Generation Y Homeowners: What Do They Want?
Generally, homeowners want the same basic things – comfort, safety, value, etc. This is true whether the homeowner belongs to the Baby Boom Generation or Generation X. However, each generation has its specific set of values and expectations that influence its behavior. The latest generation with a name – Generation Y (roughly corresponding to individuals born in the 1980s through the early 1990s) is no different. The following is a list of ideas on how Generation-Y members are likely to look at home ownership and homeowner association membership with a generationally-unique perspective:
- Deserved or not (we think not) Generation-Y members have grown up in a society that tends to regard homeowners associations with more than a moderate amount of skepticism. This overall perception, combined with their relatively young age may make Generation-Y members even less receptive to HOA restrictions that play to negative stereotypes than even their Gen-X predecessors.
- Regulations that tend to limit personal freedoms with no obvious correlation to protecting property values or the members of the community are likely to be viewed with considerable skepticism, if not outright anger, by this young generation.
- As young homeowners, Gen-Y members are likely to be very cost-conscious when it comes to their homeowners associations. They are likely to look favorably on associations with lower annual dues and also closely scrutinize the value they receive for the assessments they pay.
- Perhaps the most obvious trait of Gen-Yers is their submersion - from infancy - in the current age of technological convenience. While Gen-Xers like the author can at least remember a time before the internet, e-mail, and cell phones, Gen-Yers are likely to assume that expertise with (and reliance upon) these relatively modern forms of communication is universal.
- Because of their familiarity with all things technology-related, Gen-Y homeowners are likely to expect more than the bare minimum as far as technology from their homeowners associations. Below is a quick sample of just a few tech-related services Gen-Y homeowners will expect from their associations:
- A user-friendly and comprehensive association website.
- Easy (and in this age of blackberries & I-phones, instant) e-mail communication with association managers and board members
- Electronic newsletters (paper newsletters are likely to be seen as environmentally-damaging junk).
- Association-specific pages on networking sites such as “Myspace” or “Facebook.”
- Technology infrastructure such as association-wide high speed wireless internet availability as well as unfettered access to satellite television.
- Many of the above-mentioned technological advances have allowed all people (Gen-Yers included) to have a greater opportunity to work from home and many will jump at that opportunity. Accordingly, ensuring uninterrupted and fast access to the internet as well as other utilities is likely to be a priority for Gen-Y members.
- Ultimately, while Gen-Y homeowners are likely to demand their association utilize the latest technology and otherwise interfere as little as possible with their day-to-day existence, they are still going to expect many of the same things from their homeowners associations as members of any other generation.