From kitchen updates to backyard decks, these are the features to consider if you’re hoping to sell to a first-time homebuyer.
If you own a midsized home (especially in a hot suburban real estate market like Cary, NC, or Chesapeake, VA), you may be selling to a younger demographic. Millennials have begun entering the home-buying market and, according to a Trulia survey, are specifically interested in homes between 2,000 and 2,600 square feet. If your house already includes these five features, you’re in luck: Your house has the amenities this group will be looking for by 2018, when 72% of people between the ages of 18 and 34 plan to buy a home. Read on to learn which features will help you sell your home fast, and how you can renovate your home now to be ready to sell in a few short years.
1. Backyard deck
Few things disappoint a millennial more than discovering their otherwise-perfect dream home has no back deck. If you don’t have one, or if you have a tiny afterthought-type deck, consider building one for the 59% of millennial homebuyers who, according to Trulia’s survey, adore this feature.
Besides pressure-treated pine, there are composite deck materials, which many homebuyers prefer. Composite materials require less maintenance and can be just as beautiful as wood — or even more so. But they often cost more to build with. Split-level decks and built-ins are also great features to consider when designing a back-deck addition.
2. Gourmet kitchen
Remodeling your kitchen can be a great way to see a sizable ROI and will keep your home attractive to buyers in a competitive market — 53% of young buyers surveyed are interested in gourmet kitchens. But do you know what constitutes a gourmet versus a functional kitchen? Here’s your formula for a millennial’s dream kitchen: state-of-the-art appliances, impressive surfaces, and storage galore.
Gourmet cooks and gas ranges go together like love and marriage. Double ovens (one being convection), warming ovens (much better to keep foods warm than zapping in the microwave), and a microwave drawer are other impressive features to include in a kitchen overhaul. And if you don’t have room for a separate fridge and freezer, choose a fridge with a freezer drawer on the bottom.
Stainless steel or stone countertops are good options, especially when paired with a subway tile backsplash. If those just aren’t in the budget, choose a laminate that mimics the look. “Millennials have grown up on HGTV and want the look of a granite countertop, even if the seller has used less expensive materials to achieve that look,” says Melissa Rubenstein, a New Jersey real estate agent. And you know cooks will open all the cabinets and drawers to see what’s what. Impress potential buyers with a big pantry, impressive use of space — such as a sliding spice rack — and lots of cabinet room.
Can’t afford to go totally gourmet? “Definitely spend the money on a cosmetic update,” says Ann Wilkins, a San Francisco, CA, real estate agent. “New counters, subway tile backsplash, and freshly painted (white) cabinets go a long way in updating a kitchen for minimal money.”
3. Open floor plan
If you have an open floor plan, you’ll attract 45% of millennials, who use the space for socializing while cooking, keeping an eye on the kids, and having a more impressive entertaining space. Plus, the open floor plan lets in more light, which makes your house show better. If your house still has a staged living and dining room, be honest: How many times a year do you use these rooms? Only on holidays, right? Remove those walls and create an open floor plan. (Of course, you might need to leave up a partial wall or install some posts to hold up the house!)
4. Balcony with a view
If you’ve got a balcony with a view, you’re golden — 60% of millennials put this at the top of their lists in Trulia’s survey. While you can’t create a view from scratch, you can make your balcony more inviting. Add some flower boxes on the top railing for enhanced privacy. Create a welcoming seating area with bench seating along the walls or add outdoor tables and chairs to show potential buyers how they can enjoy dining alfresco.
5. Vegetable garden
Question: What do millennials and the sweet grandma down the street have in common? Answer: They both love vegetable gardens.
Besides posting pictures on social media of their homegrown produce, large numbers of millennials are truly interested in getting back to nature and living a simple, healthy lifestyle. Buying organic can be pricey, so being able to grow produce is hugely attractive to 40% of millennials surveyed. Start a garden yourself, or at least point out the perfect spot in your yard for growing vegetables.