If you’re planning to list your home for sale this year, you should consider several key factors influencing the market. Two important trends that realtor.com foresees are an increase in the number of homes for sale and an increase in the number of millennial buyers.

The millennial cohort consists of people born between 1981 and 1996, and for many of them, this will be their first time purchasing a home. If you’re a seller hoping to woo this group, how can you make your home stand out from the competition? Here are some trends and tips that can help.

 

1) The new-home search starts online.

Internet-savvy millennials are inclined to perform extensive online research before house shopping. To make a great first impression, be sure you work with a listing agent who has a strong online presence. This includes active social media and digital marketing campaigns as well as the use of state-of-the art photos and videos.

Forbes notes that 95 percent of buyers look for homes on the internet, and 51 percent buy homes they find online. Some real estate firms are going beyond photos and using virtual reality to showcase properties. This could be a natural next-step for the entire industry since many millennials expect this high-quality, high-tech service.

 

2) Staging can create an open atmosphere.

The usability of a living space may be more important to some younger buyers than the square footage of a house. For instance, open floor plans — especially for living and dining areas — are a desirable trait. Instead of paying potentially hundreds of dollars for a professional home stager, try to design an enticing environment yourself.

To help create a feeling of spaciousness, try to store excess furniture and personal belongings off-site during a showing. Removing family photos and collectibles from walls and shelves can help prospective buyers visualize themselves occupying the space. Cleaning and organizing your garage can help make it appear larger.

 

3) Sustainability and energy-efficiency are big selling points.

A lot of millennials prefer energy-efficient homes with smart technology, when available. The National Association of Realtors reports that homebuyers will pay more for a home with features such as smart appliances, security, climate control and entertainment.

Another way to increase your home’s value and desirability is by upgrading your windows. In addition to enhancing curb appeal with fresh and modern-looking windows, you can potentially create a more energy-efficient home which can help lower utility bills — a big plus for prospective buyers.

 

4) Kitchen updates that make an impact.

The Balance notes that when it comes to kitchen trends, younger buyers want either original period details or completely modern. Whether you’re thinking of remodeling your kitchen or making just a few updates, consider items that can have a big impact:

  • Luxurious stone, poured cement or granite counters.
  • Kitchen islands with an extra sink.
  • Professional six-burner ranges and convection ovens.
  • Built-in stainless steel Sub-Zero refrigerators and dishwashers.
  • Hammered-copper sinks or apron-front farmhouse sinks.

5) Bathroom facelifts can have a big ROI.

Bathroom remodels typically return up to 90 percent of their cost in home value. Before diving into a large project, though, consider incorporating one or two of the amenities buyers might be looking for:

  • A new vanity with vessel sinks and brushed nickel hardware.
  • Dual rain showerheads and hand-held sprayers.
  • Industrial-looking exposed hardware and piping.
  • Motion light sensors.

Remember that home renovations and upgrades can increase the value of your home. Consult with your local independent insurance agent to ensure that your homeowner’s policy provides sufficient coverage.