Jeff Lottmann is the founder of Lottmann Realty Group at RE/MAX Suburban in Chesterfield, Mo. The firm focuses on high-net-worth individuals and luxury properties. With gross sales of more than $300 million, Lottmann Realty Group has become the high-end real estate team of choice for hundreds of families and investors in the St. Louis area and beyond.
How Young Buyers Are Redefining ‘Luxury’
Many millennials are showing interest in high-end homes, but their property wish lists may look different than those of typical wealthy house hunters.
June 11, 2019
Millennials are known for their ability to change the status quo, whether it’s demanding more options for remote work or raising families in an urban environment rather than settling in the suburbs. And now, when it comes to real estate, they’re changing the meaning of “luxury.”
Millennials, many of whom are in or entering their 30s, are building their wealth and showing interest in high-end homes. In 2017, buyers younger than 35 purchased nearly a quarter of homes constructed by Toll Brothers, the largest luxury homebuilder in the U.S. So because millennials comprise a significant percentage of high-end home buyers, real estate professionals need to be aware of the selling points that appeal to them—and how to market to them effectively. Here are a few of the luxury home features millennial home buyers desire.
Less space, more functionality. Millennials are forgoing larger houses, choosing smaller luxury homes that make smart use of space and are filled with high-end amenities and furnishings. Some of the most in-demand features include open-concept living areas with plush living rooms and showcase kitchens, spa-like bathrooms, and multiuse rooms. Millennials desire functional layouts for entertaining and the flexibility to alter spaces to fit their needs, such as a yoga studio that can be converted into a bedroom for overnight guests. Their preferred lifestyle and personal interests inform what they most want in a home.
A portal to the Internet of Things. Constant connectedness, both personally and professionally, has become the norm for millennials. Fast internet access for telecommuters who work from home is a must. Another characteristic of the daily lives of millennials: embracing the internet of things to create a smart home filled with connected devices. This can include smart appliances, speakers, thermostats, and security systems, as well as networked audio systems for the entire house and voice-controlled lighting. If you’re selling a home with smart features, make sure potential buyers are aware of all its bells and whistles. If possible, have the homeowner set up an iPad with instructions so visiting guests can experience hands-on demonstrations.
Green features. Millennials care about preserving the environment—and saving money in the process. Sixty-nine percent of REALTORS® say they’ve found value in promoting energy efficient features in listings, according to the National Association of REALTORS® 2019 Sustainability Report. That can go a long way toward engaging younger buyers, who have shown pronounced interest in green living. Features to promote include solar panels, indoor air purification systems, geothermal energy systems, and tankless water heaters. Because these items are usually hidden behind walls or other barriers, you must make sure not to overlook them during a home tour. Highlight any green property assets in your marketing materials, and be sure to do the same thing in the house itself. Print flyers or cards outlining green features and position them where potential home buyers will see them, such as on a central table or mounted on walls. Don’t forget to point out and educate prospective buyers on the tax benefits and the reeturn on investment of these features.
Greater commuting options. As millennials flock to urban areas, walkability and proximity to public transportation are highly sought attributes. Many millennials are interested in living in neighborhoods where they can mingle with like-minded individuals and stroll to local amenities like restaurants, community gathering areas, and entertainment. For longer treks, they may also prefer to commute via public transportation or use rideshare services. This is also a boon for millennial buyers looking to cash in on the short-term rental craze. Walkability and convenient transportation options will help buyers boost their home’s profile on rental sites. It’s also possible you’ll encounter urban-based millennials who don’t want to buy a primary residence in the city; instead, they’re choosing to rent their primary home and purchase a vacation home elsewhere.
Indoor and outdoor living spaces. Millennials want the option to stretch their living areas beyond the walls of their homes to include outdoor spaces. This is particularly true for those who live in cities, where green space is at a premium. Balconies, decks, or rooftop gardens are all excellent spots to take advantage of fresh air and offer additional places for entertaining, relaxing, and practicing mindfulness. High-end condo developers have started adding lush outdoor amenities meant to encourage wellness. Examples, according to Sotheby’s International Realty’s Mansion Global blog, include an outdoor yoga deck in Los Angeles, an adult treehouse in New York, and a tranquility garden complete with lemon trees in Florida. If you are staging a high-end home or luxury condo, ensure that outdoor living spaces look just as inviting as the indoor areas. String up party lights and group outdoor furniture and tables on an all-weather rug to ensure potential buyers can envision the space as a seamless extension of the home.