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Five Things Millennials Want in a Home

My wife and I bought our first home 14 years ago. We were in our mid 20s—a then-unmarried, childless couple comprised of a younger member of GenX (me) and an early-generation Millennial (her). It was 2005. Home prices were high, mortgage rates were low, and we didn’t have any idea what we wanted in a home; we just knew we were tired of paying rent and packing up our things every couple of years to relocate to the next thin-walled apartment.

Home buying is a lot different today than it was back in 2005. Though Millennials are waiting longer to buy than previous generations, they are better equipped to make informed purchasing decisions, thanks in part to tools like Zillow. Now, instead of relying on realtors to cart them from listing to listing, they can review photos, videos and even drone footage of oodles of listings, all while binging Game of Thrones over a bottle of Two Buck Chuck.

So, with all this research power at their fingertips, what do Millennials want in a home? Here’s a quick-but-insightful list of features and amenities popular with Millennial home buyers.

  1. New Appliances

First of all, I’m guessing new appliances are appealing to any home buyer, no matter their age. But in a survey performed by Northshore Fireplace, 1,000 prospective Millennial home buyers put new appliances atop their list of desires, ahead of large master bedrooms and two-car garages, which held the second and third spots respectively.

  1. Eco-Friendly Features

Millennials have come of age in a time when the importance of protecting the environment has always been front-and-center. They’ve witnessed significant advances in eco-friendly tech, ranging from affordable rooftop solar panels to practical electric cars. So, it’s no surprise they gravitate toward homes with energy-efficient upgrades like double- or triple-pane windows, on-site energy storage and super-efficient appliances and HVAC systems.

  1. Smart Home Technology/Home Automation

The knack for quickly adopting and integrating new tech into their daily lives is a hallmark of Millennials. According to Connected Intelligence, nearly 25% of Millennial homeowners have installed some kind of smart tech in their homes, compared to just 12% of the general population. For prospective home buyers, features like programmable lighting, integrated security systems—and anything else you can control with an app—are attractive selling points.

  1. Hardwood Flooring

Like new appliances, I’d guess hardwood flooring has broad, multi-generational appeal. It’s easy to understand why: Hardwood floors look better longer, they’re arguably easier to maintain, and they have long carried a more luxurious connotation than their carpeted cousins. The trend continues with Millennials, who have more choices than ever in flooring, including durable, affordable laminate options.

  1. Finished Basements

The man cave was a brainchild of Generation X, and from the early 90s into the current day, the craze has been responsible for transforming countless basements into romper rooms for grown men. Millennials have signaled a return to a more traditional take on finished basements, preferring unisex entertainment hubs more than foosball table, kegerator-outfitted sports lairs.

Like any generation, the home-buying preferences of Millennials are shaped by the social, economic and technological landscapes of their time. While no one can definitively pin down the exact desires of each and every Millennial, there’s plenty of data to help us draw solid conclusions.

It’s clear that energy efficiency and smart-home technology are especially appealing to this group. The challenge for marketers in these spaces is identifying and qualifying their audience, and performing a customer-journey analysis is a great place to start. Find answers to the big questions, like: How do Millennials approach home buying? Why do they care so much about energy efficiency and technology?

After that, figure out ways to give your audience the opportunity to discover—and develop an affinity for—your product or service. Tactics could range from:

• Hosting pop-up events at local farmers’ markets

• Partnering with realtors to tell buyers about your product or service

• Advertise on popular platforms like Zillow

• Couple those efforts with a robust retargeting strategy

• Complement it all with SEM and influencer-driven social campaigns

• There are tons of channels and tactics to explore!

While it’s true Millennial home ownership is lagging behind previous generations, 2019 marks the year that the group claims its title as the largest generation ever in U.S. history. Sooner or later, Millennials will hit their stride in the real estate market—and marketers who make the effort to build relationships with all those prospective buyers now stand to see big returns in the future.

Need a hand with your Millennial marketing strategy or executing a focused campaign? Contact us

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