Realtors Need to Relay What First-​Time Home Buyers Really Want

BY Courtney Huckabay
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Millennials are powering the housing market. For the third year in a row, Generation Y (age 18 to 35) comprised the largest group of homebuyers, making up 35 percent of all buyers, according to a March report by the National Association of Realtors.

Partly for this reason, home builders are increasingly including the attributes that the millennial generation covets when designing new homes, according to a joint survey by the National Association of Home Builders and Better Homes and Gardens.

Realtors should be advising home sellers to make their homes more appealing to young buyers. Do this through television (over-​the-​air, online, mobile or tablet) advertisements. AudienceSCAN found 44.5% of First-​Time Home Buyers took action after seeing them in the past month.

They’re picky,” says Peggy Yee, a supervising broker at Frankly Realtors in Vienna, Va. “Millennials have specific needs, and if your home doesn’t meet them, they’re going to move on to the next house.”

For those considering putting homes on the market, they may want to think about doing some renovation work so that the home has greater appeal to younger homebuyers. That way, they may be able to sell a home more quickly and at the price that they want.

Real estate brokerages can help clients by preparing now, so they may sell their homes faster and at asking price. Suggest doing the following improvements and then highlight these features in marketing. According to AudienceSCAN research, 46.7% of First-​Time Home Buyers are willing to pay more for higher quality on most products.

Create a Separate Laundry Room

According to the survey from the National Association of Homebuilders, a separate laundry room topped millennials’ wish lists. In fact, 55 percent of respondents said they wouldn’t buy a new home if the laundry wasn’t separate.

Buy New Kitchen Appliances

No one has to do a major kitchen remodel to sell a home for more—but if the refrigerator, oven, stove, and dishwasher are old, replace them.

Make a Home Energy Efficient

If a home is energy efficient, it’ll likely sell for more. Millennials say they’re willing to pay up to 3 percent more if they think a home’s energy efficiency upgrades will help cut utility costs, according to the NAHB’s survey.

Make a Home Smart

More than two-​thirds of millennials think “smart home” technology is a good investment, the NAHB survey found.

Turn a Room Into a Home Office

More employers are allowing workers to telecommute—a shift that’s largely driven by millennials. According to a recent survey from Flexjobs, a job search site, about 85 percent of younger buyers say they want to work remotely full time. Create a home office that appeals to that desire and offers homeowners a nice tax break

Build a Low-​Maintenance Deck

Many millennials don’t want to spend their weekends doing home repairs or maintaining a garden. But they do want to be outside. To sell a home more quickly, Consumer Reports recommends adding a deck or patio, with room for seating and a built-​in or freestanding grill. Similarly, since landscaping requires upkeep forgo planting seasonal flowers in favor of perennials, which last for more than two years; peony plants, for example, can survive for decades with minimal care.

AudienceSCAN survey results reveal 4.8% of U.S. adults set personal goals to become first-​time home buyers this year.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies, or with the SalesFuel API. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.