Most of the the properties I list for sale are owned by “Baby Boomers.” Their homes are being purchased by the next generation of buyers flooding into the housing market — known as the “Millenials.” The more familiar we are with the Millenials’ wants and needs, the better we can cater to them in the sales process. Because getting my clients top dollar for their homes is one of their most important goals when they hire me, I have taken time and done the research to aptly inform them about everything Baby Boomers need to know about selling their homes to Millenials.
First- what exactly is a “Millenial?” The term is loosely defined as the generation that came into adulthood about the year 2000 (born between 1980-2000). There are varying dates, but these seem to be most common. Much of the press has characterized them as apathetic, over indulged or over rewarded. But that is not what I witness in my profession. The Millenials pouring into our urban/suburban towns largely hail from a city lifestyle in neighborhoods they helped to renew (ex – Williamsburgh Brooklyn, Jersey City, Astoria Queens) and they are looking for the same urban feel in a town’s cultural amenities as well as it’s residents. They like good restaurants, live music, art and a diverse population. Because they are making terrific profits on their current apartments, they are financially viable buyers and incredibly desirable to mortgage folks.
In most cases both members of the Millenial household work and many will commute to NYC on a daily basis. This is a key lifestyle component to understand because it directly affects a home’s potential resale value for 2 key reasons. The first is location – the closer a home is to the train station the higher the Millenial will value it. This is primarily because they want to maintain as much of their current commuting style as possible, which entails walking to the subway. The second reason – they want homes that have already been updated with a modern feel. In the Millenial household both members are likely to be working and commuting, leaving little time for overseeing home renovations. Those sellers that update their homes are selling in less time and at higher prices.
So how do we prepare? While we can’t control a seller’s home location, we can control the decor. A seller can make updates to their home during the sales preparation phase that do not need to be labor or cost intensive. They just need to give a buyer a sense of how they can adapt the traditional home to their modern sensibilities. Millenials love modern style. They want the architectural detail of a classic home (like picture molding, wood burning fireplace), but updated with clean lines, pops of color and with a nod to Mid Century Modern style. Got it?
So how does this work? Well, let’s take some examples. Here is a traditional dining room in a traditional home:
While I don’t recommend buying all new furniture, I highly recommend painting the dining room in a cool hue and contrasting it with the molding. Remove all the small accessories and accent the table with one important, modern shaped accessory – I love hurricane lamps as an example. The last thing is replace the lighting. This can have incredible impact and can be very inexpensive. This round drum shade on the fixture is a very appealing look and you can get a fixture for about $200 that will suffice.
You may also want to consider replacing traditional art on the walls with more mid century looking accessories like the mirror pictured here.
Instead, de-clutter the space (less is way more in this case) and replace accessories, pillows, and area rugs with modern, colorful, sculptural ones. Here is what appeals to the 35 year old – likely to buy a traditional home:
But Millenials Like:
Well, the old style can be spruced up to appeal to a modern eclectic style without a great sum of money. Some good ideas are to paint your cabinets a neutral color, replace the countertops with a natural stone (granite is on the way out – think more of quartz and even poured concrete) and replace the backsplash with a glass tile that has a pop of color. This will instantly be more appealing to a buyer, who will think, maybe the kitchen isn’t new, but they can live with it.
A home for sale should not be a reflection of the owner and their tastes, but a reflection of who the buyer might be and their personal style. The buyers is always the one to determine a property’s value. The less work the house looks like it needs the higher the buyer’s perception of value will be. if you would like to get some resources for updating your home please comment below and I will be happy to share.
Have you made any updates you’s like to share? Please comment.