Marketing East Bay Real Estate to Millennial Homebuyers

Marketing East Bay Real Estate to Millennial Homebuyers


East Bay real estate for millennial homebuyers


The generation mocked for spending too much cash on avocado toast and $4 lattes is now the largest prospective home buying generation of our time. And these millennials are hungry for some East Bay real estate.

If you want to sell your house in Oakland, Walnut Creek, or elsewhere, you should know what your prospective buyer wants.

Let’s start by defining the generation. Millennials are 20 to 36 years old, with peak births in 1990. That means a surge of millennials will turn 30 soon – and 30(ish) is the national average age of first-time homebuyers.

You’ve probably heard about how poorly millennials are faring in today’s housing market. The number of hopeful buyers far outnumbers the meager number of homes for sale, and the winners are bidding way over the list prices. recently identified San Jose – where the median list price is $1.24 million, gulp – as one of the toughest markets in the country for millennials.

So they are looking east for real estate. We are seeing both first-time homebuyers on a strict budget and high-earning Silicon Valley types who can cash in stock options for a  downpayment.

For advice on how home sellers should market to this wave of homebuyers, we turned to Abio Properties’ resident millennials: Real estate agents Marco Colon (born on the cusp) and Felicia Mares.

Abio Properties Realtors Marco Colon and Felicia Mares


Millennials Can’t Afford to Be Picky

“There are surprisingly a lot of young people who can afford to buy. But in my experience, they aren’t as picky,” Felicia says. “They’re more willing to put in some work and think outside the box and are usually looking for a deal.”

A recent national survey of millennials found they are willing to compromise on square footage, a garage, and even an outdated kitchen.

In fact, 84% said they’d give up home features in exchange for living in their ideal neighborhood, according to the survey conducted by The Harris Poll for Trulia.

That’s good news if you are selling a home in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto, the Berkeley flats, Oakland’s Grand Lake and Temescal districts, downtown Walnut Creek and other desirable neighborhoods with urban conveniences, walkability, and BART.


They Want Entertaining Spaces

Another millennial must-have is space for entertaining, says Marco.

“Entertaining is very important to them. They are very social. If you are staging your home for sale, definitely feature indoor-outdoor functionality,” he says.

Dress up your wet bar with attractive martini glasses and a shaker. Set the dining room table. Deck out your deck with a patio set for al fresco gatherings. Place a croquet set on your lawn. Arrange a loungy area with a fire pit.


Smart Features

To impress a generation raised on computers and cell phones, feature your home’s connectivity. Do you have Alexa or Google Home? Do you have built-in Bluetooth speakers? What about a Nest system? It’s not just for thermostats anymore; Nest can work as a smoke detector, alarm system, front-door camera, doorbell, and lock.

“Buyers love it when they don’t have to set these up themselves,” Marco says.



The millennial generation is a green generation. They care about sustainability, energy efficiency, and responsibly sourced building products.

So if you’ve got it, flaunt it: Bamboo flooring, Energy Star appliances, double-paned windows, high-tech thermostat like Nest, drip irrigation, low-VOC house paint, eco-friendly hardwood floor finish, etc.

When it comes to solar panels, however, even the most eco-conscious buyer might waver. Let's say the current homeowner has leased the system (versus purchased it). Potential buyers might be turned off by the cost of taking over a long lease. (The average lease is about 20 years.)

Marco has seen solar leases turn easy sales into headaches, so he advises homeowners to consider buying out the contract before selling.


Millennial Aesthetics

Today's pop culture nostalgia for the '80s ("Stranger Things," scrunchies, Steven King) does not extend to your shag rugs and gold tone bath fixtures.

If you are putting money into staging and updating your East Bay real estate, remember that the millennial aesthetic generally is midcentury modern, naturalistic and rustic, bright and clean.

Another hot style is called "rustic-tech" chic  – an "opposites attract" approach to interior design.


“Used” Home Loan

With interest rates on the rise, some millennial homebuyers will consider assuming your mortgage as a way to get into their first home with a lower, locked-in interest rate.

Start by discussing your options with your mortgage broker. If your loan is eligible for  transfer, the new buyers take over and pay down the balance according to the original terms.

Just make sure you receive a release of liability from the loan.

And for any millennials reading this: Consider that buying a house before you turn 35 might better prepare you to retire in your early 60s, according to the Urban Institute. Buy young and accumulate greater housing wealth later.


Now we'll end with this gratuitous photo of avocado toast. Enjoy.

East Bay real estate for millennials


For more news and tips about how East Bay real estate trends affect you, contact us at Abio Properties, 888-400-ABIO (2246) or