11 Must-Haves to Sell to Millennial Home Buyers

The millennial generation has emerged as a dominant force in the housing market. According to the National Association of Realtors’ study of generational housing trends, millennials (or Generation Y) — those born between 1980 and 2000 — comprise the largest segment of the buyer market (35%).

When searching for the perfect home, they don’t like cookie-cutter floor plans — they want their homes to be unique and personalized to their styles and tastes and to really represent who they are. Because of what they’ve seen from the economy, they are quite conservative in their spending and they want value for their money.

Here’s a look at 11 essential features that a home must have to sell to millennial buyers:

1. Updated Kitchen & Bath

The primary reason that millennials seek updated kitchens and baths is because they have limited budgets. Most of their savings will go toward the down payment and furnishings. Kitchens and bathrooms are some the most expensive parts of a home to update, and young homeowners cannot afford to sink a lot of money into those areas.

2. Open Floor Plan

An open space that can easily transition from kitchen to TV room is high on the list of the perfect home for millennial home buyers. They are more attracted to an open floor plan because they want friends and family to flow through the home during gatherings, rather than be sectioned off in rooms.

3. Laundry Room

Millennials will focus on function over size. One of the most desired features they are looking for is a laundry room, with 55% of millennials saying they just wouldn’t buy a new home without one.

4. Home Office

As technology continues to make us more mobile, millennials have more options than ever to work from home. Having a dedicated home office space is important because it will help keep them focused and concentrated on work while they are at home on a video conference, planning a presentation, setting up their workday or simply paying bills.

5. Outdoor Lighting and Space

Surprisingly, another feature that millennials are also looking for in a new home is exterior lighting, with a reported 88% saying it was essential or desirable. Outdoor living space is important to millennials, so exterior lighting likely plays an essential role in making the space feel like a relaxing retreat for entertaining.

6. Technology

Technology plays an important role in the lives of millennials, who literally grew up with the Internet. Mobile technology has allowed them to customize just about everything they do, so they like “connected” homes that allow them to unlock their door, control their thermostat and receive information about when their front door opens via their smartphones or tablet device.

7. Energy Efficiency

This is a green generation and energy efficiency is important to millennials. Customizable mobile technologies allow them to keep their energy costs down. However, while nearly 40% of those surveyed by NAHB said they would like an environmentally friendly home, they wouldn’t necessarily pay more for it.

8. Good Home Design

Above all, home design is one of the top motivating factors for millennials. Real estate shows on TV have impacted all buyers on the way they look at houses. Buyer expectations are often met — and at times, exceeded — by staging a home. Staging a home is always helpful as it helps people to feel at home the moment they walk through the door, as opposed to having to imagine what it could look like once they move in. How a home lives is more important to millennials than any one feature. When you’re a first-time homeowner or your key purchasing driver is about style, you’re looking for something that says something about you and provides you with a good value.

9. Good Location

They want a sophisticated, urban look and feel to their communities, but they don’t want the prices that come with it nor do they want the hassles like traffic. If being able to walk to shops, restaurants or work is not an option, then millennials want to live near public transportation hubs, such as rail lines or bus stops.

10. Low Maintenance

Low-upkeep features such as wood floors (as opposed to carpet) and granite countertops are seen as positives for millennials because they’re both attractive and relatively hassle-free. There’s a generational shift toward a society that’s more “disposable,” where homeowners prefer to replace rather than repair.

11. Online Photos

No matter what they are looking for, millennials start ALL of their searches online. For a listing to catch their attention, a home must have professional photography that shows the space in its best light, or they will move on before ever stepping foot in the door. According to the most recent analysis from the National Association of Realtors, 88% of buyers use the internet to search for homes, including 94% of millennials. By comparison, real estate agents are the second-most common resource for finding a home, with 87% of all buyers citing an agent’s help as a key factor.


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