It’s easy to fall in love with a home that fits all your needs at the time of purchase, but needs evolve over time and eventually, most homeowners find they desire a change. Young couples look for more room and better schools when it’s time to expand their families. Empty nesters want a smaller place after the kids have grown and gone. Retirees often find they prefer a single-story home.
“It may have been appropriate at one time to have six bedrooms for a set of parents and four children, but those children aren’t going to be around forever,” says Brenda Daly, broker-in-charge at United Real Estate Aiken.
If you’re itching to transition to a home that fits the next phase of your life – whether you’re a growing family or a soon-to-be retiree – be smart about how you renovate, list and market your current home prior to upsizing or downsizing, Daly says.
“Know who your target market is and prepare appropriately,” she says. Doing so will pay big dividends in a charming, in-demand market such as Aiken, which was recently named the South’s Best Small Town by Southern Living magazine.
For instance, a starter home is best marketed to millennials, who have very different ideas from older shoppers about what they want in a home.
“They don’t want the dining rooms,” Daly says. “Those are obsolete with that generation. They’d rather have a big laundry room. And they want hardwood, tile or marble. Not carpet.”
Millennials also like built-ins, and “drop zones” where children can take off shoes and hang coats and book bags before entering the main part of the house.
Investing in things such as up-to-date light fixtures, kitchens and bathrooms goes a long way toward earning goodwill that compensates for less appealing characteristics.
“If there’s a modern, efficient kitchen, they’ll overlook the small bedrooms,” Daly says.
It’s also a good idea to use lighter, neutral paint colors in a smaller place because they make the home appear larger.
Even bigger homes for large or growing families should be conservatively painted because most buyers prefer a monochromatic pallet to a busy home with lots of colors, Daly says.
If there is a bonus room available, stage it as a play room to appeal to parents of young children. If the likely buyers are empty nesters, the same room can be staged as a home office. If there’s already a home office elsewhere, get creative about alternate uses such as a reading area, a yoga studio, or a space for arts and crafts.
A yard aimed at families should offer more grass for pets and playing children, but a bachelor or bachelorette might rather have a deck with a bar and barbecue grill for entertaining.
Older buyers might find accessibility features appealing, such as grab bars to make shower stalls safer. These features don’t have to be anything as obvious as a wheelchair ramp – although that might be a good investment if seniors are your target market – but subtle touches such as doors with at least 32 inches of clear width, or toilets that are wheelchair height, will be noticed by those who need them without deterring those who don’t.
No matter who you’re targeting, decluttering is essential prior to listing. “Not only will the house look cleaner and larger, you don’t want to pay to move a bunch of stuff you’re not ever going to use again,” Daly says.
If you’re considering buying or selling a home, call United Real Estate at (803) 226-0120. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a veteran who is upgrading, United Real Estate’s clients are always their first priority.