3 things learned about millennials by watching HGTV

The other weekend I was taking care of a friend who had just had surgery.  We ended up hanging out watching HGTV non-stop for 48 hours. If you’re familiar with HGTV, you know that they have found a winning formula with home improvement and real estate flipping shows – Property Brothers, Love It or List It, Fixer Upper, Flip or Flop.

Besides my friend and I, who else watches HGTV?  The network does very well with the advertiser-coveted 18-34 audience….in other words, Millennials.  

Why does this matter to credit unions?

If you are looking for content that will attract the attention of Millennials, rehabbing homes is a winner.  And the tie-ins with mortgages, home equity loans, and HELOCs is natural.  

Lesson #1 – Millennial homeowners are looking for ways to add value to their homes through renovations (and they’re pulling money out of their homes to do it).

Many millennials are starting with fixer uppers that are more affordable but need more work.  They are being strategic about making renovations that will add re-sale value to their home. HGTV shows always show the amount of money invested in the project, then the new value of the home (which is inevitably more than what was spent on the renovation, thus the profit.)    

It’s all about ROI. These aren’t just cosmetic fixes. The renovation budget is considered an investment.

This is one trend that is driving products like a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC).  A recent article talked about how Millennials are pulling cash out of their homes. http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/03/homeowners-are-pulling-cash-out-again-this-time-its-the-millennials.html

“More Millennials are using HELOCs than Gen-Xers or baby boomers, according to a survey by TD Bank. In fact, more than a third of Millennials said they are considering applying for an HELOC in the next 18 months, which is more than twice the rate as Gen-Xers and nine times that of baby boomers.”

Lesson #2 – Millennial renters want to improve their “homes” as well.

Many Millennials are renting…but that’s not stopping them from wanting to improve their living space.  Faith Popcorn shares a case study of her successful work with Home Depot aimed at Millennial renters.


In their research, they uncovered a multi-billion dollar rental improvement market. Turns out renters care about home improvement as well.  So if you are creating content around home improvements, talk to renters as well as homeowners.   

I’m sure many HGTV viewers are renters dreaming of their first home purchase and the incredible renovations they can do themselves.  (Or call in The Property Brothers to help.  Love those guys.)

Lesson #3 – Couples tend to have different approaches to financial decisions.

A constant theme among the HGTV programs is the conflict that arises between couples around money decisions.  It’s fascinating to see what each person wants and values in a home.  And it’s even more fascinating to see how they approach financial decisions.

In the HGTV shows, the couples miraculously come together to a mutual decision.  But it’s in the conversations and conflict during the decision-making process that you really learn something about different money styles and what each needs to feel comfortable moving forward.

I’ve done a decade of research on the differences in how men and women make financial decisions and these shows are a master class in seeing those differences first hand. For example, David and Hilary in Love It or List It has an ongoing competition. The one who is best at uncovering the values and priorities of each spouse and meeting the expectations of both is the one who wins.     

No matter what financial product you are offering, you will be more successful if you identify the differences in the priorities of each spouse.  Is your current sales process designed to identify those differences?  If not, watch a little HGTV.

Holly Buchanan

Holly Buchanan

Holly Buchanan is the author of Selling Financial Services to Women – What Men Need to Know and Even Women Will Be Surprised to Learn. She is the co-author of The ... Web: www.SellingFinancialServicesToWomen.com Details