4 Millennial Home Buying 'Must Haves'

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Millennials have sometimes taken a bad rap. Often accused of being "entitled," lazy, spoiled and consumed by social media, they have also been slow to commit to a long-term career path and, until fairly recently, slow to settle down and buy into the American dream of home ownership.

That has, however, changed. And, as it turns out, Millennials may have a thing or two to teach other generations about what home features are important and appealing. Members of that generation born between about 1980 and the turn of the new century now constitute the largest single segment of the home-buying market, and their ideas are worthy of attention. Because they put off home buying until they were "good and ready," they now seem to know exactly what they want. 

Millennial Home Buying - What They Want

What they want are homes that are technologically advanced and stylishly designed, homes that can change and morph over time to meet their emerging needs, and adjust to reflect their changing lifestyles:  

  1. Flex Spaces
  2. Smart Technology
  3. Energy Efficiency
  4. Customizable Options

That's at the same time a tall order and an attainable goal to attract millennial home buying!

Two models constructed for the International Builders Show in Las Vegas incorporated ideas gleaned from Millennial responses to a nationwide study. Termed the Responsive Home Project, each design was distilled from exhaustive information that touched on a number of specifics: square footage and storage space, kitchen design, indoor-outdoor synergy, style and design authenticity, and number of bedrooms and baths.

It's hard not to like the results. The smaller of the two homes is approximately 2,500 square feet, but it lives large. It features multiple spaces usable for different purposes -- playroom or workout room, home office or guest room, loft or additional bedroom. The second home, at almost 3,200 square feet, targets the same type of buyer in a more mature mode. Both include spaces that could be used as living space for older or younger family members, accommodate another generation with a need for privacy, or even function as a rental apartment if necessary.

Easy to Live In, Easy to Love

In a nutshell, the millennial home buying is high on charm, authenticity and modern features. They are adaptable and customizable. They maximize indoor-outdoor ambience. They are energy and water-efficient. And they have the latest technology, smart appliances, state-of-the-art security and safety features. They focus on ease and comfort, and they are homes that will be as easy to come home in 10 or 20 years, most likely, as they are today.  

Other studies of Millennial preferences confirm the findings, with a few additional desires. Large master bedrooms, luxury kitchens and new appliances are high on the wish lists, as are 2-car garages, rooftop solar panels, finished basements and either wood or stone floors. This is a generation that also wants to be close to what's happening; they prefer proximity to an urban core over acreage, an upscale address over a secluded country lane. 

But are these wants really so different from what other generations want in a home? It doesn't seem so. Particularly when many Millennial responses are echoed by Baby Boomers. This just-retired or soon-to-be-retiring older generation constitutes the second-largest segment of the home buying market, and they have many of the same desires and concerns, whether they're updating existing homes or downsizing and moving on. 

Aterra's stock in trade is customization. We understand the Millennial fascination with connectedness, and the need for spaces that don't have to remain static, just as we empathize with the Boomer need for stability and familiarity. We are adept at working with architects and designers, builders, contractors and owners to personalize lighting and electrical plans to individual wishes. We are also thoroughly up-to-date on smart home technology. Together we can create dream homes for all generations to be at home in. 

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