What you need to know about Millennial homebuyers

As a real estate agent, it’s important to understand the needs of Millennial homebuyers when it comes to buying a home — as these trends will only continue. By knowing more about these potential clients, you’ll have a head start on finding exactly what millennials need and closing a deal quickly.

In its annual Millennial Home Buyer Report, Clever Real Estate surveyed 1,000 people who are planning to purchase a home in the next year about their hopes, anxieties, and the compromises they’re willing to make to become homeowners. Here’s what was discovered about what millennials want in a home.

They want space

Millennial homebuyers are typically thought to live in cramped apartments, but the pandemic seems to have shifted their ideas about needing more living space. According to Clever’s report, millennials are looking for homes around 2,400 square feet — a 41% increase from before the pandemic, when they wanted a home around 1,700 feet.

With restaurants shuttered, millennials may also be realizing the beauty of a spacious kitchen. Sixty percent said they were looking for a large kitchen in their next home. In addition, millennials are currently 24 to 40 years old and may be starting families. For this reason, 43% said they are looking for a space to “grow into” with their family, and the same percent want a basement in their new home.

Not only concerned about their immediate family, millennial homebuyers want space to host guests—17% want a home with a guest home or mother-in-law suite. Storage is also key—61% want a garage in their next home, and 39% said a walk-in master closet is important to them.

They want good vibes

Millennials’ lives of exploring posh social scenes or traveling to far-off destinations have largely been replaced with working from home and ordering take-out. It’s no surprise they’re looking to find how to turn their living spaces into their new oasis. In fact, 20% of millennials want a home with a pool or hot tub.

As they spend more time in their home or apartment, millennials have learned they need room to breathe — 41% are looking for open-floor plans, and 44% want a home with lots of natural light. Almost half of those surveyed (45%) said they care about outdoor living spaces as well, and 27% prefer eco-friendly and energy-efficient features such as geothermal heating, solar panels, and sustainable materials.

They need houses they can actually afford

While loads of millennials are in the market to buy a home, their down payment savings and ability to pay aren’t exactly huge. Two-thirds of millennial home buyers say they will be unable to afford a 20% down payment on a house. And, saving for a down payment is the biggest barrier to buying a home for 51% of millennials. It’s no surprise, then, that 52% of millennials are stressed and anxious about buying a home, mostly for financial reasons.

Eleven percent of millennials have less than $1,000 in savings — although this is down from 26% before the pandemic. For this reason, 56% of millennials want homes under $250,000 — despite the current average U.S. home value of $266,104. They may also be looking for ways to save, like a homebuyer rebate or concessions from the seller.

But, things are looking up. Fifty-seven percent of potential millennial homebuyers have at least $10,000 in savings — a 36% increase from last year. A whopping 80% said President Biden’s proposed $10,000 in student loan forgiveness would have an impact on their finances, and 23% said it would wipe out their student loan debt entirely. This would give them more buying power toward what 80% of them say is part of the American Dream — owning their own home. Plus, interest rates are at historic lows — nearly four times as many millennials (40%) cited the current low interest rates as the reason they were house hunting.

They are DIYers

Millennials are used to putting their own flavor on things, and they’re not afraid to do the same with their home. Nearly three-quarters (71%) of millennials say they would be willing to buy a fixer-upper. In fact, 80% of millennials say they’d consider buying a home sight unseen, and 29% would buy a house after only seeing photos or a virtual tour.

However, keep in mind that this DIY mentality doesn’t translate well to larger home projects and repairs — like a new roof. These projects necessitate experts, and millennials may not have enough in savings to fund these repairs shortly after moving in.

They’re not as into the city

Although millennials have gravitated toward crowded city spaces in the past, the pandemic has changed things. Thirty percent of urban-dwelling millennial home buyers plan to relocate to the suburbs — likely for cheaper home prices and larger space, among other reasons. With jobs that once tied them to a downtown, millennials are finding themselves working from home and need some personal office space — 31% think a dedicated office space is important in their next home.

Know your client, get the commission

According to Clever’s survey, 30% of millennials are house hunting earlier than planned due to the pandemic. Real estate agents will see this trend continue, with more millennial clients looking for homes in the coming years.

Prepare now by understanding the average millennial client and their preferences when buying a home. Then, carefully listen to each client to hone in on their individual needs, maximizing your sales and finding your client their dream home.

Luke Babich is the Co-Founder and COO at Clever Real Estate, the nation’s leading real estate education platform for home buyers, sellers, and investors.