When making a purchase or renovations to your home, it is important to not only think about how it meets your needs but also how it is going to be perceived by future buyers. If you are not planning to move in the foreseeable future it may be hard to think like this, but someday it will be of utmost importance. One set of buyers to consider is baby boomers because there are a lot of retirees that are starting to downsize. This market is especially attractive in Fairfield County because this demographic does not have a sizeable number of options. If your home has the bones to suit the 55+ crowd, you may want to consider their needs when making renovations.
The most obvious choice for the 55+ buyer is the ranch style home as it has no steps however there are other factors to consider. According to Jane O’Connor, the publisher of Mature Living Choices Magazine, “Many people are trading older houses for new homes that offer energy efficiency, great rooms and open floor plans.” Let’s explore this and other features that will appeal to this target market.
Keep in mind where Boomers are coming from: homes with more square footage that tend to have larger open spaces. This feature can be very difficult to find in smaller homes. So while a Ranch is optimal consider also the benefits of the Split with its open living room, dining room and kitchen combination. While the Split has steps, they are minimal as compared to the traditional Colonial. Speaking of Colonials how appealing would they be with both a full bath and second master bedroom down stairs? This set up works in multiple ways as it offers the option of one level daily living, a setup for one level living in case it is needed and a second floor for children and other guests to come visit. That brings me to the Cape which features one bedroom on the first floor. A good number of buyers with young children prefer to have all the bedrooms on the same floor but with single level living already built in, this option can be especially appealing to the 55+ buyer.
Other features that appeal to this market is sun and size of land. If your buyer is coming from a home with larger rooms, these tend to have larger windows that let in more light. A home with optimal light is of course ideal but you can brighten any home by trimming shade inducing trees, switching out light bulbs for the LED kind, and adding Solar tubes where possible. With regard to land, a large flat usable yard is typically highly desired. However a 55+ buyer may find this unappealing, More than likely they will prefer a home on a smaller plot of land with a pleasant garden that can be tended if so desired but will not be a big consumer of their time. If your home will appeal to the baby boomer consider also the advantage of green features. Any energy efficient measure you implement will reduce the monthly bills and that is something that will appeal to anyone who is moving away from their peak earning years into a fixed income scenario. Also, greening your home means making it healthier. For tips on making your home greener check out my blog Snappy Green.
Something else that you may not thought of is to make your home technology ready. From built in sound systems to wireless availability to health monitoring systems, technology is one of the key hot buttons in the senior housing industry. Only a decade ago, the senior population was described as being interested in the latest electronic communication devices . Today they have become more tech savvy, considering strong cable and interest access as absolute necessities.
Whether you are in the process of purchasing a home or already a homeowner, take a look at who your potential buyer may be and keep them in mind when making improvements. Perhaps appealing to the 55+ market will open up a larger buyer pool for your home. Remember something that is perceived as a negative by one group of buyers can be perceived as a positive by another. So know what you are buying and whom your target market will ultimately be when you go to sell.
Whether you are one of the retiree generation setting out on your own property search, or a homeowner preparing to sell into this changing market, I’m here to assist in your plans. Contact me anytime!