How to Market Your Home to Millenials


Most Realtors and home stagers agree that when you have an understanding of who your potential buyer is, staging and selling your home gets easier. 

You don't want to shoot your foot off by marketing to a specific and narrow group of buyers, but since Millenials represent 37% of today's homebuyers, you'd be wise to find ways to appeal to them. These are people between 22 and 40 years old. 

Although there will be some needs that your home might not answer for these buyers, there are bound to be features your property has that this market craves. And there are likely other features that you can easily add or imitate.   

Here are the features that are important to these buyers.  

Low maintenance living

Young singles and couples are likely to have full-time jobs, young families, and busy social lives. They'd rather not spend their limited leisure time taking care of tedious household chores. And they may not have the skills or equipment to do things like pressure washing, carpet shampooing, gutter cleaning, window washing, and other tasks common to homeownership. 

They usually prefer hard flooring over carpeting. One hard flooring material that takes a minimal amount of upkeep is luxury vinyl planking. I have it through my home and cannot believe how simple it is to keep it looking clean. 

Other details Millenials would appreciate are windows that tilt in for cleaning, jumbo gutters with gutter guards, LED lights, metal roofing, non-staining countertops like quartz, and cement fiber siding. These are the kind of things that make a home low maintenance. If your home has any of these perks, be sure your real estate broker knows the specific benefits of them so she can point them out and include their specs in the MLS listing.    

Exterior routines necessary to keep a home looking good include lawn mowing, pruning, fertilizing, edging, watering, and weeding. Now's the time to minimize these tasks by scaling back labor-intense landscaping. Replace fussy flower beds with groundcovers, hardscape, or small shrubs in a mulched bed. Limit turf areas to what's necessary to keep up to neighborhood standards and provide grassy play areas. Get rid of thirsty or disease-prone trees and shrubs. Use native plants that thrive in your climate.  

Stay true to your horticultural zone so you can conserve water,
grow healthy plants, and simplify yardwork. Photo: Bob Vila 

Flexibility  

Today's homes and today's buyers aren't like those of bygone eras. Today's young buyers generally run away from the formal dining room and traditional wood cabinetry, pastel tiled bathrooms and carpeted floors, matching gold hardware and chandeliers, vertical blinds, and wallpaper borders.  

The attraction now is a layout that can accommodate a growing family of assorted interests and needs. Younger buyers will be looking for flex spaces -- areas and rooms that can be used in a variety of ways and change when needs change. Examples are a guest room that can be a craft room, or a finished basement that serves as the family room. I have seen homes where a wide hallway serves as a home office, in another, a landing is used as a reading nook, and in another.  

If you have areas in your home that do not display dual-purpose possibilities, you can stage them to help buyers see the potential. Possibly your home office can include a daybed, or a mudroom can include a sewing station. 

An enclosed porch is often used in the American South
as what's called a "summer sleeping porch." Photo: Seth Benn 
  

This craft room could be used as homework central, 
workout space, extra bedroom, or home office. Photo: Toll Brothers

Useable outdoor space

Even though Millenials don't want to be tied down with yard work, they still want to be able to relax, entertain, and play outside. If your home does not have some kind of level area like a porch, deck, or terrace for these kinds of uses, consider adding a patio of concrete pavers. It could be a weekend DIY project that would definitely add value to your property. 

Other popular outdoor attractions are a firepit, a fenced backyard, a picnic table, and a garden shed. Check that these upgrades are included in your listing info and are photographed. 

In some locales, a chicken coop, pollinator garden, vegetable patch, herb bed, pit for playing horseshoes, shade pavilion, privacy hedge or screen, rain barrel, inground irrigation system, pool, or putting green would get noticed and appreciated. It depends on the lifestyle where you live, what the norm is, and your price point.   

High-tech perks

Millennials grew up with computers and smartphones. If you are part of this demographic, your home may already sport some of today's high-tech amenities. If not, consider making a few of them part of your home's list of bragging rights.  

Some of these additions that wouldn't be difficult or costly are a programmable thermostat, a security system, an under sink water filtration system, low-flow showerheads, faucets and toilets, and a video doorbell. If your appliances are new, they could be smart appliances. Other impressive upgrades include a whole house water filtration system, on-demand hot water heaters, an electrical system that easily handles multiple electronic needs, and a home theatre that conveys with the property.  

Turnkey residence

Because they want a home they can move into without the bother and additional, unknown cost of what it would take to make it suitable, Millenials will shy away from homes that need even minor remodels like painting interior walls, replacing toilets, shoring up a porch, or even changing ugly ceiling lights.    

And when it comes to the more serious repairs, they are even more skittish. If any of a home's infrastructure systems like plumbing, electric, and HVAC are obsolete or poorly maintained, they send up serious red flags for younger buyers.  

That's why it's good to hire a home inspector before you list your property. What you pay him will save you money in the long run because flaws that potential buyers discover will be bargaining chips during negotiations. It will be cheaper for you to fix them than it will be to reduce your price by what their real estate agent insists it will cost the new owners.   

Installation errors can lower HVAC efficiency by up to 30%, so why not have a heating and cooling company give your system an inspection and a tune-up, and an appraisal of its condition? A termite inspection is usually free. An electrician can provide you with quotes for work to be done and the same is true of a plumber. Armed with these kinds of figures, you can decide what, if anything needs to be done, and you are more equipped to negotiate knowledgeably. 

New appliances 

Your major appliances don't have to be brand new, but if you want to impress the Millenial market, the newer they look, the better. New or like-new appliances build confidence in home buyers, particularly in first-time buyers who might be accustomed to living with mom and dad or renting a well-equipped condo. 

If you decide to replace major appliances, look for a retailer who will give you a discount for purchasing the refrigerator, dishwasher, and range as a package. Or, shop for scratch-and-dent appliances that don't have obvious damage. Big box stores usually have a section for these discounted appliances, some of which were returned only because the previous buyer changed his mind. 

If your appliances still have years worth of reliable service in them but need some cosmetics to make them look new, there's a paint for that. Actually, a few different paints. Rustoleum makes a spray paint to refresh white appliances. Krylon makes an appliance touch-up paint in a tube designed to cover minor chips and scratches. If you want to convert white or almond appliances to a stainless finish, there are black and silver paints for that also, paints and techniques you can read about by searching online for "refinish appliances with paint."  

What's not to love about a laundry room that
is equipped with the latest in washer and
dryer models, but also an overhead, adjustable,
 vintage drying rack? Photo: Jean Stoffer Design

Trendiness 

The latest styles and trends are more important to Millenials than to other market groups. 

Two ways to make your home look newer are with today's window styles, and with the latest in hardware details like doorknobs, hinges, lights, and faucets. 

Contemporary windows can give a building an entirely new look, both inside and out. If your windows are more than 20 years old, they are not energy efficient and probably show their age as well. I suggest you get a price quote from a local installer, and I think you will be surprised by how economical and quick this project can be. Look for the blue Energy Star sticker and be sure your Realtor stresses that energy expenses can amount to a savings of  7% to 15%  --  something every buyer is looking for.

Selling time is time to take a critical eye to the hardware in your home. If you replace old brass door handles with black hardware your home will look more in step with the times. 

The same is true of lighting, both inside and out. A stroll through the lighting department of any home improvement store will teach you what's on-trend and energy-efficient for chandeliers, vanity lights, and exterior fixtures. Poking around Pinterest will show you numerous ways to update older lights to make them look trendier.   

New vinyl windows in this kitchen made the room look
new and clean. Stainless appliances, a butcher block island,
and a modern chandelier add to its appeal.

Not every Millenial buyer will want a separate dining room, but 
most will like a flex space like this one. This photo and
above photo: DWD Discount Windows and Doors


Get the look, get the book

When you reach out to a younger market, you'll be competing with landlords who are renting homes to this same market, especially in these 13 cities it is cheaper to rent than buy.  Five years ago over half (65%) of the people 35 or younger rented where they lived. And it could be higher now with a hot sellers' market. Usually, landlords do not stage a property, so you'll have a distinct advantage over those properties if you stage your home.  

You may not be able to change the location of your house or the architectural style or the square footage of your house, but you can certainly make your home more attractive to Millennials in numerous ways. And the best part is that most of your tweaking and upgrades will appeal to other home-buying groups as well. 

Don't leave before you download my staging eBook, DIY Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home Fast and For Top Dollar. It gives you all the advice and encouragement you need to get the best deal in the shortest time. Let me share with you what I have learned from my years of buying, staging, and selling homes for a profit.