The results of the yearly survey conducted by Fixr are in, and most experts agree that moving forward in 2018, it’s the Millennials and the Gen X’ers who are most likely to buy single-family homes this year. Similarly, the Houzz & Home Survey showed an increase in spending for home renovations amongst Millennials as well.
In the same survey, many new home construction trends that new home buyers are asking builders to apply to their homes also came to light. These trends, created by this new group of buyers, provide architects with new insights on what today’s homes will focus on, and what home investors should be on the lookout for.
Younger home buyers face many financial challenges that didn’t exist for previous generations. For this reason, some are delaying the purchase of their first home while they save, while others are looking at older homes that they can rehab. Both groups ultimately want a home that will meet their needs, and are willing to wait until they find it, which makes things more challenging for sellers hoping to capitalize on this new market.
Here are some of the key home construction trends that sellers should be focusing on according to the industry experts we interviewed:
– Green, Energy efficient home design
“I believe the trend in green home design is growing. I think pricing for “green” infused homes still impacts decision makers.”
-Adam Helfman, Hire it Done
– Smaller size homes
“They will be looking for smaller homes that have the flexibility to grow or change over time.”
-Jeremiah Russell, AIA, NCARB, Rogue Architecture
– Use of natural light
“Clear concise plan with effective adjacencies is the key for the home layout, maximizing light and air.”
-George Bradley, AIA
– Adding a home office
“The most common special function rooms are home offices and garages. Only about one-third of our clients want any of the others”
-Chuck Miller, Chuck Miller Construction Inc.
– Modern architectural style (with cool color tones)
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“Modern and simple home styles allow for reconfigurations in the future, therefore are more likely to hold their value.”
-Mark English, Mark English Architects
Based on these trends, the following five home improvement projects are poised to make homes more valuable and attractive to these emerging young home buyers:
- Small, Energy Efficient Bathrooms
Bathrooms are one of the most frequently used rooms in the home. And one of the first to begin to show their age or look out of date, while older bathrooms also use more energy and resources than newer spaces.
With the trends of smaller homes and energy efficient houses, it makes sense to remodel existing small bathrooms into more functional, water-friendly rooms that are attractive to younger buyers.
The total cost of a new bathroom can look dramatic at first; the national average cost for a bathroom remodel is $18,000 or $125 per square foot. These costs include a complete remodel of the room, stripping everything down to the studs and installing everything new.
However, it’s possible to create a more energy efficient, up-to-date bathroom for less. Start by investing in water-saving faucets and appliances, such as a low-flow toilet ($300 – $500) and low-flow faucets and showerheads ($50 – $250), which can save hundreds of gallons of water a year.
Next, give the bathroom a fresh coat of paint ($100 – $290) and install a new fan to lower humidity levels and help reduce the chance of mold growth ($350 – $400).
Bathroom remodels get an average return on investment of around 64.8%.
- Add a Home Office to Your Unfinished Basement
With more people working from home than ever before, a home office is a great investment in any home,and something that most home buyers are searching for. And if you currently have unused space in the basement of the home you’re flipping or looking to rent, this is the ideal area to add the new room. Basement remodels typically get a high ROI, while home offices are one of the most frequently requested additions to a home amongst younger home buyers.
While a full basement remodel can get pricey, often costing more than $70,000, you don’t need to finish the entire area to add a home office. Just make sure you thoroughly waterproof the area ($5,000), and use some type of hard flooring that can be installed below grade, such as porcelain or engineered hardwoods. Add drywall ($200) and an acoustic ceiling ($125 – $325) and you’re ready to roll.
A basement remodel can get you a whopping 70% return on investment at time of resale.
- Increase Natural Light
Homes that are dark or have too few windows can feel smaller and more cramped than they actually are. So it makes sense that new home buyers are placing such a premium on natural lighting, especially as they move toward smaller homes in general.
Picture windows are relatively easy to install, and can dramatically increase the amount of natural light in a room, making it seem larger than it really is and improving its appearance and curb appeal at the same time. Natural light is one of the key components to helping a home sell faster and maintain a lot of its value; installing a picture window is a fast and easy way to achieve this goal, resulting in a quicker resale.
Expect to spend about $450-$880 for the purchase and installation of each picture window. Even one window can make a big difference in a small house. For spaces that aren’t suited to a picture window, consider installing a skylight or solar tube overhead for $1,540-$2000 or $550-$700, respectively.
Installing energy efficient, vinyl windows with a simulated wood grain can recoup about 74% at time of resale.
- Go Green With Solar Energy
New home buyers are more focused on renewable energy sources than ever before. Growing trends in green energy are pointing toward solar panels as a way to help offset rising energy costs, while lessening dependence on fossil fuels.
Consider installing solar panels to help cut energy costs and increase the attractiveness of your home to potential buyers. Keep in mind that solar panels have the greatest impact when the total size of your roof and the direction it faces are taken into consideration; have an energy audit done first to ensure you’re putting them in the right place, and find out what other upgrades you could make to increase the energy efficiency of your home.
Expect to pay about $36,000 for a full rooftop solar system. Costs may vary depending on how many panels you have installed and whether you qualify for any state or federal rebates or tax credits. An energy audit costs around $150, and can pay for itself quickly in energy saving ideas for your whole home, which can translate into a faster sale, as you’ll be able to showcase that savings to potential buyers.
The amount that you’ll recoup at time of resale is directly tied to your area; calculate your ROI based on your specific numbers to get the most accurate amount. However, on average, most people find an ROI of around 25% on solar panels.
- Set the Right Tone With Exterior Painting
It’s important not to neglect your home’s exterior when getting it ready for sale. Curb appeal, or the first impression people make when they view a home for the first time can often make or break a sale.
Many of today’s younger home buyers are attracted to modern architectural styles, such as Mid-Century Modern design. However, even older style homes can still make the grade with cooler-toned paint colors. Give your home a makeover with a fresh coat of paint and some up-to-the minute colors like gray, white, and taupe with bold accents like brick red and deep blue to help the property sell faster.
The average cost of painting a home’s exterior is around $1,850 – $2,500. Or, if you want to add some Mid-Century accents, expect to pay around $2,500 for new trim.
While it’s hard to calculate the ROI of a fresh paint job, it’s equally hard to deny that homes that look well kept and that are in better condition also have higher curb appeal. This can translate into a faster sale, which often makes the project well worth the cost.
Update Your Home
With younger homebuyers making up a larger share of the market than ever before, it makes sense to begin catering to their tastes to sell your property faster. Young homebuyers know what they want, and are willing to wait to get it, so updating the home you are trying to sell can make a significant impact on how quickly that sale happens, and what price you can get for it. Use these projects as a jumping off point to get your property ready for sale.