Tuesday, June 28, 2016

What Gen X and Millennial Modular Home Buyers Want

New home buyers born from 1965 to 2000 belong to two generational groups, the Gen X buyers born between 1965 and 1979 and the Gen Y (Millennials) born from 1980 to 2000. While these two groups don’t seem to share a lot in common, they do tend to want the same things in their new custom modular homes and you need to keep up with them

When IKEA began their invasion of the US home market with their knock-down furniture and cabinetry many considered them cheap and thought their products were only for the budget minded home buyer. Oh how times have changed.

Both the Gen X and Y buyer is actually looking for a cleaner uncluttered look in cabinetry and the IKEA type fixtures are very appealing to them. Many are buying function over beautiful oak and cherry cabinets in both the kitchen and bath. Make sure both your showroom and your factory have these types of cabinets available. Having kitchens that look like their parent’s kitchen is definitely out for most of them.

Formal dining rooms are another waste of time for both of these groups. There really isn’t much appeal to this feature. Give them a kitchen to hang out with their friends where conversation and mingling rules the day is what they want. You will find a lot of them don’t even eat meals in the kitchen, choosing instead to eat in front of their TV while using their tablets and phones. Your grandmother is rolling over in her grave about now.

Adding to the lose of the dining room is the addition of an open floor plan where the kitchen is the hub. The cooking process is no longer segregated behind walls and doors. It has now become communication central.

Another distinction the Gen X and Y groups bring along when looking to build a new modular home is the need for an office. More of them are working from home and that trend is growing. It really doesn’t have to be called an office. Call it a Flex Room. With high speed Internet and WiFi routers, any room can be an office and that is why you need to address this area as a Flex Room. Office, game room, nursery or even storage are all reasons this room could change its primary use over the years.

Name any Gen X or Y’er that wants to do home maintenance and I’ll show you an old soul. Today’s homes, cars, electronics, lawns and even their pets’ maintenance is handed over to others. When talking to them about their new home don’t be surprised that wood flooring instead of carpeting is chosen and granite countertops over Formica. These groups don’t want to be slaves to their homes choosing not to spend their weekends completing “Honey-do” lists. They want weekends to themselves and are willing to trade having maintenance done for them over doing it themselves. Why didn’t I think of that?

Many of them have also dumped in-house cable and phone lines completely. Everything comes from their Internet connection. I talked with the cable company repairman that came to my house a couple of months ago about this change. He informed me that when he does an install for a new home that in many instances all he does is run it into the house and drop about 10’ of cable. The Homeowner plugs it into the router and and everything in the house is on WiFi.

The Internet is as important as food and water to these generations.

The Gen X homebuyer wants to keep their energy costs down while the Millennials, who have grown up with the real effects of global warming, not only want to keep costs down but also want to protect the environment by going green. You, as a modular home builder, need to focus a lot of your marketing on this topic. Your factory’s standard and optional features should also reflect their need for green and you need to know about the latest HVAC systems, structural systems and options available to help them keep a low carbon footprint.

The days of builders selling “green-wash” are over. Your Gen X and especially your Gen Y buyers really do know a lot about what they want before they even meet with you.

Today, most modular home builders and factory management are Boomers and early Gen X’ers. We really need to learn what the Millennials are looking for in their new modular home.


Sonnenbrille said...

Putting consumers in a Gen X, Y etc for wants is a funnel effect.
Consumers old and young want high efficiency, affordable homes. Whether getting there through old building practices or through new products such as wireless devices, it takes a mesh of both to create homes people will purchase.

Valerie Jurik~Henry said...

Great article! Just goes to show that the generations want what they want and absolutely know what their want is.
An educated buyer is a creative buyer AND a strong buyer. Every time I educate about the options to home living there is always a common denominator afterwards when speaking with the audience - a sentence that starts with "If I only knew that before I bought my house...."
And that statement comes from people 55+ who recently built a new home.
Gen X &Y are much different then myself (being a Boomer) but they LOVE to learn what's new and have an immediate attachment.
Oh to be young again.....:)

Seacoast Modular Homes, Inc said...

We deal with a lot of buyers of ALL age groups that want sustainable and well built homes that are just as easy on the eyes as they are on the wallet. I don't think this is a specific need for Gen x or Y, but maybe slightly more important.

Anonymous said...

As a Gen X this article is spot on. When looking to purchase my first home I didn't want a formal dining room or my mothers Oak Cabinet kitchen. Identifying your customer is an important step in the sales process. If you're not qualifying your customer and providing them with a product that they want than you need to reevaluate the product you are offering.