Everything You Need to Know About Millennial Home Buyers

Ben Laun June 3, 2019 | 7 min read
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Millennials have had real estate experts perplexed for years, but we know what they really want.

Figuring out Millennials has been notoriously tricky. It seems like nobody knows what they want—not even Millennials. Every month there’s a new Millennial trend that may or may not last to the end of the year. And every month there’s a news article begging for us to make up our minds. As a Millennial, I have some advice on how to read us.

Instead of looking at the things that keep changing, focus on what remains constant. Everybody is different. In this age of information, the variance in opinion and lifestyle has never been higher in a single generation. It’s hard to put Millennials in a box, but if you can understand a few core motivations, maybe you can better predict what it is that your client truly wants from their home buying experience.

In this age of information, the variance in opinion and lifestyle has never been higher in a single generation.

we’re waiting longer to buy

While previous generations jumped at the chance to buy homes as early as possible, many Millennials have taken the scenic route to homeownership. But why? Simply put, Millennials have more options. Experts have dubbed us “Boomerang Kids” because of our propensity to move back in with our parents after college. This phenomenon could be caused by a number of things, but regardless of the reason, it’s effectively pushed back the median age of home buying.

Homes are thought of as family purchases, and studies show that Millennials are waiting until later to settle down too! The previous trend of homeownership is living with your parents, renting, and then buying a home. Moving back in with parents throws a wrench in that trend that can set the process back a few years. If you add the wait to get married and start a family on top of that, Millennials are taking their sweet time to become homeowners, and that’s OK!

The Millennial’s Guide on How to Prepare to Buy a House

Millennials have taken the scenic route to homeownership

but we do want to own homes

I know a lot of what you’ve read over the past few years has said Millennials don’t want to buy homes, but that’s simply not true. Like I said earlier, we want to buy! It’s just taking us a little longer than previous generations. Did you know that single, employed Millennials are more likely to own a home than Baby Boomers and Gen Xers were at the same age? Doesn’t fit the narrative, does it? As we get married, settle down, and continue to pay off our mountains of debt, you can expect us to take the real estate market head-on. According to Zillow, 78% of Millennials think they’ll own a home before they turn 35, and more than half of us are planning to buy within the next five years. Just be patient, guys. We’re coming.

we just view homeownership differently

Millennials look at the concept of homeownership in a completely different light than the generations that came before us. While Boomers and Gen Xers viewed homeownership as a status symbol or a long-term investment, we see it as more of a rite of passage. Something that’s necessary to reach that next level of adulthood. The home itself isn’t really as important as the independence and financial security that comes with owning a home.

We also see homeownership as a fluid state of affairs. We don’t expect to be in the same place for too long. Partially because of the tough job market we’ve inherited, but also because of our sense of adventure. We don’t like staying in the same place or doing the same things, and it shows in how much we travel and change jobs over the course of our lives.

and we want different things

Well, when we’re FINALLY ready to buy a home, what exactly are we looking for? This may come as a surprise to you, but for an “entitled” generation, we’re actually pretty frugal and smart when it comes to buying our first homes. We place a high emphasis on affordability and convenience in the home buying process. We’re more likely to buy smaller and older homes than Boomers and Gen Xers, and we’re also more willing to give up luxuries like vacations and eating out in order to save for the costs of the home buying process. We like to be close to work, which explains why we’re so drawn to renting in urban areas. However, experts are starting to see a shift towards the suburbs.

For an “entitled” generation, we’re actually pretty frugal and smart when it comes to buying our first homes. #Millennials

we’re the most influential market segment

Did you know that Millennials make up the largest group of recent buyers at 36%? We may be latecomers to the homeownership party, but we’ve certainly made our presence felt in the real estate market as a whole. Everyone is waiting for Millennials to flood the market, which is boosting the demand for new housing and pushing the prices of existing housing upward. The Millennial housing market is just getting started, and it’s already incredibly strong.

but you’ll have to find us online

It’s no secret that Millennials are in love with technology. We’re the first generation to grow up in the digital age, and technology has become more than just a part of our everyday lives, it powers them. According to the NAR, 94% of Millennial home buyers start their house hunting process with looking at online listings, over half of us start this process on a mobile device, and half of those people end up finding their home through that same device! I hate to break it to you, but those “for sale” signs just aren’t going to cut it anymore. We’re an independent generation and we love to educate ourselves on things we’re not sure about.

Real estate agents still have a role to play, they just need to make themselves more available to an online market. High-quality photos and video tours are crucial when we’re looking at listings. The more immersive the online experience is, the better. A strong social media presence is paramount in grabbing our attention. Show off homes on Instagram and Twitter. Post house hunting tips on Facebook. Once you find out how to reach us online, you’re halfway there. All you have to do now is take us home.

What It’s Really Like Working with First-Time Home Buyers

final word

Millennials have been the focus of a lot of cynicism and speculation over the years. Nobody knows what we want or how to reach us. We’ve been labeled lazy and entitled, and these things simply aren’t true. We’ve grown up in a drastically different time, and it shows in how we operate. If you look past how we’re different from previous generations you’ll see we’re actually doing a lot of good. We’re bridging racial gaps in housing, positively influencing the economy, and continuing to innovate and create new ideas to make the world a better place. Just give us some time and we’ll work our magic on the housing market too!

Have you had success in the Millennial housing market? Any Millennials out there with additional insight? Let us know on social media!

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