- Millennials make up 35% of homebuyers.
- If you’re selling your home, you should pay attention to the unique needs and preferences of millennial buyers.
- Small renovations to your home’s lighting, floors, and outdoor spaces can make it more appealing to millennial homebuyers.
Millennials make up the largest generation in the US, and 34% of all homebuyers.
Although it’s true that millennials are happier living in urban settings, those that are buying homes are now gravitating toward the suburbs, according to a recent study by the National Association of Realtors.
The typical buyer is married with kids, is looking for more space at an affordable price, and views home ownership as an investment, the study said. So if you’re a seller, you should be paying special attention to this market, which has its own set of needs and preferences.
Before they even contact a realtor, they’ve spent every spare moment perusing Zillow, creating Pinterest boards, combing Houzz for design ideas and making lists of “must-haves.”
“Small changes will optimize your online imagery,” Erin Feeney, a top realtor with the William Raveis real-estate agency in Boston, told Business Insider. “You’re capturing them first on Realtor.com or Zillow, and if your pictures scream ‘old,’ you won’t get the crowd you want.”
To make sure your home gives them at least some of what they want, here are eight relatively low-priced upgrades and improvements you can do to appeal this generation of buyers.
Give your front door some attention
It’s the first thing buyers will see, so you’ll want to create a Pinterest-worthy impression.
“Change the lighting, the mailbox, house numbers, and paint the front door,” Feeney told Business Insider. “You’ll want to remain in keeping with the style of the house.” But as rule, go for more contemporary styling.
Install smart home technology
Ditch your old-fashioned doorbell for a video system such as Ring, which allows you to see, hear, and speak to anyone at your doorstep via a smartphone app.
Young couples who both work, or who are caring for young children at home, will appreciate the extra convenience and security. Also consider mobile-controlled locks, and thermostats, such as Nest.
“Light fixtures are a timestamp on a property,” Feeney said.
In other words, those round, flush-mounted ceiling fixtures in antique brass have to go.
“Change them out for something more contemporary like a semi-flush fixture with a drum shade,” she said. Update the fixtures in your bathrooms while you’re at it, and switch to LED lighting with dimmer switches wherever possible. This will help you adjust the lighting according to the time of day your house is being shown.
Working from home is becoming more and more common, and young buyers are looking for homes with dedicated work spaces.
Is there a spare bedroom that you could turn into an office, or a nook in your kitchen that could accommodate a small desk?
“Many millennials started out having urban living experiences, and now they want to recreate an urban feel in a suburban environment,” said Jason Duff, founder of Small Nation, a real-estate development company in Bellefontaine, Ohio.
Invest in a few sets of outdoor string lights, a café table, an outdoor rug, and some potted plants, and voila — your millennial buyers will have a place to hang out with friends and family while feeling like they’re back on the roof deck.
Younger buyers typically won’t need tons of room for suits and ties, so make sure your closets have plenty of space for more casual attire, says Duff.
Shelves for T-shirts and sweaters, shoe holders, bins for accessories — anything that helps the space feel cleaner and more organized will appeal to their inner Marie Kondo.
Rip up wall-to-wall carpeting
“Most millennials want homes that are pet friendly,” Duff said. Carpeting, which absorbs and retains odors, stains, and hair, is usually a big turn-off. Wood floors are more desirable, but if you need to put down new flooring and you’re on a budget, you might consider luxury vinyl tile, which could work particularly well in a finished basement or home gym.
“The installation is less than traditional hardwood, and with recent product advancement, it’s hard to distinguish between the two,” Duff said. Plus, it’s more durable and easier to maintain.
Paint with neutral colors
And by neutral, we mean shades of white, of which there are literally hundreds.
“If you’ve got a red dining room that was ‘of the moment’ several years ago, paint it Simply White by Benjamin Moore,” Feeney said. Maple and cherry kitchen cabinets that were popular 20 years ago can also be updated by having them professionally painted (in white, of course) at a fraction of the cost of new cabinets. Don’t forget to update hardware such as handles and drawer pulls.
“Smart editing and styling go a long way,” she said.