Not What You’d Expect

I’ve had an upsurge of millennial clients in the last few months.  My dad (The famed Mike Bodeen) asked me the other day, “So what’s your generation looking for in a house?”
Most of us have watched the HGTV shows featuring a young professional couple cooing over beachfront property or seeking an “urban lifestyle.”  For these it seems a long list of must haves come into place, like views, built in barbecues, fancy kitchens etc.  They seem to be all about an experience.  To be honest I haven’t met any millennial clients like this yet.
The clients I have worked with so far in this age group have much more practical guidelines.  The first andmost important piece of the puzzle for these is price (which of course you could see about pretty much any buyer).  They ask the question what’s our top price we can afford?  Without exception, each millennial I have represented so far has been under the $200k price range.  For most of them, this has been their first home purchase.
While there is a lot available for under 200k in the phoenix Metro Area, it can be limiting and push buyers to certain areas of the valley.  Three of these clients of mine have bought on the west side in the Surprise area, a tremendous value.
Beyond price, the second thing they are looking for is space.  Will this fit my family? I should also mention that most of the millennials I have represented so far have had young families.  I think there is a big difference between those who have children and those who do not when it comes to criteria.
For example I’ve seen a few studies that suggest that by in large people in my generation want to live in downtown areas.  I think that may be true for single millennials or those without kids, but my experience is that most of the ones who are actually serious about buying a home don’t fit that category.
The third thing they look for is location, aka time it takes to get to work.  After that, the list of must haves are usually very slim because in this price range, once you have found all of the above, it’s like striking gold and you better put in a good offer before someone else steals it from you.
I will say that there is truth in this idea that millennials are looking for experiences and a certain lifestyle.  Many clients have been very excited about the idea of a wet bar in their home, or about being close to downtown. But I think the truth is that once these folks are actually ready to settle down, a lot of that just goes out the window in favor of practicality.
Ultimately many may be surprised how similar the desires of millennials with families are to those of other generations.
The real difference (in terms housing wants) between millennials and other generations is, I think, that we are on average “settling down” much later than our parent’s generation did.  Once a couple of kids get hitched and have a bun in the oven, they begin to act much more like any generation before them in their house buying habits.