Five to seven years. That is the average amount of time that millennials are staying in their homes before deciding to make a move. Although I am not even close to millennial age, I have personally moved from my self-proclaimed “final resting place” at least four times. I’ve been in my current “final resting place” for four years now and it’s beginning to feel a bit big. Maybe I’ll move to my “final, final resting place.” Prophetically, my license plate reads, “JENMVES.” I guess that’s true.
I’m not the only one, though. Yesterday I was out looking at homes with a younger couple — millennials, if you will. They were showing a good deal of interest in a large, well-priced, two-story home in a cul-de-sac that needed a fair amount of TLC. Their biggest concern was if they would be able to get back the money they would put into updating it within five years, since that was the period of time they were planning to stay there. I asked them to please hold while I looked into my crystal ball.
Fortunately, they understand that I suffer from compulsive word vomit ... blurting out the first thing in my head prior to thinking. I explained that I could provide current comparisons as well as studies on market trends and forecasts over the next five years, but I would have to have a much better reservation to the Good Place than I currently do to get the detailed scoop.
Despite my lack of aptitude for clairvoyance, I can refer to transactions that I have been a part of in the last few years that echo the current market statistics revealing that housing prices have been steadily on the rise. For example, less than one year ago, I sold a home to a very young couple. They had just finished school and did not have much of an income, but their credit was good and they wanted to start building some equity. We found them a home in a well populated area in Ogden. It was affordable for them and had a small yard for their dog. Less than nine months later, they called me. “Jen, Microsoft just offered me a job! How much of a loss are we going to have to take to sell?”
First of all, I don’t consider being offered a job from Microsoft as any sort of a “loss.” Second, I pegged this dude as a brainiac from day one. Third, I wish I had the same blood coursing through my body so I could be a brainiac as well. And fourth, I was pretty sure they had enough equity already to break even.
As it turns out, I was only wrong on one of those counts; the breaking even one. I pulled comparisons, and even though they had not put one cent into upgrades or additions, these guys would be getting back approximately $15,000 after commissions to put in their pockets and take with them to Redmond, Wash., a result of nine months of building equity in this market. Another smart move on the part of the nerd, a term which is now considered a compliment.
Today, my own kids will be closing on their first home in the same area. My daughter and son-in-law don’t know where their lives will take them in the next few years. Although neither of them have applied to Microsoft, both have aspirations that could very easily take them away from here in the near future. Yet, they aren’t worried. The forecast, at least for the next couple of years, is more of the same. Those are the real numbers talking, not the crystal ball.
Either way, both of these sets of millennials, as well as many others, will most likely move a plethora of times throughout their lives. This is a more mobile generation. They do not become emotionally tied to the memories made in their homes. They take their phones out, snap some pics, and then move on to the next one. Regardless of how long they stay, the “brainiacs” are lining their pocketbooks with equity to take from one to the other.
Jen Kirchhoefer is an associate broker and Realtor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-645-2134.