What are millennials looking for in their first home? What do repeat buyers want? What trends have changed? According to statistics recently published by Better Homes and Gardens, here is how the wish lists of next-gen buyers can influence the hunt for your next nest and the sale of your current one.
1. Millennials purchase with a plan to stay. Millennials now tend to picture themselves staying for more than 10 years. Does this signal a new view of the so-called starter home—the first house that people buy (and keep only a few years) to launch their homeownership? In some ways, yes. Typical starter-home buyers are now investing in higher-end homes, and Millennials tend to want their first home to be their dream home. They want features traditionally associated with move-up buyers, such as good school districts and more square footage. There seems to be a shift because Move-up buyers now compete with first-time buyers, and Boomers seem to be looking closer at the traditionally “starter homes”
2. The home-buying process takes longer than it used to. First-time buyers tend to spend an average of five months from research to closing; repeat buyers did it in four. In 2012, a National Association of Realtors study found the process took first-time buyers only three months and repeat buyers two-and-a-half months. One possible reason for the longer hunt is the array of online property search sites. Another factor that can stretch the time frame is the loan process. That’s why agents consistently recommend getting pre-approved.
3. Buyers are looking for move-in-ready homes. Buyers used to seek out “fixer-uppers.” No longer is this the case, outdated kitchens and baths, unnecessary interior walls, old carpet that might be covering salvageable flooring—were all high on the list about 10 years ago. People could usually get homes with those problems at affordable prices then eagerly update and personalize them.
Currently, more buyers want homes that don’t require a lot of work. There’s no doubt that it’s an issue of not wanting to spend time and money. People tend to be willing to do cosmetic upgrades, but they don’t want to deal with expensive and extensive work such as replacing the roof or heating/cooling system. Knowing which renovations matter will increase resale value.
4. The “kitchen crush” is stronger than ever. The “heart of the home” still gets to the heart of us. Buyers across the board feel that the kitchen was the room that most motivated them to purchase their home. What are buyers looking for in kitchens? Islands are a big consideration in more ways than one—ample workspace and added room for seating, yes please! HIgher end appliances are in high demand as are specialty options, such as an ice machine, wine refrigerator or built-in coffee maker. Double ovens are also desirable for easy entertaining. Natural lighting and an open floor plan are also huge contributing factors. The kitchen not only influences buyers’ purchases but remains at the top of the list when asked to describe the home of their dreams. Most buyers will select a state-of-the-art kitchen as their most desired luxury over an outdoor pool or a theater room.
5. The biggest factor for millennial buyers: It’s a good investment. When naming the factors involved in their purchase, repeat buyers focus on features (size and style, for example); millennial buyers said homeownership was a step toward financial stability and adulthood. To maximize the investment, Realtors recommend buyers picture themselves as “someday sellers.” Things that are beneficial to consider are: Is this a growing, active area? Are we looking at the most expensive home in the neighborhood? Resale value is an important thing to consider when buying. One can never predict what life changes are around the next corner that will make a move necessary.