Every couple of months I meet my colleague, Rob, over at Brooklyn Bites on Nostrand Avenue. It’s one of our favorite spots to catch up on family goings-on, argue about the Yankees—or the Rangers—and talk a little real estate investment shop. Of course, we almost always navigate to the topic of just how much New York and all its boroughs have changed in the last few years. To us, it seems the world has gotten smaller and the homebuyers younger. It’s a shift I’ve taken in stride, even welcomed. Rob, on the other hand, recently expressed doubt that the marketing of his New York residential investment properties was reaching this new group of Millennial homebuyers. So I agreed to share some of the strategies that I use, but only if he agreed to buy dinner.
Marketing Residential Investment Properties to Millennial New Yorkers
New York is home to some of the most expensive real estate in the country. That fact hasn’t stopped Millennials from buying, however. Whether still saddled with student loans or not, this group—most of whom are first-time buyers—are eager to settle down and take ownership of their slice of the American Dream. In fact, according to recent news reports, Millennials make up at least 45% of all new home buyers in the U.S., and almost a quarter of all buyers in New York.
But you’ve got to step up your marketing efforts if you want Millennials to check out your investment house when it goes on the market. I advised Rob to ask himself a few simple questions about his properties to determine if he was on the right track for attracting these buyers. Here they are:
Is the home pet-friendly?
Millennials tend to wait a little later to get married and a little longer to have children. This is driven in part by working long hours in new careers and a desire to save more early on for some of the big life events. But they do love their pets. So for both multi-family units and single-family residences, a fairly easy and straightforward way to attract Millennial buyers is to make the home pet-friendly.
Doing so doesn’t necessarily require a lot of extra money or time. For example, avoiding the installation of potential health hazards indoors and out, such as window treatments with tassels and toxic plants, goes a long way toward keeping pets safe and pet owners happy. Adding hard-surface flooring, in lieu of carpeting, as well as enclosing trash and recyclable bins, makes messes easy to clean or preventable altogether. And installing a pet door, or offering the option, if there’s a yard or deck could be the perk that puts your property over the top.
Is the home tech-savvy?
You may have to spend a few extra dollars to give your investment home a tech upgrade but, if you want the attention of a generation that’s grown up on computers, it’s worth budgeting for. Take note, however: smart home technologies aren’t just about sophisticated alarm systems or motion-activated lights and cameras anymore. To really “wow” your audience, offer wireless control of lighting, doors, and thermostats. Throw in a voice-activated assistant for playing music, checking calendar events, or sending texts, and you might attract a full house of interested Millennial buyers.
Is the home staged appropriately?
Once renovations are complete and it’s time to put the property on the market, you’ll want to stage your home for a quick sale by making sure it sparks the imagination of the Millennial buyers. They need to see themselves at home in your property and you’ve got to help them. Whether you hire a home staging professional, rent or borrow furniture, or attempt to design the living space yourself, first know your target market—singles or young families. Then, create an atmosphere that attracts both. With many Millennials embracing the trend of working from home, it’s not a bad idea to include a flexible space that doubles as an office as well—a potential winning combination for many young buyers.
Answering “yes” to these questions requires thinking outside the box, as they say. It might also take a bit more groundwork than you’re used to. Nevertheless, the added effort could be worth it if you want to position your properties in the coolest light possible.
The Easy Answer to Marketing to Millennials
For me, gaining the edge was a choice I made long ago when I became an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee. Joining HomeVestors® aligned me with a regional network of other franchisees who help me stay hip to the latest trends and technologies that attract buyers from all generations, not just my own. Additionally, my HomeVestors® network sometimes offers up recommendations for local rehab and design resources if I want to try a new direction. In short, whenever I’ve got questions, they’ve got answers.
Convinced that it wasn’t too late to get in with the in-crowd and put some hip into his investment homes, Rob happily paid the check for our meal. He also made a call to HomeVestors. If you’re looking for an easier way to market to Millennials, go ahead and pick up the phone too.
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