Renovation Generation


Chef’s kitchens. Spa bathrooms. Smart technology. Younger generations of would-be home buyers typically expect to find the kind of Instagram-ready houses they are accustomed to seeing on their social media feeds and via HGTV binges. In fact, a recent survey from The Harris Poll, commissioned by Coldwell Banker Real Estate, showed that over one-third of home buyers aged 35-40 are more likely to want to move to an upgraded home compared to older age groups.

The same survey found that 89% of people who have sold their homes in the past three years have indeed made upgrades before selling, so it behooves them to make the smartest renovations they can afford to mirror what the purchasing market is seeking.

“An overwhelming number of homeowners make renovations before selling their homes, but the latest survey from Coldwell Banker and The Harris Poll shows that they aren’t necessarily the upgrades that buyers want,” reports Pauline Bennett, president of Coldwell Banker Realty in New England.

Luckily, Coldwell Banker has a program called RealVitalize, which provides sellers with home improvement resources prior to or during the home listing period with no up-front costs or interest charges. Clients are connected with top-rated local experts from Angi, the nation’s largest network of pre-screened, homeowner-rated service

The same generations that are looking to buy move-in ready homes are also struggling to upgrade their own properties before listing. Gen Zers (18-24) and Millennials (25-40) were more likely to have trouble finding the money to make updates before putting their home on the market (34% and 31%) compared to the older generations of Xers and Boomers.

Turning to a seasoned broker can help ease this stress. “A real estate agent can help you choose the renovations that will generate the largest return on your investment,” says Bennett, “And with RealVitalize, Coldwell Banker Realty is offering a way to pay for those repairs with no money down.”

While it is still a seller’s market, home owners are looking for powerful advantages to move their home faster and for a better price. “RealVitalize removes financial stress from sellers while their home is on the market and helps them obtain more money in the long run, says Christine Powers, Coldwell Banker Realty in Cohasset. “Many buyers are looking for move-in-ready or turnkey properties, so even smaller projects like painting, finishing floors and staging can make a positive impact on a home’s final sale price.”

Another Coldwell agent, Donna Gittelsohn in the Natick office, had a ranch house listing that definitely needed an infusion of charm. “The stager we hired through RealVitalize came in and made it look like a dollhouse,” says Gittelsohn. “The house sold the first day.”

In addition to interior staging, some of the most popular upgrades and renovations include interior and exterior painting, refinished floors, updated lighting and electrical systems and new bathrooms. The younger buyers are also more keen on extra amenities such as pools, outdoor kitchens and large yards.

Over forty percent of  Zers and Millennials say they will be looking to purchase a home within the next 12 months. Your local Coldwell Banker agent, and the RealVitalize program, is ready to assist you in making your home the “wow” one that will attract them.

Text by Lisa Cavanaugh

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