Educating my clients about the audience they will be marketing to is one of the most important things a home stager can do. When you put your home on the market to sell, you should know that the next owner will likely be younger than you are. That's why you should stop thinking about what you like or want in a home and start thinking about what your most likely buyer will want.
1. Stick with warm, neutral walls. If your target demographic is "young professional" or "young family," try using a warm gray as a neutral wall color. The gold or pinky-beige wall color you chose 10 years ago is going to seem outdated to this new group of home buyers. On-trend neutrals like grays allow potential homeowners to envision bringing in complementary colors and clean-lined furnishings to make it their own.
2. Invest in white cabinetry. Many home buyers younger than 40 prefer white or off-white kitchen cabinetry. They don't want to see their momma's dark kitchen cabinetry in their new home! Consider a kitchen facelift if you have dark kitchen cabinetry with orange or red undertones. Benjamin Moore's Advance is a great paint to consider. It's a hybrid of latex and oil, and it requires very little prep work.
3. Update your appliances. Many younger home buyers cannot fathom buying a home without stainless steel appliances. You'll need to update your almond ones with stainless replacements before putting it on the market.
4. Look for simple stone countertops. Granite and stone countertops are a must-have for most young home buyers -- it will make the difference between whether they choose your home or your neighbor's home. But don't make the mistake of installing busy or taste-specific granite that may not appeal to everyone. If you plan to be in your home for a long time, go for it -- but not if you plan to sell within the next few years.
Instead, choose a granite that is almost black or something with a minimum of colors and veining. Anything more might be a turnoff to those picky younger buyers.
5. Open up your shower space. Young professionals love large, open glass showers. The garden-variety tub isn't where it's at anymore.
6. Keep it simple for families with children. People with young kids are less likely to want a fixer-upper. If your target demographic is "young family with small children," it's important that your property be ready for them to move right in. Make sure the home has no unfinished projects or red flags for young families.
7. Consider selling your home as a fixer-upper. If your neighborhood is becoming a mecca for young professionals, there may be some appeal to the fixer-upper if the price is right. These younger adults without children may have the time, energy and imagination for making over an older home. Even so, the price will have to be lower than if it were picture perfect.
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Kristie Barnett: Color Expert, Interior Decorator, & Design Blogger.