Contrary to what many have believed to be true about millennials, those between the ages of 18 and 34 are indeed choosing to buy homes.
According to Zillow Group’s Consumer Trend Report, which was based off of a survey of a group of 13,000 homeowners, sellers, buyers, and renters, millennials make up 42% of all buyers today. Additionally, more than half of first-time buyers — 56% — are millennials.
These young new buyers have concerns that are distinct from those of generations before them. They’re entering a market with record-low inventory and high price appreciation, and many millennials don’t end up getting the first home they make an offer on.
Keeping all of those findings in mind, Zillow Group is launching a new site that’s geared towards the first-time homebuyer, called RealEstate.com.
“[First-time homebuyers] were way more likely to go over budget, “Jeremy Wacksman, CMO of Zillow Group, told Business Insider. “Budget is the primary way of navigating the site.”
RealEstate.com is unique in that it allows buyers to clearly see their all-in monthly cost, which you can adjust according to your budget and how much you’ve been able to save for a down payment. Each listing shows a list of fees that first-time homebuyers may not have known to factor into their monthly cost, like PMI and homeowners association fees.
“We see nearly half of first-time homebuyers consider renting as well, so [this makes it so they’re] really thinking of them side by side,” Wacksman said. “As a renter, you’re usually thinking of one cost per month.”
Millennials are also different from past generations in that they see home purchases as reflections of who they are as people. In order to achieve their ideal living situation, many are skipping the “starter home” and waiting longer to buy and move into their “forever home.”
The idea is that since buying a home is harder to do now than it has been in the past, it benefits the millennial buyer to get it right the first time around. This involves spending more time on research, usually using high-tech tools to do so.
“We know they’re going to do the most shopping around. Millennials, more than anyone else, are looking at more agents before picking one,” Wacksman said. “They have a close-knit group to share listings with, whether that’s a spouse or a family.”
“They also want speed and want tools that work on their time … They are buying homes — they’re just waiting to do it on their terms. They’re more careful, and they’re doing it a little bit later.”
RealEstate.com has all of the traditional homebuying tools — photos, maps, and filters by square footage and bedroom count — in addition to the all-in monthly cost tool. There are first-time buyer’s guides that detail all of the steps you’ll need to follow to be prepared for the purchase.
The site also has functionality in Mandarin and Spanish.