Think millennials aren't in the market to buy a home? On the contrary, by early 2019, millennials represented 42% of all new home loans. What does this mean for home sellers? It means it's time to start revamping your house to attract these buyers!
Luckily, there are plenty of simple and relatively affordable upgrades homeowners can make that appeal to millennial buyers. We asked the experts to share some of their top tips for attracting these young buyers, so your home can sell in a jiffy.
1. A home office space
The remote work trend is on the rise for all groups, but especially among millennials. As a result, Kerron Stokes, a real estate agent with Re/Max Leaders in Colorado, suggests showcasing a home's live-work versatility by carving out space for a home office.
"More than 13 million Americans work from home, according to the most current U.S. Census data. And all signs point to that trend continuing," Stokes explains. "It doesn’t have to be big, but millennial buyers are looking for somewhere to go for a last-minute conference call or to get additional work done during the day."
Luckily, this is an easy fix for sellers. If you're looking to make your property more attractive to millennial buyers, consider staging one of the smaller bedrooms (or even a bonus space like a nook or alcove) as a home office. It's a small touch, but it will help your potential millennial buyers picture the space working with their lifestyle.
2. Smart tech
Yes, this one seems obvious: Of course millennials are drawn to smart home tech—but what type?
"Appliances such as smart thermostats, smart doorbells, and more that can be controlled from an app are all the rage," Stokes explains. "Connectivity is king when putting a house on the market these days."
Yuri Blanco, owner of Re/Max Executives in Idaho, adds that millennials also crave low-cost tech.
"They crave smart security systems that don’t require a monthly subscription," says Blanco. "Any new technology that comes at a low cost is a major bonus to this age group."
3. Energy-efficient appliances
Energy-efficient products are also hugely important (and a huge selling point) for millennial buyers.
"Millennials are choosing eco-friendly materials such as nontoxic paint, Energy Star appliances in and around the home," Blanco says.
4. A game room/gathering space
When it comes to staging, Blanco suggests highlighting how a space could be used as a gathering place for friends—something millennials actively consider when viewing homes.
"Millennials think about friends' needs, so they want big areas where everyone can gather for entertainment, whether this be a TV or a game room," Blanco explains.
5. USB outlets
According to Stokes, it's particularly important to install USB outlets in bedrooms, living rooms, and kitchens if you want to catch millennial buyers' eyes. Smartphones are a fact of life today, and showing that your home is ready to make life easier with accessible charging ports will impress younger buyers.
"I recommend sellers swap out standard outlets for the outlets that include USBs for charging," Stokes says. "Constantly being on a smartphone drains a lot of power. When your home offers a charging hub or outlet for people, especially in unconventional rooms like the kitchen, they are more likely to stop and take a second look."
6. Neutral colors
When it comes time to paint a property, opt for soft, light neutrals to appeal to millennials.
"Millennials favor neutral colors," Blanco says. "Particularly grays have gained wide appeal, along with more whitewashed gray variations, soft neutrals, and creams."
7. Modern design
When it comes to upgrading cabinets and other built-in features, experts say to opt for modern design elements if you're hoping to woo millennial shoppers.
"In recent years, we are seeing millennials prefer modern, sleek designs with clean lines and minimalist aesthetics," Blanco says. "To them, less is more. Homes that have new, stainless-steel kitchens, and simple cabinetry draw millennials in."
8. Outdoor living space
In addition to upgrades inside the home, Stokes recommends making sure that the backyard feels like an extension of the living space—something that's proving important to millennial buyers.
"Millennials have demonstrated a desire to personalize their homes, and large yards provide that opportunity," Stokes says. "Spaces designed to spend time with friends around fire pits, room for a garden, and room for pets to roam is desired. However, sellers should keep in mind that these areas shouldn’t require a lot of time and maintenance, as this is something that repels millennial buyers."
Amy Bonitatibus, chief marketing officer with Chase Home Lending, reiterates this point and adds that it's important to not forget the front yard as well.
"According to the recent Chase Housing Confidence Index, a survey which used data from the U.S. Housing Confidence Survey, millennial homeowners ranked landscaping first on their renovation wish list, ahead of bathroom and kitchen remodels," she says. "Everyone wants that Instagram-worthy curb appeal. Over 40% of young homeowners are looking to install new landscaping in the next few years."
9. Garage outlets
Millennials are also more likely than older buyers to extend that smart tech to the garage and try electric vehicles, which makes power outlets in the garage increasingly important to them.
"Having the option to power, from smart cars to toy batteries to an outdoor fridge, will instantly up your home’s appeal to millennials," Stokes says.
10. Storage space
Millennials aren't all about fashion over function, despite what some may (wrongly) assume. Blanco says that millennials are drawn to homes that have a lot of practical storage space.
"Millennials have a desire for storage," Blanco says. "If a home contains a multifunctional piece of furniture with storage options, even better. A home with plenty of built-in closets and drawers is more likely to be sold to buyers in this age group. Garages are also a notable place for increased storage."