Guess what America! There’s a new real estate buyer on the street and he or she is not your usual customer any more.
A new generation, dubbed “Mmillennials" by whomever does the dubbing, have come of age, roughly 18 to 34 years old. Their parents were the Baby Boomers, the generation that said yes to Moon missions, the Beatles and the Internet, and no to Communism, polio and bee-hive hair-doos. According to a recently released national survey, the Millennials are saying no to a whole lot of assumptions we have had about what people want in a home, and yes to a lot of home features we may have never considered desirable.
Selling an older home to a Millennial buyer presents a unique set of challenge not traditionally see by today’s Realtor. The Millennials know what they want, and are used to having it their way. Therefore, it may be more advantageous for for example, to skip making repairs or improvements. Instead leave them to the young buyers to make their own changes, rather than buying into someone else’s ideas. This is especially true if the home improvements they don’t want jack up the price of the property.
Millennials also don’t have the same pre-conceived uses we are used to regarding how their home is used. What we call the living room may be a Millennial’s home theater. A dining room may be more valuable when used as a home office. Better to get Millennials to see a home’s potential than to stick to traditional uses.
One thing’s for sure. No Millennial is going to get excited about a low-tech home. High-tech Internet infrastructure goes without saying. Other technical capabilities that come high on the Millennial’s list are energy efficient laundry, appliances, smart home security systems and programmable thermostats. These are becoming increasingly common place. I recently showed a home to an inspector who wanted to check the radiant heating system, but try as we might, we couldn’t find the on-off switch. The owner was out of the country but I called his cell phone anyway and he picked up. Not only could he tell us where the switch was, he turned it on remotely using an app on his phone. From Zurich.
Millennials want information at their fingertips. If it’s an older home, outlining needed fixes will help Millennial buyers to prioritize, and separate the “important” from the merely “desirable” changes. Having an independent home inspection at hand can also assuage buyer’s worries about what they might be getting themselves into. Sellers may actually want to draw up a basic pre-planned renovation strategy. They can use it to show potential buyers the possibilities at hand. It makes the point that if they like un-changeables such as location, transportation hubs and schools, the details about the home itself can change.
And finally, forget about putting out freshly baked cookies at the open house. We suggest Kind bars. And neutral colors of course.