The Times They Are A-Strangin’
For those of you who are familiar with the works of Bob Dylan and recognized the allusion I was making with the title of this week’s article, please let me assure you of one thing: some of this is probably going to make as much sense as Bob Dylan’s singing voice is intelligible. And for those of you who have no idea either who Bob Dylan is or what song I was going for, let me assure you of this: I WISH I was making this up!
Recently, as I was scrolling through my Instagram feed, I came across a meme that read just like this: “Millennials Are Buying Homes Because of Their Dogs – Not Their Children or Marriages.” Obviously, something like this would stop me in my tracks, and it did. But just as I was starting to smile because I believed it was one of those fake headlines that someone who has more time on their hands than is reasonable had created, I decided to type that exact headline into the search engine to see what really popped up – I was curious to see what true headline had been virtually contorted to come up with what I was seeing in my Instagram feed.
I typed it in and was directed to a link for an article published by Money magazine on July 27, 2017, and when I clicked on the link, what did I find? THAT EXACT HEADLINE! Had the article been dated on or near April 1st, or had it been published by The Onion, I would have laughed and thought, “You got me. You got me good!” Last I checked, though, Money isn’t known for practical jokes. Still reeling from all this, I dove into the article and began reading.
The author of the article, figuring she had sucked you in with her headline (and she had), opened with these two sentences: “It’s no secret that millennials love dogs, and now their four-legged friends are starting to influence the decisions they make about housing. A recent survey by SunTrust Mortgage found that a third of millennials who had already purchased their first home said they were influenced by the need to have space for a dog.”
What the author writes next MAY make your head explode, so you might want to lay down some visqueen and have a roll of duct tape handy: “The survey asked recent home buyers why they were buying their first home, and their dog was the third most commonly cited reason, COMING ABOVE CHILDREN AND MARRIAGE (the all-caps emphasis was added by me). Only more living space and the opportunity to build equity came above the furry companions.”
This means a complete shift in how we market and appeal to these new homebuyers. Will these new buyers be bringing their dogs along on the house hunt to see if the neighborhood smells right? If the dog pees on the carpet in a particular house, is that a good or bad sign? I promise not to trot out the old chestnut “the world is going to the dogs” . . . mainly because, it appears, it already has. Don’t bite the messenger.