Wednesday
April 16, 2014

Take it Outside

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Take it Outside

Capture younger buyers’ interest, and demonstrate your value, before you step through the front door.

When you’re marketing a home’s outdoor space, consider tailoring your staging to appeal to the next generation of home buyers.

That starts up front. Although the backyard has traditionally been the focal point for designing a personal paradise, younger owners, it seems, are turning their attention toward the front of their home. “They want to have neighbors, and they want to get to know them by sitting on the front porch,” says Maxine Lauer, founder and CEO of Sphere Trending, a firm studying consumer and design trends. She’s also seeing vegetable gardens moving into the front yard as a means for spurring neighborhood interaction.

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The textures, colors, and furniture that younger home owners choose tend to differ from those of their older counterparts as well. Baby boomers may choose contemporary outdoor designs and exterior color even if they’re living in a Victorian, Lauer says. Generations X and Y prefer to match outdoor decor with their home’s style. “Even in their landscaping, they’re paying much more attention to authenticity,” Lauer says. You can demonstrate value to this younger set by knowing how to complement architectural and regional history. In a world where anything can be Googled, she says, “they expect a lot of extreme knowledge.”

But just because they’re tuned in to the historical now doesn’t mean they will be forever. While boomers are often most concerned with the durability of outdoor surfaces and furnishings, the case is flipped for what Lauer calls “Generation Now.”

“They don’t look at things the same way,” she says. “They say, ‘Really, I have to live with that for 20 years?’ ” That may be good news for owners thinking about making outdoor upgrades before they sell. For example, a wooden deck won’t last as long as a composite one, but it’s almost $6,000 cheaper and will earn back more of its cost at sale time, according to the latest Cost vs. Value Report by Remodeling magazine. For national median, regional, and local data on remodeling costs and costs recouped at sale, visit CostvsValue.com.

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