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Double Play – Designs That Appeal to Both Baby Boomer & Millennial Generations
Today, Baby Boomers and Millennials make up the largest demographic in the nation. Over the next decade, these two groups are expected to dominate the housing market as they prepare to buy new homes. As home builders, architects and design dealers, we need to be prepared on how to meet that demand.
By incorporating design features that these buyers are looking for, we can successfully appeal to both groups, giving them exactly what they need based on their similarities and differences.
- The desire to decrease. Millennials don’t have a lot of “stuff,” while Boomers don’t need as much space anymore if they’re empty nesters. Both buyers are looking for a smaller home to call their own. Anywhere from 1,850 to 1,900 square feet is the average size that appeals to both types of buyers.
- Focus on a great kitchen. Whenever a gathering is arranged, everyone eventually gravitates towards the kitchen. It is the “heart” of the home. Boomers and Millennials recognize this and are drawn to homes that offer an open, well-designed kitchen, optimized for entertaining guests and cooking together as a family.
- Open great room. These shoppers envision fun, social interactions that take place in one central area. Both Millenials and Boomers are “experience oriented” and, therefore, often entertain family, friends, children, grandchildren or co-workers. Integrating the dining, living and kitchen areas for a space that can accommodate a variety of situations is ideal for both types of buyers.
- An outdoor living space they love. Whether grilling outside on summer nights, playing in the yard or enjoying the sunset with friends and family, both Boomers and Millennials demand outdoor living space and are often willing to pay $5,000+ for an upgraded outdoor area.
- Provide space for flexible rooms. Boomers are looking for extra space that can change over time and adapt to their hobbies and interests. Millennials need a space that can accommodate the growing size of their family. Having this space readily available in your plans is ideal for both types of buyers.
- Pets need love too. For both Boomers and Millennials, pets are family members. Both groups appreciate a dedicated space for their pets as well as storage space for all their food, toys and other necessities. A nook under the stairs for a pet bed or built-in storage in the laundry room will peak your buyers’ interest as they envision a cozy area for their furry family member while keeping food and supplies out of sight.
- Go easy on the stairs. Many Millennials work around a rapidly growing family with small children. Boomers are looking for a space that requires less physical maintenance so they can focus more on relaxing and having fun. For both lifestyles, stairs can be a nuisance. Therefore, consider avoiding the use of stairs in your floor plans when you can.
- Separate living rooms. Boomers had formal living rooms in their previous homes that were rarely used. Now, Boomers don’t want or need that extra housing. It creates unused space that requires unnecessary maintenance. Millennials, on the other hand, want a separate living room to “show off” for guests. Although this might be considered a “formal” living space, Millennials will keep this area more casual than the Boomers’ previous formal living rooms.
- The great garage debate. Being aware of the environment, Millennials tend to embrace public transportation and ride sharing. They don’t necessarily need a garage for parking vehicles, although they can use it to store bicycles, sports equipment or garden supplies. However, they may prefer to have the square footage inside the home, rather than in a garage. Boomers also use their garages for more than just cars. They can use them for work space, extra storage or a place to keep their golf clubs, skis and other equipment. Boomers often want a three-car garage even if they are a one-car family.
- Energy efficiency. Energy efficient homes appeal to the Boomer population, saving them time and hassle. In fact, 76% of them are willing to spend the extra cost for upgrades for efficient packages that can save them at least $100 a month. Millennials feel that these types of options should already be included in the home and will not pay extra for this feature.
- Storage. At this point in their lives, Boomers are downsizing but don’t necessarily want to get rid of all the stuff they’ve collected over the years. 71% of Boomers are willing to spend an extra $5,000 for an area dedicated solely to storage. Because experiences are more important than tangible things, less than half of the Millennial population is willing to pay extra for storage in their homes.
- Location, location, location. Premiums for a fantastic home site are popular among Boomers. This is not the case for Millennials. With less money to spend, Millennials are more focused on being close to good schools, abundant parks and shopping, rather than having a home on a premium site within the community. Boomers have the means to buy a home with the best views, in a desirable part of town or perhaps nicely situated on a golf course or near the beach.
Boomers and Millennials have surprising similarities and some differences as well. By paying attention to what they are looking for, architects, builders, model home dealers and designers can deliver homes that resonate with these buyers and help them visualize their dreams. When homes and communities are created to appeal to these two buyer segments and their similarities, it is indeed a double game!
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