these relationships now and you’ll earn clients for life.