Built for Who?

New Homebuilders must consider a much wider audience when building homes today

Trends in homebuilding are nothing new, we’ve seen the advent and eventually fall of telephone cutouts, sunken living rooms, private kitchens and shag carpet. According to the Harvard Joint Center’s projections, nearly 90 percent of those looking for homes in 2035 will be under 35 or 70 and over, with such a wide audience how are builders going to please everyone?

In January at the International Builders’ show, NEXTadventure debuted a show house that they believed captured the desire of both demographics. These were their major updates to trends to appease all:

  • Size: At just under 2,300 square feet, the home strikes a just-right size for couples and individuals. Boomers downsize looking to simplify their lives while millennials simply don’t need a lot of house yet. Dual-use rooms are a clever way to keep square footage in check.
  • Room Count: Fewer rooms are appealing to both groups. Additionally, both want to live casually and are willing to forgo the formality of certain rooms serving specific functions. Colloquially called Flex rooms, these multi-use rooms are important.
  • Dual-Use Room: The flex room is perfect for both buyer profiles since it can function as a home office and a guest room. For boomers, it can be a home office most days and a guest room when family visits. This buyer is often semi-retired, so a convenient home office is a must. Millennials crave flexible work hours and working from home is becoming more common. The flex room also can easily function as an Airbnb when needed.
  • Entertaining Kitchens: Members of both groups recognize that the kitchen is important when hosting guests. The show house knocks it out of the park with an easy-to-navigate kitchen and a functional “messy kitchen” just around the corner.
  • Pet Rooms: Pets are the surrogate children for both buyers. Millennials might be practicing for or putting off the real thing, while boomers enjoy that pets can’t talk back. Regardless, this laundry room features clever solutions for pets including a bed and an out-of-the-way spot for food. A Dutch door was added to contain the puppy you’re training or restrain the dog that likes to jump on guests without confining them completely.
  • Outdoor Living: As both a visual and functional extension of the indoor casual living, outdoor spaces need to have exactly what both buyer groups want. This is an entertaining space with dining, lounging, and cooking areas. The TV is perfect for watching football games outside in the fall, and the fireplace keeps them warm in the winter.
  • Spa-like Bath: Many boomers have figured out they didn’t use the tub in their last house, and all they really want is an awesome shower. With millennials, they’re OK with waiting to get a tub in their next house.

The good news is there are strong, similar floor plans and lifestyle preferences for both buyer profiles. By creating these unique and adjustable floorplans, builders can effectively market to all buyers on the market.

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