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MILLENNIAL BUYERS

According to Inc. magazine, “Of all first-time home buyers, Millennials make up 66%, and they are 34% of home buyers overall. Over 66% plan to purchase a new home within the next five years. That’s a huge generational shift in real estate. Millennials are better informed about their options than probably any other generation before them.”

These are incredible numbers, and as cabinetmakers, we want to ensure that our designers are prepared to meet the needs of this emerging market.

The article continues, “Millennials consider owning their own home as an important part of living the American Dream. Unfortunately, thanks to stagnating wages and a sharp increase in student loan debt, saving for that down payment isn’t going to be easy.

“At the top of Millennials’ wish lists are updated kitchens and bathrooms, green features like solar panels, an open floor plan, a home office, a good location, and good Internet and cell service. Almost half of Millennials would rather buy a brand new house in order to avoid any maintenance issues that might occur early on.”

This is an interesting set of facts.  Even though almost half of Millennials would rather buy new, most will probably remodel.  Fortunately, our Siteline cabinet brand is suitable for either adventure.

So, how do designers best engage with Millennials?

First, don’t think of them as a new audience.  Think of them as a new version of your current audience.  They’re not that different – they want the best value for their investment, just like everyone else.

Next, rethink your approach.  Because Millennials are better informed about their options, meaning, they do a lot of homework before engagement, we need to listen deeply.  They will more than likely have a lot to say.  And that’s OK, in fact, it’s a benefit.  Wouldn’t you rather be working with someone who knows what they want, than a prospective client who is extremely vague about what she/he wants or needs?

Since these folks are well-researched, we need to ensure every cabinet has a purpose.  As a company, this is our mantra.  For example, think about niches within the kitchen, creating value-add and purpose – things like a coffee bar/laptop niche.

We also feel that you have to have your digital game ON.  Be open and expecting Millennial buyers to share their Houzz ideabooks, their Pinterest boards, and more.  And, be prepared to deliver and edit drawings and plans in color.  Photo realism could seal the deal with a Millennial buyer.

Oh, and if your website isn’t up to snuff with features such as a room gallery, or being mobile phone friendly (aka responsive design), you could be sunk before you even begin.  Your digital footprint IS your calling card with Millennial buyers.

And finally, re-educate where necessary.  Again, Millennials are not that different than other generational buyers – they will have preconceived notions about timeframe, budget and generally “how remodeling works.”  So, if an element feels unrealistic, re-educate – teach them about how a successful remodel happens, typical timeframe and what quality costs.  We’ve always found that providing any buyer with choices – package A and package B options, empowers the decision making and creates a satisfied customer.

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