Before you tackle another home improvement project or stick a "for sale" sign in your yard, check out this list of smart ways to boost your home's appeal -- especially for the growing number of millennial buyers.
If you’re thinking about selling your home, it’s a good idea to know what property features are important to homebuyers, especially if you’re expecting top dollar for your house.
At 31 percent, millennials now represent the largest segment of homebuyers in the United States, according to the National Association of Realtors. Today’s young buyers have a “must-have” list that helps determine how much money they’re willing to fork over to get their dream house.
Based on shifts in the current housing market and a nationally representative survey of young homebuyers, Consumer Reports says these are the top six ways you can improve your home and its value:
- Updated kitchen: CR said a modern and updated kitchen topped the list of ideal home features among millennial homebuyers. Although kitchen remodels can be expensive, CR said even if you spend “as little as $5,000, you should be able to add a new suite of appliances, as well as a new countertop and flooring, resulting in a fresh, coordinated look.” An updated kitchen could bump up your home’s sale price by 3 to 7 percent, CR noted.
- Open floor plan: An open and flexible floor plan is what clinched the deal on purchasing our first home nearly a decade ago. We were able to look past a ridiculously long list of things we didn’t like – including carpeted bathrooms, a dated kitchen and atrocious wallpaper in nearly every room in the 1970s-era home – because of its impressive floor plan. CR said your home’s value could go up by 4 to 6 percent if you can strategically increase the amount of usable living space your home provides. Creating flexible living areas, a mother-in-law apartment or upstairs laundry room all score thumbs up from homebuyers.
- Energy efficiency: No one wants to buy an energy hog, so taking steps to improve your home’s energy efficiency could boost your home’s sale price by 1 to 3 percent. “My millennial buyers usually ask for two years’ worth of utility payments,” Joe Rivellino, a real estate professional in the Buffalo, New York area, told CR. Efficiency-minded homebuyers look for updated HVAC systems and water heaters, high-efficiency windows and high R-values on insulation.
- Stress-free: “Stain-prone stone countertops, grime-collecting ornate cabinets, and dust-catching wall-to-wall carpet used to be symbols of luxury, but today’s homebuyers are more likely to equate them with extra work,” noted CR. Beyond cosmetic finishes, CR said updated plumbing, electricity and heating and cooling systems, are all important selling features. Along with a newer roof and durable flooring (carpet has declined in popularity), these “stress-fee” housing improvements could increase your home’s value by 3 to 5 percent.
- Clean, neutral paint: CR said to focus on painting high-traffic areas — especially the bathrooms and kitchens — when you go to sell your house. Plus, if you do the painting yourself, it’s one of the cheapest ways you can update the look of your house. CR recommends choosing neutral colors and high-quality paints and you could see a 1 to 2 percent increase in your home’s value.
- Outdoor living: Don’t forget that outdoor living space, especially if it requires minimal upkeep, is a great way to boost your home value by 3 to 5 percent. CR said creating a water-smart yard and making sure your home’s exterior and yard have curb appeal are important features to many homebuyers.
On the flip side of the coin, check out “4 Home ‘Improvement’ Projects That Can Hurt Your Property Value.”
What do you think of CR’s list of tips to boost your home value? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.