Declutter and clean: both are two important steps to take before putting your house on the market. But if you have a midsized suburban home (2,000 to 2,600 square feet), you’d be wise to also get your house millennial (and gen-x)-ready.
Why? Because that’s your market.
If you start now making the changes those groups prefer, your house will be the talk of the town by 2018. That (and later) is when 72% of people between the ages of 18 and 34 plan to buy a home, according to a May 2015 survey conducted by Trulia.
Here are five key areas to focus on that will help you sell your home fast, based on the results of that May 2015 survey by Trulia.
1. Backyard deck
Few things disappoint a millennial more than discovering their otherwise-perfect dream home has no backyard deck. If you don’t have one, or if you have a tiny afterthought-type deck, consider building one.
Besides pressure-treated pine, there are composite deck materials, which many homebuyers prefer. Composite materials require less maintenance and can be just as beautiful as wood — or even more so. But they cost more to build with.
Young buyers love split-level decks for visual interest. Built-in lights are also a plus.
2. Gourmet kitchen
Kitchens are always at the top of the list for ROI when it comes to home makeovers, and young buyers care about this too. But do you know what constitutes a gourmet versus a functional kitchen?
Here’s your formula: state-of-the-art appliances plus impressive surfaces plus storage galore equals gourmet.
Gourmet cooks and gas ranges go together like love and marriage. Gourmet cooks also prefer double ovens (one being convection), warming ovens (much better to keep foods warm than zapping in the microwave), and a microwave drawer (bet you didn’t even know about those … they hide the microwave).
If you don’t have room for a separate fridge and freezer, choose a fridge with a freezer drawer on the bottom.
Gourmet cooks also love stainless steel countertops. But stone countertops are good options too. If those just aren’t in the budget, choose a laminate that mimics the look. “Millennials have grown up on HGTV and want the look of a granite countertop, even if the seller has used less expensive materials to achieve that look,” says Melissa Rubenstein, a New Jersey real estate agent.
And you know cooks will open all the cabinets and drawers to see what’s what. Impress potential buyers with a big pantry, impressive use of space — such as a sliding spice rack — and lots of cabinet room.
Can’t afford to go totally gourmet? “Definitely spend the money on a cosmetic update,” says Ann Wilkins, a San Francisco real estate agent. “New counters, subway tile backsplash and freshly painted (white) cabinets go a long way in updating a kitchen for minimal money.”
3. Open floor plan
Be honest: How many times do you use that formal living and dining room? Only on holidays, right? Remove those walls and create an open floor plan that young people actually want. (Of course, you might need to leave a partial wall or put up some posts to hold the house up!)
Millennials like open floor plans so they can socialize while cooking, keep an eye on the kids better, and have a more impressive entertaining space. The open floor plan also lets in more light, which makes your house show better.
4. Balcony with a view
Yes, we know that you can’t create a view. But you can make your balcony inviting. Do so by using plants strategically and by creating a welcoming seating area.
Plants are great because they’re striking and they create privacy. Place planters on the ground to create a portal and place some flower boxes on the top railing.
Bench seating along the walls is inviting (and maintains space on the balcony). But it’s also nice to feature outdoor tables and chairs to show potential buyers how they can enjoy dining alfresco.
5. Vegetable garden
Question: What do millennials and the sweet grandma down the street have in common?
Answer: They both love vegetable gardens.
Besides posting pics on social media of their homegrown produce, large numbers of millennials are truly interested in getting back to nature and living a simple, healthy lifestyle.
Plus, buying organic can be pricey, so being able to grow produce is hugely attractive to millennials. Either start a garden yourself or at least point out the perfect spot in your yard for growing vegetables.
More From Trulia: