Back in March, a study done by the National Association of Realtors revealed that the largest group of current homebuyers were millennials, those who are 34 years old or younger. With todays’s changing demands of what homes should include, there are certain things that millennials look for. Because of that, millennials have become an increasingly important market segment in real estate, and if you’re a millennial, like myself, you should have an idea of what to look for in a home.
The kitchen and bathrooms of a home can become a very costly renovation, so if you’re on a budget due to student loans, car payments, etc., it will be better if you purchase a home that already has them upgraded. When buying a home, you already know you’ll be putting a lot of money into it, so you shouldn’t have to worry about spending additional expenses on upgrades in your new home. Plus, you don’t want to become more stressed in an already stressful time. Although there might be a few things you’ll want to fix after you have settled into your new home, you don’t want to have to focus on shelling out more money for significant renovations later on.
Another important feature you should look for in your home is an office. If you have a family and want to do some work at home, it’s beneficial to have your own separate place where you can go and be alone to get things done. Given how mobile our generation is, the ability to work from home has become a lot more attainable, depending on your profession. If you normally work from home, this is a very useful amenity. If you usually work away from home, you can still use a home office on weekends or other days off when you’re in the mood to get some work done.
Location is another significant factor that you should take into consideration when searching for a home. When thinking about a location, you have to contemplate what will work best for your situation, such as needing access to public transportation; or, if you have children, looking for an area that’s a little more suburban and has a great school district. You don’t really know for how long you’ll be living in a certain home (you might find an even better one in the future), so you want to be sure that it’s not just the home that you think about, but also the location, the community, and what that area offers.
We live in a reality-TV era, and when you’re looking for a new home, there’s a chance that you might get hooked on a reality television show or two about real estate. While it’s okay to watch these shows from time to time, you shouldn’t let your expectations get out of hand as to how the home-searching process is going to play out.
“The millennial buyers are the buyers who have had the most exposure to the popular TV shows that showcase real estate,” said Donald Dwyer, real estate associate broker for Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty and manager of its Yorktown office. “In watching these shows, they are often influenced by transactions occurring out of state and frequently come to our agents with unrealistic expectations. These expectations are often about the condition of homes, size of bedrooms, price, and seller concessions.”
If you’re a millennial, you’re most likely going to ask about the home’s technology. According to a 2013 survey done by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, 56 percent of millennials say that technology is more important than curb appeal, 64 percent wouldn’t live in a home that doesn’t have the latest technologies, and 84 percent believe that modern technologies are a must-have for a home.
Given how mobile devices and the Internet are used heavily in our day-to-day activities, you’re going to be looking for homes that are compatible with today’s technology. In this case, a home that includes excellent phone reception from a mobile carrier’s signal and a Wi-Fi connection from a service provider will certainly be high on your list during the searching process.
“Millennial buyers tend to be very tech-savvy and love to search for homes on their own,” said Dwyer. “They attend open houses and are highly selective. They only involve an agent when they have found a particular home they want. Many of these buyers are straddled with college debt, which often makes them less eligible to buy the house that fits their dreams, which can pose a challenge for their agent. Millennials are going to be 90 percent of the workforce in a decade, so agents must be prepared to work with them and stay ahead of the technology curve.”
Speaking of the Internet, more than 80 percent of homebuyers (of any age) use it for their home search, according to the NAR. So, it’s important that a property looks as appealing as possible to potential buyers when they look online. As a millennial, I know our generation is used to having crystal-clear images on our computers and cell phones, so I’m sure you don’t want to see home photos that are grainy or out of focus. The photos should grab your attention and interest, and that can’t happen if you need to squint at the image.
Being a millennial, I know you want to have the latest entertainment and backyard features that will offer your guests a memorable time when you invite them over. If your budget allows it, having something like a patio, a pool, fire pit, a big-screen TV, or a basement built for entertainment purposes will attract family and friends to your home. Once you purchase a new home, you’ll want to throw a housewarming party, so including any of these fun amenities will have your guests coming back.
If you’re a millennial homebuyer and are just starting out on your search for a home, make sure to find a place that fits your needs, but don’t go for more than you can afford. Owning a home is a huge responsibility, but if you know what to look for, your search will be a successful one.