Bryn Huntpalmer is a mother of two young children living in Austin, Texas where she currently works as an editor for Modernize. In addition to regularly contributing to home remodeling and design sites around the web, her writing can be found on Lifehacker and About.com.
Make Your Listing Attractive to Young Families
You don’t need a swing set out back to attract this growing demographic. Take time to understand the needs and wants of today’s young families to succeed in getting their attention.
March 22, 2016
Many young home buyers have the romantic and creative impulse to purchase a home that needs significant renovations. They are willing to spend weekends painting or refinishing original wood floors in order to truly make their mark on their home. However, families with children are often short on both time and money, and they may not have enough of either to see these dreams come to fruition in a home that requires serious work.
That’s why listings that will truly attract these young buyers need to encapsulate that do-it-yourself spirit without also communicating a potential to send budding families spiraling into debt. These tips will help prospective buyers see your listing as a space where they can comfortably raise their family without breaking the bank.
Balance Financials With DIY Appeal
Typically, younger buyers tend to be more budget-conscious. Your average under-35 couple isn’t going to be well suited, financially speaking, to a fixer-upper. But that doesn’t mean they don’t want one. Research indicates that younger buyers are still opting for fixer-uppers — at least 62 percent of young home owners have renovated, according to a 2015 study from Houzz.
This generation has a DIY attitude and, as real estate agents can attest, this approach translates to home ownership as well. Buyer’s reps should take care to lead younger clients with limited financial wiggle room to listings that can balance their desire to remake the space with their fiscal reality. They’ll do well in homes that need a cosmetic update but not a total renovation, and they can benefit greatly from your experience. Young buyers may come in loaded with their own research, but they still need your professional opinion, especially when it comes to making sound financial investments and estimating their families’ capacity for remodeling.
Advise Sellers to Handle Smaller Repairs
While it’s true that younger buyers are drawn to repair projects, a huge list of small, unrewarding tasks isn’t likely to get their creative juices flowing. Some projects may seem trivial or simple to your sellers, like reattaching a loose gutter or putting new childproof covers on electrical sockets. But if you can help them imagine the stress of adding those projects onto the already long to-do list common to young families, it could go a long way in convincing them of the need to tackle some of these pesky tasks.
Take your sellers on a room-by-room tour of their home with a list of necessary repairs, from windows that are painted shut to light switches that no longer work. Explain that taking the time to make these simple, inexpensive repairs will go a long way to putting prospective home buyers’ minds at ease. Additionally, while every home grows infinitely more appealing after a deep cleaning, parents in particular are drawn to a spotless interior — the kind of place where they can picture their children growing up, instead of those that conjure up the fear of mold hiding under baseboards.
Invest in a Fence for the Yard
Your listing’s backyard doesn’t need to include a full jungle gym in order to appeal to a family with young kids. Installing a privacy fence can yield a 50 percent return on the seller’s investment, according to a recent article at Realty Times. Meanwhile, prospective home buyers will see a space where their children and pets can play freely without worrying about passing cars or strangers. Staging the backyard with items like patio furniture, a fire pit, or even a hammock will help young buyers imagine relaxing weekends spent making memories with their families.
Draw Attention to Energy-Efficient, Eco-Friendly Features
Virtually all home shoppers appreciate energy-efficient features that can provide monthly budget relief, but young parents may be especially focused on providing a healthier environment where their children can grow and live. Even little items like a smart thermostat can be surprisingly important selling points to a young family, thanks to the low-effort opportunities it provides to reduce a growing family’s footprint. Create a narrative in your listing that highlights spaces for gardens and a rain collection barrel. Many parents today are looking for ways to teach their children about healthy food choices and conservation. Older kids might have a greater appreciation for new chores when parents encourage them to take on the responsibility of caring for plants.
Highlight Open Kitchens in Your Listings
When recitals and soccer practice have to be fit in between growing work demands, a formal dining room may be less appealing to younger buyers than, say, a wide kitchen island with bar seating. Of course, not every house comes complete with an open-plan kitchen, but adding recessed storage, open shelving units, and extra light can do a lot to make a cramped space feel more inviting for the whole family. Be sure to mention small details in this important room, such as the view of the backyard from the window over the kitchen sink. That way, buyers can imagine themselves watching their children play while preparing meals.
Remember: For young families, buying a home is an emotionally fraught time. They aren’t just investing in a house, they are envisioning what their whole family will look like in the coming years, or even putting down roots in a new city. As a real estate professional, you know that walls can be easily repainted and light fixtures updated. But your understanding of how these minor issues impact first-time buyers brings added value that cannot be quantified.