If you’re trying to sell your home, there’s a good chance that a millennial will be one of your prospective buyers. So how does this generation feel about homeownership? And how can you make your house more appealing to them? We have answers.
For the most part, these home-selling tips will apply to any age group. But there are a few interesting aspects about millennials that will change the way you market your home. You’ll need to put yourself in the shoes of those who might want to buy your house. After reading this, you’ll know how to do the following:
- Understand the barriers for millennials and homeownership
- Learn how to market to millennials
- Discover what millennials actually want in a house
Let’s dive into the head of the millennial (which may be scary for some of you) to point out some tips and tricks to selling your home.
Who Are Millennials?
Who exactly are these people? The funny thing is – it depends on who you ask. You’ll rarely find an agreed-upon definition. For the most part, though, it’s people who are approximately between the ages of 18 and 34.
These are the children of the internet – who have experienced an overall technology boom unlike the world has ever seen. Most have student loans and side hustles, an apparent obsession for avocados and they like to travel via Airbnb. They also have different lifestyle choices than previous generations, with many getting married later, not getting married at all, not having children or often changing jobs. Many have different financial habits and priorities.
And now they’re making a splash in the workforce. It is estimated by 2025 that 75% of American workers will be from the millennial generation.
Do They Want to Buy Homes?
As much as we like to paint millennials as these wandering nomads who travel vlog around the world, most still want to own a home. Eighty percent of millennials say they want to buy a house, and it’s estimated that more than a third are already homeowners. The problem, however, is that it’s been difficult for them to save for a down payment, with most millennials having less than $1,000 saved. Fortunately, there are now lower down payment options available, as well as tools specifically designed to help them save.
How to Market to Millennials
Social Media and the Insta-House
It is the age of Instagram and Snapchat, specifically when it comes to millennials. These social platforms have raised the bar when it comes to viewing photos online. Take a moment to consider how people will find your home’s listing. Eighty percent of home buyers are starting their search on websites like Zillow or Trulia, and they’re either using phones, tablets and laptops to do it. This means that their first impression of your house is coming from a description and, more importantly, photos.
Snapchat, which has been one of the most successful social platforms for millennials, also provides some opportunities for selling your home. Snapchat allows you to set a geofilter – which is an overlay that can be added to a picture or video – to any location. You can actually place a geofilter specifically around your house so prospective buyers can interact with it on your property.
If you’re going to go this route, make sure people know about it. Create a sign to explain that you have a geofilter at your property. Most people don’t currently assume that a geofilter will be placed at an open house.
Real estate information website Inman.com has a great tutorial on making a Snapchat geofilter for selling real estate
1. Quality of Photo
Most importantly, you absolutely need to have pictures in your online listing. This is a must whether you’re marketing to millennials or anyone else. The quality of the pictures need to be up to snuff as well. Make sure the house’s lights are on – try to rely on natural lighting as much as possible – and check that the camera is steady. It’s essential that you use a good camera. It may not make sense to take a picture with your phone. If you’re trying to gauge this, take a step back and consider if the image would be good enough for HGTV. If not, try again with better equipment.
You can potentially hire a photographer (this could be an expensive option) to take a few shots, or you could borrow or rent a camera to take your own photos. If you’re going to do it on your own, try to get a camera that has a least five megapixels. The point is that your photos need to stand out against other images on home listing sites. Think about it like any other social media posting. You’re competing with everyone else who’s selling a house. If you wouldn’t give it a “like” on Instagram, it’s not ready for its big debut.
2. Staging the House
This shouldn’t be your grandma’s house. The knickknacks, flowery wallpaper and dust need to go. Staging is a must, specifically when marketing to the millennial home buyer. For many of this generation, this will be their first time buying a home. Staging will give them a visual on how they could live in this space.
While there are a variety of considerations for decorating and updating, there are a few key areas where you should start. Cleaning and decluttering are a must. You’ll also want to depersonalize your space. After all, you’re not trying to sell the house to you. You’re trying to make it appealing to a wide variety of prospective home buyers.
While you shouldn’t try to mislead the prospective homeowner about your property, do your due diligence to make your home appear and feel as comfortable as possible. In many cases, it may make sense to stage your place with home décor to give it a more modern aesthetic.
3. Go Small or Go Home
Don’t live in a 3,000-square-foot house in the ‘burbs? There’s good news! Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to home-buying millennials. After all, many were either directly or indirectly affected by the financial crisis of 2008, watching their parents and grandparents lose significant value in their homes. The result has made numerous millennials tentative – and dare I say more strategic – than their previous generation’s counterparts.
The trend of the millennial generation is to buy smaller, older homes. The purpose of this is twofold: first, it allows them to buy a home with a smaller down payment or pay a smaller monthly mortgage payment, and more importantly, it gives them a chance to build equity in a house. This means that they’ll be able to use this starter home as a stepping stone to buy a larger home down the line.
4. More Amenities, Please!
While space isn’t as big of a concern for most millennials, they want their homes to come with modern and high-functioning amenities. This includes items like dishwashers, washers and dryers, and space to exercise in the home. If you’re selling a condo, having access to personal amenities isn’t necessarily a must. In a study conducted by Zillow, 54% of millennial home buyers are comfortable with and expect communal amenities, like a laundry or exercise room.
Home automation is another type of amenity that piques the interest of millennials. Many want the ability to interact with their homes in the same way they do with their smartphones. There are varying levels to the smarthouse setup, whether that’s automated security, heating and cooling, lights – the list goes on. But if you really want to appeal to millennials, start thinking about ways to make your home more tech savvy.
5. Selling DIY and Handling Maintenance
If your house has some unfinished projects, millennials might be a good target audience – they’ve grown up with YouTube and a variety of home renovation shows on HGTV. Calling a home repair specialist doesn’t necessarily have to be the go-to for millennials. They’re willing to roll up their sleeves and learn about the responsibilities of homeownership, especially if the price is right.
Make sure that you don’t confuse “project” with “maintenance,” though. Millennials expect all things to be quick, efficient and long-lasting. They’re a microwave generation and convenience is of the utmost importance.
When prepping your home to sell, think about renovations that speak to the utility-focused millennial. Consider switching out carpeting – which stains easily and requires regular vacuuming – with hardwood floors. Similarly, synthetic or composite decking might appeal to them over a traditional wooden deck. Often made of recycled materials, this option will need only a periodic clean with soapy water. And these low-maintenance options can even extend into the yard. Take a look at xeriscaping, which is both energy efficient and requires less time mowing during summer.
6. Showcasing Multifunctional Spaces
While we can’t put all millennials in a single category, there appears to be a trend of pursuing interior layouts with more open space that can easily be used for multiple purposes. They do this both for social and practical reasons. Socially speaking, this allows them to interact casually with guests throughout the entire house. They aren’t confined to just hosting in the dining room. They have the option to move around the home and entertain casually.
When it comes to smaller homes and condos, having multifunctional spaces is also a necessity. In an interview with REALTOR® Mag, Arthur Lasky explains that “Exercise equipment may share space in a bedroom, and a hammock may get tucked away into a dining corner if there’s little outdoor space.”
As you’re prepping your home for millennial buyers, make sure you show off your home’s versatility. You don’t necessarily need to knock down a wall to create a more open floor plan. Start by shopping at a store like IKEA or the Container Store, where you can model different ways to use your home’s space.
7. Outdoor Spaces
According to Better Homes and Gardens Executive Editor Jill Waage, “Seventy-five percent of millennials want relaxing outdoor spaces,” including amenities like vegetable gardens, decks and fences. When it comes to prepping your home for the millennial buyer, spend some time focusing on curb appeal. Is there sufficient space for relaxing or an outdoor gathering? It doesn’t have to be the large backyard with a white-picket fence, but make sure it’s a space that prospective home buyers could feel comfortable in with their friends (or a good book). There are plenty of great landscaping ideas that you can do with a small backyard.
You should also think about outdoor extras that you could throw in with the purchase. Could you include a grill? How about the riding lawn mower? A perk can do wonders when it comes to any potential home buyer.
8. Green, Value-Driven Millennials
Think about the advertisements you’ve seen in the last month. As you’ve probably noticed, millennials are marketed to differently than previous generations. Now, it’s not just about the quality of the product or even the celebrity who’s enjoying the product. Advertisers are now – more than ever – promoting causes and charities in their commercials and ads. Millennials want to know that their money is going to more than just a product; they want to attach their spending to something that will make the world a better place.
The same is true for buying a home. Millennials are focused on their home’s impact on the environment and their overall energy consumption. When marketing your home to the millennial buyer, consider how your house can follow that narrative. There are a wide variety of ways to make your home more energy efficient, many of which can be quickly implemented. Not only will these changes appeal to their values, but it also helps them save money.
That said, if you want to go the extra mile, there are some other options to market your home. One often underutilized way are infographics. Infographics are illustrated images that take a lot of information and simplify it through easy-to-understand pictures. This allows you to highlight how your home stands out above the rest, including the improvements you recently made. And you don’t have to be an artist to have this done. There are websites like Fiverr that will team you up with infographic specialists. For around $25, you can send in some facts about your home, and an artist will generate an easy-to-understand – and aesthetically pleasing – infographic. You can then either upload that infographic to places like Zillow and Trulia, or you can provide a physical copy at an open house.
Selling Your Home
When preparing a home to sell – whether you’re the homeowner or the real estate agent – it’s important to consider the buyer. And millennials are making up more of that prospective home buyer audience. You shouldn’t market your home to millennials the same way you would to baby boomers or Gen X-ers. Having a listing in the local newspaper probably isn’t going to pique their interest (or even be seen).
Instead, play to the millennial aesthetic, their pursuit of philanthropy and their desire to be relationally connected to the thing they’re buying.
Using these tips, you’ll be better equipped to prep your home to sell. Millennials are the up and coming generation. Make sure your home is ready.
And if you’re looking for options to purchase a new home, reach out to a home loan expert today!
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