Sustainability and Smart Home Technology: What New Buyers Expect of the Real Estate Market

Reader Contribution by Kari Klaus and Realty Sage
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This guest post is proved to MOTHER EARTH NEWS by Syd Ulrich-Dogonniuck, Sustainability Content Writer for Realty Sage. Note: This article contains affiliate links. Which means at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, Realty Sage may earn revenue.

Millennials have changed nearly every aspect of life as we know it, so why wouldn’t the Real Estate market feel those changes, too? Here’s a look at what new home buyers want and how the housing market needs to change to meet those demands.

Online Accessibility

Millennials are constantly online. It doesn’t matter if they’re on a laptop, on their phones, using Bluetooth headphones, or doing something with the intention of putting it on some social media platform later. No matter how you look at it, online is the only place to be.

While I understand you can’t compress a whole house into a zip file, everything other than the actual house needs to online and easily accessible. Millennials are a very do-it-yourself demographic, so instead of giving you a call or setting up a face-to-face meeting, they will do almost all their research on their own. They will look up everything they can on any homes that interest them—all the data, info on the neighborhood, even the street view on Google Maps—and come to you when they have already decided the house they’ve researched is a potential option.

This means that having accurate, up-to-date listings is a must. If a Millennial can’t find the information they are looking for or reach you online, they will likely bypass you for someone else who offers all the data they are looking for on a digital platform.

Reviews, Reviews, Reviews

Millennials are a cautious bunch. I know that’s probably not the first adjective you’d use with the Millennial generation, but Millennials base so much of what they do on what other people say worked for them (or didn’t) in reviews. The Real Estate market is no exception.

While it may not be possible to look up a review of a specific house, that will not stop Millennials from looking up reviews on absolutely everything else. Millennials will read reviews for the types of appliances in the house, they will compare reviews for a variety of real estate platforms, and you can bet your bottom dollar they will thoroughly research any real estate agents they are considering. If there is a review out there, it will be read.

Move-In Ready

Millennials value experiences more than any other generation—traveling, spending time with friends, going to events. All these things require time and money. Since putting down a mortgage is already very difficult for many Millennials, they do not want to spend any more money, or time, in fixing up a home they just purchased.

This also goes for updated appliances— Millennials do not have the money to do upgrades, especially after putting a down payment on a mortgage. This means that fixer-uppers are not appealing to most Millennials, although they are typically cheaper than a move-in ready home.

That isn’t to say that Millennials are cheap, however! Millennials continue to take on larger mortgages as compared to the Baby Boomer generation and research shows that Millennials are willing to pay premium rates for a move-in ready home.

Livability, Low Maintenance and Smart Home Tech

Some examples of this include a Smart Thermostat that can be controlled with an app, a Smart Water Sprinkler that makes decisions based on the weather forecast, or a load-sensing washing machine. Basically, appliances or systems that increase the livability of a home are highly sought after.

Sustainable Eco-Homes

Not only should the house be smart, it should be environmentally-friendly! 47% of Millennials say they want solar panels and with energy efficient storage on their house.

Green features are one of the few things that young buyers are willing to pay out of pocket, however they will be even more likely to consider purchasing a home that already has eco-conscious items integrated into the home. Additionally, younger buyers are aware that there is a very positive return on eco-investments, making Millennials more likely to make decisions based on eco-friendly aspects of a home.

As a result many Millennials are turning to more innovative real estate engines that not only compare the cost, square footage and commute time, but dig deeper. Realty Sage does just this: it compares all the standard categories and an additional 12 livability categories, including an Eco-Friendly rating, information on how the construction of the home affects Resident Health, what Smart Tech has been installed, and if there are any benefits from Low Maintenance aspects.  

Additional Resources

For more Millennial Real Estate Insights check out Busting the Millennial Real Estate Myth. Connect to local expert real estate agents who have experience and knowledge with eco-friendly homes with

Kari Klaus is the founder of, a data-driven real estate platform which overlays sustainability intelligence onto home listings. Read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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