Often referred to as Gen Y, Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers and Generation X as the largest United States labor force in the history of this country. As a result, they are now the generation most apt to buy a home, new or previously owned, and because of this, sellers need to be aware of just what it is that would appeal to this demographic. It is interesting to note how similar their wants are to those of the by-gone era of the 60’s in many respects.
Conservation with a Technological Edge
The parallel between home buyers in the 60’s and the home buyer of today bears an almost uncanny resemblance. When the hippie generation took over and sought to go back to nature, homes that were sustainable and agricultural in flavor were among the most popular. There was a ‘get back to the land’ mindset prevalent at the time and that mindset, one that missed Gen X, is back with a twist.
Just as an entire generation sought to move to the suburbs and rural land, Gen X began a huge migration to major metropolitan areas. Home buyers during this period were most interested in location and price. With the advent of green technology, Gen Y, the Millennials, are now seeking that rural domicile once again but with a technological emphasis on going green. They may not be looking to farm organic fruits and veggies but they are definitely looking to reduce the devastation they are doing to planet earth. Sustainable building materials such as natural marble and granite are preferred to their synthetic ‘lookalike’ counterparts.
Features that Appeal to Millennials
According to the National Association of Home Builders, Millennials are looking for features that are energy efficient. In fact, the NAHB states that as many as 84% of Millennials buying homes are actually willing to pay a higher price for a home that is built from sustainable, environmentally friendly materials. Gone are the days when cost had to be kept low with synthetic products that were easy to manufacture and prefabricate. Today’s home buyer is looking for building materials that will not cause further damage to the planet. Appliances that are Energy Star certified are a top priority.
Technology enters the mix at this point because many of this age group require digital controls over many of their appliances. Programmable thermostats and windows are a hot selling item. However, conservation in energy is not the only focus for today’s home buyer. Millennials also seek to conserve water and other natural resources as well. If you are looking to sell a home quickly to this group of buyers, install water efficient, low-flow, toilets in all your bathrooms!
Cost May Not Be an Issue but Tax Incentives Are
As reported by such groups as the National Realtors’ Association and the National Association of Home Builders, cost is not as much of an issue for Millennials as it was for previous generations but the tax incentives offered through the end of next year are. When installing photovoltaic solar and geothermal heat, the government is offering a tax credit to the tune of 30% and since this is going to expire at the end of 2016, many Millennials have made a move to get in on the action before they lose that credit.
Being mindful of the fact that Millennials comprise the largest labor force in US history, those tax credits can add up to a hefty sum and this savvy age group is set on taking advantage of the credit. Home buyers within this generation are looking to save money on energy while utilizing that which is from a renewable, natural source. If you are looking to sell your home, it just might be in your best interest to price alternative energy sources prior to listing your home. This could be a huge selling point.
It really is interesting to note just how similar the home-buying trends are between the 1960’s and those of today, more than fifty years later. While today’s sustainable homes are heavily dependent upon technology, the ultimate goal of ‘going natural’ is quite the same. The only word of caution when selling a ‘green home’ would be to get a feel for your potential buyer. It is important to be aware of the generational differences when pitching a home and if you get too caught up in sustainability with a Gen Xer, for example, you could lose the deal. Green houses are in demand, that’s a fact. However, they mostly appeal to a very specific segment of the population.