Millennials are changing the way the house buying market goes, whether you like to admit it or not. Generally speaking, at least. This may not apply to every housing sector (like the luxury market for example) but there is no denying they are a strong target market in the real estate industry. They make up a large chunk of those buying homes (as Millennials were born between 1981 – 1996) and because of the technology-evolving world they grew up in, their methods and approaches when it comes to buying a house have shifted from the way business was done 10 years ago.
Here are just a few ways the millennials are changing the house buying process, as written by a millennial who just purchased a house in the Sea to Sky region:
We’re Careful and Picky Buyers
I’ll just go ahead and say it. We want modern, but we want it on a budget! We like open spaces and love the idea of renovations (you can thank the Home Network for that!) but not all of us have the time or expansive skillset to pull it off. Because my generation is split-minded when it comes to having kids this may influence our decision of where to own and what we look for in a house (bathtubs and good school districts don’t excite the other half). Speaking of the other ‘half’, if we don’t have kids, we typically have pets and toys. Things we would need storage or outdoor space for. We aren’t typically picky on the location of a home as long as it is convenient and works for our lifestyle; the idea of one neighbourhood being ‘better’ than the other is lost on us.
We’re Going Online
This has changed the way we shop for everything else, so it only makes sense that it’s the way we’d start house hunting. With everything being at the touch of our fingers, it could be said that my generation is more research-driven than ever before. We’re educating ourselves on everything from mortgage qualifications to how to buy and sell our own home. Because of this, and other social media networks, we are very image-based and want to know all the facts upfront. We need lots of options, so searching online is a way we can cover a lot of ground and not waste our time, so we can appear more organized when we come to a realtor.
Our Communication is Technology
Many of us work long hours or have side hustles that we need to maintain so that we can be in a position to afford a mortgage. In other words, our time is very important to us. Emails, text messages or phone calls are the best ways to reach us and when we do spend time together, we want it to be efficiently spent. We are also on our technology all hours of the day, so there are no boundaries of time when it comes to us asking you another question or when we expect to receive the offer paperwork (which we’d want to be able to do on our own devices).
We Need Some Hand Holding
Typically speaking, my generation has not been known for its range of ‘large’ purchases. Other than pieces of technology or credit card debt, even the simple act of owning a car may be a foreign concept. Especially with the introduction of rideshare programs and better public transit! Even the idea of larger purchases or financial responsibilities has been lost. We’ve been in the rental market for far too long and when buying, we want to ensure that our lifestyle remains the same (coffees, brunch, traveling, leisure sports). It’s a big step for everyone, but it’s a huge one for us! We will need to be talked and walked through every step and finding someone that we can connect with in terms of a real estate agent to help us through is an important one.
We’re Not in This Alone
I can’t speak for everyone, but it’s no secret that my generation needs financial help to be able to afford a house. Our economy, cost of living-to-earnings ratio and, dare I say it, our strong desire to live in the ‘now’ without saving anything, has a lot to do with it. Even if we were to start now, it’s articles like this one, “It will take millennials 29 years to save enough to afford a home in Canada’s biggest cities” or this one that makes our efforts seem hopeless. Thankfully, we have amazing parents and grandparents that are helping us with this – but in terms, it means that this house is no longer ‘just ours’. We need to find a house that satisfies both us and our family-piggybank at the same time. This also means they will be involved in aspects from viewings to paperwork. Also known as, twice the work and headaches for realtors.
While the internet is a great resource, having just purchased my first house, I still recommend speaking to an actual human being when it comes to buying a house. They have the local knowledge and expertise that will help you make the right decision when the time comes, and answer all of your annoying and tedious questions (something you can apologize for afterward, we are still polite Canadians after all!)