Educating clients about the audience they will be marketing to is one of the most important things that can be done. When a seller puts their home on the market to sell, they should know that the next owner will likely be younger than they are. That’s why they should stop thinking about what they like or want in a home and start thinking about what your most likely buyer will want. When preparing your home prior to putting it on the market for sale, here are some things to consider keeping the younger buyer in mind.
1. Stick with warm, neutral walls. If your target demographic is “young professional” or “young family,” try using a warm gray as a neutral wall color. The gold or pinky-beige wall color used 10 years ago is going to seem outdated to this new group of home buyers. On-trend neutrals like grays allow potential homeowners to envision bringing in complementary colors and clean-lined furnishings to make it their own.
The old rule of thumb used to be that sellers were supposed to paint their rooms white in order to appeal to all buyers. These days, white rooms tend to look boring, especially to younger buyers. Buyers like neutral colors other than white.
Young buyers like Pottery Barn colors. Check out their stores or a catalog, and you’ll see the palette has soft earth tones, off-whites, beige and pale gray. You don’t want super personal color choices, but you can go with a neutral and a contrasting trim color.
2. Invest in white cabinetry. Many home buyers younger than 40 prefer white or off-white kitchen cabinetry. They don’t want to see their momma’s dark kitchen cabinetry in their new home! Consider a kitchen facelift if you have dark kitchen cabinetry with orange or red undertones. Benjamin Moore’s Advance is a great paint to consider. It’s a hybrid of latex and oil, and it requires very little prep work.
3. Update your appliances. Many younger home buyers cannot fathom buying a home without stainless steel appliances. You’ll need to update your almond ones with stainless replacements before putting it on the market.
4. Look for simple stone countertops. Granite and stone countertops are a must-have for most young home buyers — it will make the difference between whether they choose your home or your neighbor’s home. But don’t make the mistake of installing busy or taste-specific granite that may not appeal to everyone. If you plan to be in your home for a long time, go for it — but not if you plan to sell within the next few years.
Instead, choose a granite that is almost black or something with a minimum of colors and veining. Anything more might be a turnoff to those picky younger buyers.
5. Open up your shower space. Young professionals love large, open glass showers. The garden-variety tub isn’t where it’s at anymore.
6. Keep it simple for families with children. People with young kids are less likely to want a fixer-upper. If your target demographic is “young family with small children,” it’s important that your property be ready for them to move right in. Make sure the home has no unfinished projects or red flags for young families.
7. Consider selling your home as a fixer-upper. If your neighborhood is becoming a mecca for young professionals, there may be some appeal to the fixer-upper if the price is right. These younger adults without children may have the time, energy and imagination for making over an older home. Even so, the price will have to be lower than if it were picture perfect.
8. The sellers should buy home warranties that cover repairs for the systems (electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling) and appliances in the home. Most home warranties are available as one-year policies and provide coverage while the property is on the market and after the closing.
A home warranty costs around $300 to $500 and reassures buyers that they won’t be faced with a major repair expense in their first year of homeownership.
9. Younger buyers often are interested in schools, even if they don’t have children yet, Tharp says.
Your marketing materials should mention everything that appeals to young couples and families such as the location near commuter routes or public transportation, swimming pools, tennis courts, a gym, or nearby shops and restaurants. You need to think about what young buyers are most interested in, and then market your house accordingly.
If your home has a great yard or a prime location within a subdivision close to the elementary school or a park, you should make sure that’s highlighted in your marketing,
10. How can home sellers appeal to a younger generation of buyers? In today’s economy, this demographic has been notoriously stingy when it comes to real estate, as many people would rather devote funds to student loans and other costs.
However, that trend appears to be shifting slightly. Therefore, home sellers may soon get more young adults checking out their property, with a unique set of preferences and desires. Before listing any house, owners should have a home inspection done to help alleviate any concerns about structural integrity and repair costs.
Young males, females differ on opinions
Even though the number of younger buyers is on the way up, men and women have different opinions when it comes to real estate, according to Redfin. For instance, more than 85 percent of female buyers younger than 35 wanted a long-term residence, while only 73.8 percent of male buyers agreed.
In addition, men and women have different preferences when it comes to location, Redfin reported. A slight majority of women want to live in the suburbs, while only 47.2 percent of men share the same sentiment. On the contrary, more men than women want to live in the city.
Home amenities are also a point of debate for younger homebuyers. Based on the Redfin data, good schools and proximity to work are both priorities. However, women want access to public transportation and a house that will hold value for a long period of time. Men want restaurants, entertainment and affordability.
Help a home appeal to young buyers
Given the many unique preferences for younger homebuyers, sellers should make sure their properties appeal to this demographic. A property inspection could identify problem areas worth fixing, and ensure that all improvements were completed correctly.
Many young adults are afraid to commit to a house with a lot of costly repairs, according to Bankrate.com. Therefore, sellers can reduce their worries with some smart improvements ahead of time.
I always recommend paying for a home inspection, especially if the owners are elderly and have not had the money or energy to keep the house in good repair. An inspection will help determine if there’s anything that absolutely must be done before putting the house on the market.
With this step completed, sellers will have a report to give to potential buyers. If young people are concerned about the financial implications, a clean inspection could go a long way to assure them that they are making the right decision.