Why You May Want to Update (And Even Sell) Your House Now, if You’re a Baby Boomer

If you’re a Baby Boomer, there’s a good chance you own a house that people in younger generations would love for you to sell, but there’s also a good chance that you have no intention of moving.

According to a recent study by Morning Consult, 79% of Boomers polled said they had no need to move, and don’t plan on doing so. Considering many in that generation are living longer, healthier lives, and own their houses outright, they’re quite comfortable staying put.

But if you fit that profile, you may at least want to consider doing some renovations….

The study also revealed that Boomers haven’t updated their houses in many years, and they have very little intention of doing any updates in the coming years. Nearly 70% of them own houses that are over 30 years old, and have never done renovations or replaced major appliances, and they have no plans to make any type of home improvements.

There are plenty of reasons why Boomers might not want to, such as:

  • To avoid the stress. Home renovations are often disruptive to live around, and the process can be less than fun when dealing with contractors and delays.
  • They don’t want to “waste” the money. Despite many Boomers having a lot of equity in their home, and possibly savings, they might not want to spend money unless they feel it’s necessary.
  • They feel their home is fine just the way it is. People get used to living in the condition their house is in, and might even like the look and feel of it and have no desire for a change.
  • They might not realize their house isn’t updated. When people think about a house that hasn’t been updated in decades, images of 1970’s shag carpet and faux-wood paneling might come to mind, but 30 years ago is actually just the 1990’s. Even if a kitchen or bathroom was updated in the early 2000’s, those updates are almost a quarter century old, even if it feels like it wasn’t all that long ago to a homeowner who has lived in the home for decades.

Younger Buyers Would Like You to Update Your Homes

Younger home buyers would appreciate two things from the Baby Boomer generation:

  1. Sell your houses sooner than later.
  2. Update them before putting them on the market.

According to a recent article in REALTOR Magazine, younger buyers (particularly Millennials) are concerned that they’re going to be stuck having to renovate the homes of Boomers… once they finally get the opportunity to buy them, that is.

They’re concerned that they won’t even be able to afford the renovations, considering that house prices are already stretching their budgets as far as they can go, so they’d like Boomers to do it before they sell.

It’s easy to understand why they feel that way, but it’s not really fair to expect Boomers to do anything about it, either. The Baby Boomer generation living in their houses longer may very well be a reason why younger people are lacking options and affordability, but it’s certainly not any one Boomer’s responsibility to solve an overall housing crisis by updating their home and selling it. As the saying goes, it’d be a drop in the bucket.

Everyone has a right to live how they want to live. If you’re a Boomer and you’re happy and comfortable living in your home just the way it is for years to come, then why should you do any updates or renovations to your house?

Well, perhaps because it’s a great opportunity that you might miss out on if you wait.

But You Might Want to Update It for Your Own Benefit

When will the majority of Baby Boomers sell their houses? It’s anyone’s guess, really. Year after year there are predictions that it’s going to happen soon, but it never seems to happen to any large extent.

But one thing’s for sure, at some point, a whole lot of Boomers will be selling their houses at the same time, and the odds are it’ll impact their ability to get their house sold as quickly, or for as much money as one who sold before a huge wave of them decided to sell.

There’s been such a shortage of houses for sale for so long that it’s easy to forget that supply and demand have a huge impact on real estate values. Since there haven’t been enough houses to satisfy the demand, it’s been easy for Boomers to get their houses sold quickly and for top dollar, without having done one bit of updating or renovations.

But if enough Boomers start to sell their houses at the same time, not having an updated house could certainly impact how much you get for your house, how long it’ll take to sell, and even if it’ll sell at all.

With that in mind, here are some reasons to update your home, and ideally sell it sooner than later:

  • An increase in supply of houses for sale could cause home prices to dip, which could impact your equity and ultimately your net worth, which you may be counting on to fund your retirement or living expenses as you age.
  • If you wait and it becomes necessary to update or renovate in order to compete with other sellers, getting the work done could become more difficult if there is more demand in an already strained home improvement industry.
  • Even if you have little or no competition, updated homes sell faster, and typically for more money.

However, before you dive into any updates, consider speaking with a local real estate agent you trust. It may just make more sense for you to sell your house as-is now, than go through the effort and expense of making the improvements.

Depending upon where you live, and the price range your home is in, there’s a good chance you could have a lot of demand, and even multiple offers for your house, without doing an ounce of work, which could save you a lot of money, time, and stress.

A knowledgeable agent can help you assess the current market value of your home, the demand for it, and advice on what (if anything) you should renovate or update before listing your home for sale, whether it’s now, or in the future.

The Takeaway:

The majority of Baby Boomers have no intention of selling their home anytime soon, nor do they plan on doing any updates or renovations to their home before they do eventually sell. On the other hand, younger buyers, particularly Millennials, would not only like them to sell their homes sooner than later, but they’d like them to update their houses as well.

It’s not any one Boomer’s responsibility or concern to address the lack of inventory for younger buyers, or their desire for an updated house. However, updating (and possibly selling) could benefit a Baby Boomer who acts now, rather than waiting for a wave of other sellers in that generation to hit the market, creating more supply and competition.

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