Selling In A Millennial Market - Top Tips to Success

In Traverse City, there are two population swells: one of millennials (ages 25-40) and another of baby-boomers (55-70). In many ways, the dynamic between these two generations is defining our local real estate market. Older millennials, in their mid to late 30’s, are experiencing significant life and family changes, which usually result in trading up to a larger home that your baby-boomer may be selling. If you will be selling a home in the next 10 years, it’s essential to know how to appeal to millennials, because they are very likely your target buyer!

1. Think Modern when Staging: To attract the millennial eye, think sleek, minimalist, modern staging. Consider painting the main rooms with on-trend paint colors especially dark wood trim, changing out highly visible light fixtures with more modern ones, or reducing the amount of furniture in the home. When in doubt, take away, don’t add! It may be easier and less costly than you may imagine.

2. Online Presentation is KEY: Nearly all millennials start their home search online, with their research complete before setting foot in the house. If the online presence of your listing doesn’t stand out with professional, high resolution photographs and a captivating story, your home will quickly be removed from their short list.  Also, too many photos detract from your presentation. If it takes 5 clicks to see the interior of the house, it’s too many! We recommend high impact interior highlights as well as twilight exterior photos, professional video, and insight into the lifestyle the home provides.

3. Text Instead of Talk: Want to talk to a millennial? Text them. Don’t leave a lengthy voicemail you expect them to check. They won’t. 75% of millennials prefer text as it’s less invasive, able to be checked on their own schedule, more personal and makes them feel valued.

4. Don’t Ignore Instagram: Sure, traditional mediums like newspaper and flyers might capture other buyers, but are not as effective with the millennial audience. You cannot ignore the power of social media, especially Instagram. Employ a smart, targeted social media strategy with posts showing multiple, well shot photos, overhead drone shots, related hashtags on each image and ideally video of the home.  Remember this is a teaser so don’t use more than 5-8 highlights in your post.

5. Be Quick On the Draw: If they ask about a property through your advertising or request a showing, your Millennial buyer expects an answer immediately. 24 hours is too long! Response within an hour is best.

6. Efficient & Smart Homes: Many Millennials grew up in large houses built in the 1980-90s. They watched their parents pay high utility bills, grapple with complicated mechanicals, and spend their weekends maintaining the yard and making repairs. The pendulum has swung in the opposite direction with the new generation of homebuyer. Smaller, energy efficient and technologically enabled homes are highly appealing to Millennials. If you are selling a larger or older home, you can make a few easy upgrades that will make your home more efficient and tech-enabled, such as installing a Nest Thermostat or Ring Video Doorbell. If you are selling a large home, you obviously can’t shrink it to appeal to the Millennial, so focus on great staging, minimalist design and making it as turnkey as possible.


7. Lifestyle > House: Millennials value the experiences in life, perhaps more overtly than any other previous generation. They buy homes for the lifestyle it can afford, not simply the home. Walkability to cafes, restaurants, and other amenities, large outdoor space for entertaining/playing with kids, or a farmhouse on 10 acres that will accommodate a large garden and life stock are of premium importance (see Joanna Gains inspiration). So…be ready to tell the story of how this new home will impact their desired lifestyle.


Hire a real estate agent who knows the local market, and, more specifically, how to appeal to millennial buyers. Your agent should be well versed in the use of architectural photos and video, staging capabilities, have access to reasonable contractors for meaningful upgrades and a robust understanding of online and social media marketing. When combined, these elements will help your home stand apart.