When it comes to current real estate trends, bigger is not always better. Recent reports show that both empty-nesters and Millennials are more interested in downsizing their homes to better fit their lifestyles, and amenity-rich multi-use buildings are primed to be the in-demand stars in this hot sellers’ market.
Millennials—born between 1981 and 1996—are entering their prime homebuying years and are being more selective and deliberate about what their housing experience should include, meaning no more sprawling, multi-room homes in cookie-cutter cul-de-sacs. Baby Boomers—those born between 1946 and 1964—also want less maintenance, more convenience, and are perhaps looking to capitalize on the historical sellers’ market. Because less square footage can come at a lower cost, the financial benefits to downsizing can’t be ignored. According to a recent poll by Homes.com, 62% of responders said spending less was a major upside to their downsizing move, while 50% described the ability to save more money as a major benefit. Additionally, both generations are leaning into lifestyle amenities, such as walkability to shopping and entertainment, more organic communities, less upkeep and maintenance commitments, and modern security and technology conveniences.
As community managers, it is important to understand all the considerations that go into downsizing so as to better meet the needs of this new potential audience base looking for their next home. Community managers are in the unique position to highlight and cater to what will work best for this diverse prospective market.
The Details of Downsizing: What Sellers Consider When Making a Move
- Less stuff to own/Less space to maintain. The upside of having less space is that there is less stuff to fill that space. Downsizing into a smaller home allows residents to streamline their possessions, decide what is worth keeping and what can be passed on to appreciative generations. According to the Homes.com report, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials all cited “to reduce clutter” as one of the top five reasons to downsize.
- Security, Safety and Connectivity. One of the biggest attractions to many planned communities is the increased and advanced level of security and safety protocols. Whether it’s with a stationed guard, a coded gate or a secure vestibule or lobby, having a trusted access system in place helps residents feel comfortable and safe in their own homes. User-friendly and intuitive solutions like LiftMaster Smart Video Intercoms give residents the safe, modern living experience they desire. Smart Video Intercom systems by LiftMaster allow residents to visually confirm all guests and press to unlock entry points using the myQ Community app right on their phone. Scalable and cloud-based, this system provides community managers easy, streamlined control of several entry access points, deliveries, and services through an integrated dashboard.
- A built-in “Village”. By moving into a dedicated community, such as townhomes or HOA neighborhood, residents can rely on the other neighbors to be as invested in their homes as they are. Gated communities and HOAs rely on residents to collectively contribute to the maintenance, security and beautification, creating a communal feeling of responsibility to the benefit of everyone’s comfort and enjoyment of the space. Technology adds another layer of protection by keeping the village and community safe and connected. LiftMaster’s portfolio of Smart Access Controls, such as the CAPXLV and CAPXM, lets residents utilize the myQ Community app to visually identify guests at the entrance and grant or deny access, and provide temporary access codes to certain guests or service crews. Community managers gain the ability to manage multiple entry points across several communities from a single dashboard with myQ® Community.
- Downsizing is not one-size-fits-all. While many downsizers may be looking for “less house” overall, what that looks like and how it services the next chapter in their life could vary from person to person. Any life transition requires adjustment and helping potential residents step down into downsizing, through ample storage space, multi-use features, like green rooftops, and communal amenities such as electric vehicle charging stations, can be a great way to ease people into a smaller home.
- Downsizing does not mean downgrading. Life circumstances have a way of dictating housing choices and different housing options offer different lifestyle options. Young families are looking for enough space to accommodate a growing family without sacrificing quality as children grow up. Empty nesters and retirees are looking for housing options that better reflect where they are in their lives and how they want to enjoy their time. For example, a tidy townhome in a gated community might be the better complement to an empty nester’s lifestyle. Or after years of suburban living, they might be ready to enjoy the nightlife and vibrancy of city living in a 10-20 unit, multi-dwelling building. Millennials like the efficient, minimalist styling or modern buildings, coupled with state-of-the-art technology.
Understanding what downsizers are looking for and why is a good way for community managers to attract potential residents. By considering all the different angles and needs of potential residents, community managers can find and market creative ways to appeal to them.