It's Time To Stop Pigeonholing Millennial Home Buyers

Written by Posted On Thursday, 22 March 2018 11:14

Any pigeonhole is something to rebel against! Martin Freeman.

Ah yes, the home buyer species known as Millennicus Homebuyericus. The much-studied group of Homo-sapiens born sometime between the early 1980’s and mid-1990’s AD.
Much has been written about this generation of home buyers: their needs and wants, their struggles and travails and yes, their successes too. And much of it has become completely clichéd, repeated by one Realtor after another so that it has become accepted stereotyping.

This article is NOT about how a Realtor should market to millennial home buyers, nor is it about all the college debt (some of them) carry or how their parents dread them moving back in after college. Here I’m going to dissect the alleged must-have items that millennials require in a home.

  • Some of these must-haves and beliefs include the following:

    The home must be in turnkey condition. Yes, these young adults are too delicate and busy working in hitech jobs to lift a paint brush
    Walkability score of 99.99! Their legs have atrophied to such an extent that they can barely propel themselves a block or two for their favorite coffee of the day or craft, double Yakima hopped nitro IPA. Plus walking with your head buried in your smartphone is not easy people!
    They are all want 5 minute commute to work. Alrighty!
    They want smart homes with that Nest thing and a wireless front door lock that they can open with their cell phone and be able to flush the toilet while sitting in traffic (good luck with that 5 minute commute!).
    Must have an open floor plan. They have a massive aversion to the concept of walls.
    They all watch and believe everything they see on HGTV and expect that the home buying process is a breeze. In addition, the ability to remodel/turn a quick profit is super easy too.
    They ALL live in cities! Apparently, there’s no millennials once you get outside the city limits, just the very old and the very young.


So what’s the reality on the ground?
I’m a Realtor in the Ballard neighborhood Seattle, one of the most tech-savvy areas of the US, heaving with millennials who are employed by the likes of Amazon, Expedia, Facebook, Google etc. The majority of the buyers I work with are of the millennial generation.
And what do I see?

Well, definitely NOT all the above-listed must-haves.

Every buyer is different and their wish lists are equally different. Some millennial buyers want turnkey homes but just as many want dated ones that they can remodel to their own particular tastes. Same as buyers in their 40’s and 50’s and 60’s. Some millennials want to be able to see their barista making their app-ordered Americano from the front window of their downtown condo and some want to live miles away from it all on an acre of land surrounded by towering NW evergreens…. same as buyers in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.
The one item that I actually agree with and hear pretty often is that millennials prefer (in general), smaller backyards or just a small patio.

Sure millennials are tech-savvy, never answer emails and the uppermost 3 vertebrae in their necks have fused together from spending 10 hours a day looking at their smartphone… but that is just a product of the times we live in. It doesn’t automatically translate they all want the same things when it comes time to buy a home.


Regardless, the market dictates what they can actually buy.
Say for a moment that millennial home buyers are indeed focused on the same list of must-haves.

In a hot real estate market with low inventories and multiple offer situations, if millennials adhere to that list, they would likely never end up with a home or take a long, long time to buy one. In a strong sellers’ market, buyers, regardless of their generation, have to be willing to compromise on their must-haves. Unless you are Mr. or Mrs. Moneybags, the prevailing real estate market conditions will dictate what a buyer can afford and get and what they get to choose from.

Ok, now it’s time to start stereotyping Generation-Z home buyers. Over to you Alexa!


Here’s some additional resources worth taking a look at:
4 Tips for Millennial Home Buyers  from Anita Clark.

Should You Pay Off Student Loans Before Buying a Home? From Kyle Hiscock.

13 First Time Home buyer Mistakes to Avoid from Luke Skar.

Buyer Etiquette When Looking at Homes from Jeff Nelson.

Buying a Home Before Marriage. What You Need to Know from Bill Gassett.


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Conor MacEvilly

Seattle Realtor working with both home buyers and sellers and an occasional blogger.

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