By Jameson Doris
Dogs - It's no secret that us millennials love our dogs. In a recent industry survey, research showed that millennials are now more likely to buy a home because they want a place for their dogs to run around rather than because of the birth of a child. In the top five list, more space for a dog fell at No. 3, with 33 percent of respondents answering such. The birth of a child was the fifth reason, with just 19 percent of respondents answering that way.
- According to the Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association (ORRA), millennials are factoring their pet's needs when looking to buy a home. Top things we're looking out for are homeowners associations that would restrict certain breeds and proximity to dog parks, as well as access to doggie daycare options.
- Only more living space, 66 percent, and the opportunity to build equity, 36 percent, were noted by more millennials as reasons they bought their first home.
- The industry survey also revealed that among millennials who have never purchased a home, 42 percent say that their dog—or the desire to have one—is a key factor in their desire to buy a home in the future.
Fixer-Upper - HGTV has the current state of the housing market to thank for the success of their many fixer-upper shows. It's true that many millennials are looking for a fixer-upper as their first home because in most of places it's a financial impossibility to put a down payment on anything else (this also explains the steady rise in renters in this country). Overcome with student debt and faced with less high-paying jobs after graduating, most people my age must either rent or move into a very small home. Fixer-uppers are becoming the third increasingly popular option.
- Most millennials can't afford much more than a small, basic house. Young and educated (and with home-flipping reruns on TV), millennials are open to investing in larger homes in questionable conditions because of the potential value that lies in them.
- This year, Home Depot reported that same-store sales rose 6.3 percent, amid forecasts for just a 4.4 percent increase. The company attributes this to millennials who are buying their first home and tend to purchase houses that need repair and remodeling.
- According to Houzz's 2017 House and Home study, buyers who bought their first home in 2016 spent an average of $33,800 on renovations—a 22 percent increase over 2015.
Laundry Room - Year after year, surveys taken on millennials' buying decisions point to the same thing. When looking for a first home, the No. 1 individual home feature we're looking for is a separate laundry room. Across the board, millennials are willing to sacrifice comforts like a two-story foyer and extra square footage for a laundry room. And we have our reasons.
- In a 2015 NAR survey, 55 percent of millennial respondents said they wouldn't buy a new home that didn't have a separate laundry room.
- With laundry rooms being such a huge factor in millennials' buying decisions, you may want to take a closer look at the way you're presenting the laundry room in your listings. Focus on freshening it up and add more photos of it to your listing.
- Last month, GNP Realty Partners found that roughly 92 percent of homebuyers want a separate laundry room, coming in again as the No. 1 feature millennials are looking for.
Eco-Friendly - This point may sound counter-intuitive to millennials' desire for a fixer-upper, but making a home more attractive to us millennials with a few green features doesn't have to cost a fortune. When viewing a house, seeing simple things like LED lighting, solar panels and double-paned windows instantly make a property more attractive to us. Not only is energy efficiency trendy, but it will help millennials save money in the long run on power bills—not to mention our generation is very focused on reducing our carbon footprint.
- If you want to catch the attention of the growing millennial market, showcase how eco-friendly the property is. Make sure that there's a high-speed internet connection, and, if not, research an alternative.
- Being green is incredibly important to many millennials, so you have leverage when advising the seller to invest in solar panels or replacing appliances that aren't energy-efficient. Also, be ready to show off the outdoor living space.
- Voice-recognized smart home devices from major tech companies are taking over home features. Demonstrate ways that the home can be fully automated with the right products and efforts. Consider featuring safety devices like doorbell cameras that are connected via a smartphone app, as well as smart thermostats, which are slowly becoming the norm.