It’s fair to say that the popular image of millennials is strongly negative. This much-maligned generation is mocked, belittled and chastised for everything from its perceived laziness to its apparent inability to make adult decisions.
If we believe this depiction, then it seems fairly clear how a millennial would want to buy a house. They’d want a massive government subsidy to purchase a six-bedroom palace in the right gentrified neighborhood, with all the utility bills included in the already-slashed price and the entire process carried out online. In fact, if the government could just pay for the whole thing, that would be great. And if that can’t happen, then no deal.
But since that depiction is entirely ridiculous, we can acknowledge the millennial generation as what it really is: a typically-varied selection of people trying to chart their paths through adulthood in very challenging circumstances. So with that in mind, what do millennials want from the process of getting on the property ladder? Let’s get into it.
They welcome professional assistance
Whether because they know less about financial matters (or adult matters in general, as detractors would no doubt allege) or are simply less stubborn and more willing to turn to professionals in an effort to get expert direction, millennials on the hunt for real estate are more likely than buyers from any previous generation to consult Realtors® — and they want a greater level of support than used to be possible.
Through the addition of online chatbots, 24/7 live chat systems and VR/AR technology, today’s Realtors® can offer incredibly broad services that aren’t limited to specific viewing appointments of office visits. Millennials want to take advantage of any and all of these possibilities before they make any big decisions.
If you’re looking to sell to millennials (or assist them with buying), be aware that they will want to check and double-check everything. Trying to bluff them or get away with an unmentioned property flaw is likely to end up making the situation much worse.
They prefer modern facilities
Nearly half of millennials would rather buy a new house build than an old one, which shouldn’t be too surprising. Not only do styles preferences change on a frequent basis, but the features that millennials prize — such as fast and consistent internet access and economic energy use — are far more likely to be found in newer properties built to accommodate them.
Of course, since the housebuilding market is eternally lagging behind demand (and commonly producing new builds that are vastly more expensive than newish properties), getting a new build is usually neither practical nor affordable, so buyers will make do with whatever is available.
Because of this, when it comes to matters of presentation for sellers, it’s strongly advisable to focus on a property’s viability for modern concerns such as green energy and remote working instead of stressing its original (intended) strengths. If a space that was designed for something entirely different could easily be reworked into a home office, that’s a great selling point.
They care about location more for leisure than for work
Property location is just as important to millennials as to any other generation, but there’s a difference in the reasoning. Where older generations would prioritize finding houses that would suit their careers through being close to suitable companies, millennials can afford to weight locations differently because of the aforementioned remote working.
Imagine a prospective buyer who wants to move to Miami for the sun. In previous times, they’d need to investigate the possibility of transferring to a different branch within their business (if conventionally employed) or look for a company worth investing in around their desired region. If they couldn’t find a suitable arrangement, they’d be rather stuck, and need to compromise on something — either settling for a house in a different area, or totally changing career path.
But that same buyer today has very different options because of the internet. Not only could they potentially arrange a flexible working situation with their employer, allowing them to work from anywhere with internet access, but they would also have options if they needed to start from scratch — it would just take a few searches to find a business for sale in Miami that they could acquire and run online, for instance. Internet access is steadily killing the old 9-to-5 model (for office work, at least), and though remote working isn’t yet standard, it’s surely only a matter of time until millennial buyers are truly able to move anywhere they can get online.
They want as much information as possible
The millennial generation was the first to reach maturity with the vast resources of the online world at its disposal, and being able to enter a few search queries and get almost any question answered within seconds has made millennials very savvy and diligent researchers.
Couple that level of ability with the strong real-estate reluctance that understandably resulted from the global financial crisis of a decade ago, and you have a clear explanation of why millennial buyers are so demanding in their requirements (and so slow to reach conclusions).
Consider this: their circumstances have delivered daunting house prices, stagnating wages, minimal job security, and astonishing true stories of corruption and greed in the financial industry. Any millennial buying a house must be plagued by thoughts that the deal will turn sour at any time and lose all their money.
Forget the tired image of lazy entitled millennials — they’re just trying to get by, just like any other generation, and they do want to buy homes when they can. But because of the challenges they face, they’re stricter and more cautious in how they go about buying property.
Any seller that wants to offload property to a millennial should make sure it’s fit for modern needs, and any real estate agent that wants to cater to them should be prepared to answer a lot of questions and provide a strong digital service.
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Patrick Foster is a writer and online commerce expert from Ecommerce Tips —a community ecommerce blog dedicated to sharing entrepreneurial insights from the business sector. Check out the latest news on Twitter @myecommercetips.