House Hunting Habits: Millennial Edition

Please. Hold the eye-rolling, boomers.

Justin Wolfe | Flickr

Justin Wolfe | Flickr

We told you on Friday about the shaky confidence people have in the house-buying market. You know, how homeowners are feeling good about the current market, but wary of the one to come; while renters are a little more optimistic. Well, today we’re zeroing in on a segment of the population likely to fall into the latter group: millennials.

As we mentioned in our last post, the number of young Philadelphia renters who’d said earlier this year that they would be down for buying a house within a year increased by 23 percent by the time July came around. It’s a timely coincidence, then, that we’ve gotten hold of a report by Coldwell Banker Hearthside, REALTORS that took a look at what millennials, “the largest group of recent home buyers nationally,” are looking for. Here’s what they found:

Millennials are the first smart home generation.

“According to our data, nearly half – 47 percent – of millennials have smart home products in their homes,” says Coldwell Banker Hearthside President Jamie Mancuso in a press release. Indeed, we told you last month how the rising number of smart home devices present in American households seemed to be sowing the seeds of a Jetsonian lifestyle. Naturally, having this technology already installed in a home they’re considering is major plus for them.

Technology rules their habits in another way, however: how they shop for homes.

Realtor Joan Kamens says her millennial clients prefer to use online resources to gather property information and lean toward texting and email when communicating their home search news. “That means my job as their realtor is to educate and help guide them to make sure they have the complete picture on any given property – beyond what an online listing  might provide – so that they can make the best, most informed purchase decision,” she says.


A respectable WalkScore grade is a must for them.

Cue the “location, location, location!” voiceover.

In addition to having their eyes peeled for homes within walking distance to shops, restaurants, and other fun amenities, millennials are on the look out for homes that are within walking distance to their 9-to-5. Those hunting in Philadelphia will be happy to know the city is ranked 8th with regards to the latter. Living near bike-friendly amenities and infrastructure is a major plus to them as well, especially to Philly millennials.


They might be better off hunting without mom and dad’s help.

Shots fired? Not so fast.

According to Kamens, millennials often rely on their parents during their home search, a resource that may seem smart at first glance: “While I can appreciate wanting to involve their parents, it can create a delicate situation, particularly if the parents haven’t purchased a home in 30 years,” she says, explaining how the new home-buyers and their parents need to be schooled on financing options, which have changed since their parents last bought a property.

“Sometimes I am educating multiple generations to help them arrive at the best decision,” she says.

They want shiny, Pinterest-worthy homes.

Of course they do. According to the report, millennial homebuyers already have fully-formed ideas in mind for what they want their home to be like. What else would you expect from a generation with easy access to the likes of HGTV, Houzz, Pinterest, and your run of the mill house porn blogs? Moreover, most expect their potential homes to be move-in ready, a notion Mancuso attributes to millennials’s desire for immediate perfection:

“Their must-have lists include granite countertops, hardwood floors and finished basements, and they prefer that all those upgrades are already part of the homes they’re considering,” says Mancuso […]  “I understand the desire to find that move-in ready property, but we also work closely with our clients to help them see the value in properties that might need some updates after move-in.  Those homes create an opportunity for buyers to build equity more quickly, and it’s our job when working with buyers to educate them on their options,” he says.

Take note, sellers: your joint has got to not only be tidy (here are tips for how to keep it that way at all times), but also look like it’s at least trying to be in House Beautiful.