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Young first-time homebuyers are often attracted to spaces with plenty of room for entertaining friends and family. Stage your home so it showcases those spots and help potential buyers envision having guests over. (Getty Images)

There’s a common misconception about millennials being uninterested in, or simply unprepared for, homeownership. The statistics simply don’t bear this out: A realtor.com analysis published in early 2019 found millennials accounted for more than 40% of all new home loans.

The implication for home sellers is clear – there’s a decent chance that some of the house hunters who show up to your property are going to be in the millennial age range, so it can really pay off to know your prospective buyer demographic and home upgrades that will definitely catch their attention.

[Read: 7 Living Room Renovation Ideas on a Budget]

Specifically, there are some home upgrades that tend to be more appealing to those in the millennial buying bracket. As you think about the best way to sell a property, keep these upgrades in mind:

  • Smart home technology.
  • Gathering spaces.
  • USB chargers.
  • A home office.
  • Energy-saving appliances.
  • Neutral colors.
  • Garage tech.

Smart Home Technology

Millennials have a reputation for being tech savvy, so it makes sense that they would be interested in whole-house connectivity, including home automation options that allow them to control things like the thermostat, sound system, garage door or the security system alarm from an app on their phone.

Technologies that help reduce the cost of utilities, such as a smart home thermostat, are especially marketable.

Gathering Spaces

When selling your house, one of the most important steps is staging. And if you think you’ll have some first-time buyers show up for a tour or an open house, you might stage your home to emphasize areas where the homeowners can gather with their friends.

For example, if you set up a room in such a way that it looks just perfect for kicking back, watching the big game or even firing up a video game console, that might really appeal to young couples eager to entertain.

[See: 8 Outdoor Patio Decorating Ideas]

USB Chargers

Smartphones are ubiquitous, and millennials are going to have their eyes open for easily available charging stations. If you convert even one or two outlets to include USB chargers, that can go over very well with millennial house hunters. Ultimately, this small investment can really help you sell your home.

A Home Office

Historically, real estate agents have actually advised against having home office spaces, simply because they have generally not been very attractive to buyers. In recent years, that’s started to change, especially among younger professionals. Remote work opportunities are on the rise, and millennial buyers may be eager to find a space that’s created for them to set up shop.

If your house has more than a couple of bedrooms, you may consider configuring one to look more like an office setting, simply demonstrating to buyers how flexible the space can be.

Energy-Saving Appliances

Millennial buyers tend to be on the lookout for ways to reduce the expenses incurred by homeownership. One natural option is energy-efficient appliances.

Replacing your washing machine, dryer or dishwasher with something Energy Star-certified can be a good way to signal to potential buyers that there are savings embedded in your property.

Neutral Colors

This is actually just good advice no matter which homebuying demographic you’re appealing to. Most house hunters prefer soft, neutral colors to anything bright or garish, and millennials are no exception. So try to look for those soft grays or warm tans when repainting.

Garage Tech

Again, millennial buyers are known for their embrace of all the latest technology, and you may have some who want to bring the most up-to-date gadgets out to the garage. This may even include charging a smart car.

Newer garage door openers are equipped with remote technology, allowing you to open and close the door from an app. This can be a smart gesture toward the lifestyle of your millennial buyers.

[Read: How to Declutter Your Home]

These are just a few of the home upgrades we’d recommend when your millennial-aged buyers are likely to be considering your home. There are definitely more home upgrades to consider when attracting any buyer. But this list is a great place to start.


10 Home Renovations Under $5,000

Renovation options that aren't overly pricey.

Laying paving stone, just hands in gloves and a hammer in action, hammering on the paving stones.

(Getty Images)

Your house may be due for an update, but that doesn’t mean you have the cash on hand for the necessary renovations. A complete room remodel or significant addition to a home can cost well over $10,000, but you don’t have to spend every penny to make a difference. Whether you’re looking to save up for a larger renovation down the line or simply want to make a big impact with as little money as possible, here’s what you can do with a $5,000 budget.

(The following information is based on national averages and could vary based on the cost of skilled labor where you live.)

Exterior paint

Exterior paint

Busy House Painter Painting the Trim And Shutters of A Home.

(Getty Images)

For an exterior refresh, a new coat of paint on your house can yield a major transformation for a relatively small price. Even if you don’t select a new color, repainting your siding and trim can make your home's exterior look newer and stand out among other properties in your neighborhood. HomeAdvisor reports that the national average to paint a home exterior is just $2,802. The cost of this project may increase slightly if the type of siding on your home requires additional coats of paint or special materials, but homes two stories or less can likely be painted within a $5,000 budget.

Patio

Patio

Back yard patio with pool and deck.

(Getty Images)

You want the luxury of outdoor living, but you don’t necessarily have the budget for it. A wooden deck, complete with installation and finishing, will likely cost more than $10,000, according to home cost comparison site Fixr. But a patio is a simpler option that can achieve a similar look and feel for a fraction of the cost. Fixr reports that a 12-foot-by-16-foot patio costs, on average, $2,000. Patios are often built with brick, pavers, stone or concrete, depending on personal preference and the optimal material for your local climate and soil.

Interior paint

Interior paint

Couple preparing to paint living room

(Getty Images)

Paint is widely considered an inexpensive way to give a home a new look, so why not refresh every room? HomeAdvisor notes that the cost to have the average 10-foot-by-12-foot room painted professionally ranges from $380 to $790. Even at that maximum price, you could cover three bedrooms, a kitchen, dining room and living room within the $5,000 budget. Of course, painting the interior of a home is an easy task for some homeowners. The average cost to paint a home's interior is well within budget at $1,755, according to HomeAdvisor, in part because so many homeowners opt to make the relatively simple project a DIY task. Combined with rearranged furniture and a few new pieces of decor, fresh paint can give the house a completely different feel.

Hardwood floors

Hardwood floors

Professional installation of floor covering, the worker quickly and qualitatively mounts a laminate board

(Getty Images)

Hardwood floors can increase your home's value and are a desirable feature for many homeowners. While hardwood floors may be a pricier alternative to laminate or carpeting, installing them is feasible on a budget. HomeAdvisor reports the national average cost to install new wood flooring is $4,386. Of course, the final cost depends on the size of your home or the space you’re planning to renovate and the flooring material you choose. High-end wood flooring throughout a large floor plan can cost upwards of $10,000, according to HomeAdvisor.

Built-in bookshelves

Built-in bookshelves

Seating area in living room in moscow apartment;

(Getty Images)

Sprucing up a living room or home office can be a much simpler task than dealing with the plumbing or major appliances you’ll find in a kitchen or bathroom. But if you want to invest in a new focal point for the room you hang out in the most, consider built-in bookshelves. HomeAdvisor reports built-in shelves or cabinets cost, on average, $2,307, with custom design and installation reaching up to about $5,000. Bookcases offer an organization solution while also adding a desirable feature for your home’s future sale.

Kitchen appliances

Kitchen appliances

Professional gas range and range hood, white cabinet,  antique ceiling lamps, fine bone china teacups in cabinets. Chalk paint hand-painted stools. Antique brass fruit tray. Antique cherry wood tea tray.

(Getty Images)

If you’re hoping to renovate your kitchen, be aware that a complete overhaul will likely be well beyond a $5,000 budget. The 2019 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study, released in January, reports homeowners plan to spend a national median of $11,000 on a kitchen renovation alone. You can, however, tackle the parts of your kitchen that can make a major impact for a cheaper price. For better efficiency, consider new appliances throughout your kitchen. Luxury models can climb in price, but midrange kitchen suites that include a new refrigerator, range, dishwasher and microwave fall under a total of $5,000 for brands such as GE, Samsung, LG and Maytag at Home Depot, before installation and sales tax.

Kitchen countertops

Kitchen countertops

New black and white contemporary kitchen with subway tiles splashback

(Getty Images)

Another option for refreshing your kitchen for less is replacing your countertops, which can transform the look of the room. According to the Houzz Kitchen Trends study, 93 percent of respondents plan for new countertops in a kitchen remodel, making them the most popular feature to replace. Of course, if you’re looking to install rare Italian marble countertops, you may find yourself with a big bill. But butcher block, engineered quartz, stainless steel, laminate and some types of granite and marble can all be purchased and installed for less than $5,000 for 50 square feet. On average, new countertop installation costs $2,300, according to HomeAdvisor.

Shower or tub replacement

Shower or tub replacement

(Getty Images)

Like in the kitchen, a full bathroom remodel will likely exhaust an entire $5,000 budget and more, but a smaller-scale change may give the bathroom a new look that allows you to enjoy it more. Consider replacing your old shower or tub with a new one, which can cost between $400 and $4,500 on average, according to Fixr. Opting to move the location of the shower or purchasing a luxury tub could take you over budget, but a replacement shower with new fixtures and subway tiles could make the bathroom look new again without requiring a deep dive into your savings.

Open floor plan

Open floor plan

A sledge hammer is a great tool for removing unwanted drywall.

(Getty Images)

A major change with a high price tag may not be in the cards, but you can achieve maximum impact for less if you decide to embrace the ever-popular open floor plan. The cost to remove a wall varies if it involves electrical or plumbing or if the wall is load-bearing, meaning it’s vital to the structure of your home. Removal of a load-bearing wall in a single-story house averages between $1,200 and $3,000, according to HomeAdvisor, and falls within your $5,000 budget with money left over to even out the flooring and repaint. A load-bearing wall in a two-story house may get more expensive, however, reaching as much as $10,000 on average.

Closet system

Closet system

A large and luxurious walk-in wardrobe.

(iStockPhoto)

A new organization system for your closet can make life much easier, and with a clean closet you’re able to splurge and budget on what works best for you. Home improvement professionals network Thumbtack reports a custom closet installation typically costs between $2,000 and $6,000. The type of construction or closet brand you choose can help keep your total bill below $5,000. The Elfa brand from The Container Store, for example, offers custom-design options with pricing based on the cost of each individual piece. You can also choose existing closet designs, such as the Platinum Elfa Walk-In Closet, which is about $2,500 at full price with installation included, based on a 6-foot-by-8-foot closet.

Cost-effective home renovations

Cost-effective home renovations

Close up of unrecognizable house painter pouring paint while preparing it for home decoration.

(Getty Images)

Improve your home with these renovation projects for under $5,000:

  • Exterior paint.
  • Patio.
  • Interior paint.
  • Hardwood floors.
  • Built-in bookshelves.
  • Kitchen appliances.
  • Kitchen countertops.
  • Shower or tub replacement.
  • Open floor plan.
  • Closet system.

Read More

Tags: real estate, housing, housing market, existing home sales, pending home sales, home improvements, millennials


Deanna Haas is the director of customer experience at SOLD.com, a first-of-its-kind educational resource and comparison engine for consumers researching and evaluating the many ways to buy or sell a home. SOLD.com’s platform brings traditional agents and disruptive tech models all under one roof.

Haas’ team advises homebuyers and sellers on how to make the most of their experience by connecting them with the optimal agent partner for their needs. With over 10 years of experience in the real estate industry, including previous roles at Zillow and Auction.com, Haas is an expert on the ins and outs of home sales.

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