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Keep Young Buyers in Mind When Selling Your Home

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Tips for making your home attractive to first-time and young home buyers

In recent years, mistrust of the housing market and difficulty finding secure employment caused many young families and new college graduates to delay purchasing a first home.

Now that the economy is recovering and the housing market is on a steady upswing, a pool of young buyers rushing back into the market has been steadily growing for the first time in five years.

"First-time home buyers represented the fastest growing segment of home purchasers for January and February, according to the latest Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance HousingPulse Tracking Survey," says Realtor magazine.

The survey also shows that traffic of first-time home buyers was at its four-year high in February. In order to take advantage of this demographic, a seller needs to learn the best ways to attract young buyers to view the home and secure a sale.

It is important to consider the perspectives of young buyers from the onset of the selling process when preparing information for your real estate agent or posting information about your home online.

"Your marketing materials should mention everything that appeals to young couples and families such as the location near commuter routes or public transportation, swimming pools, tennis courts, a gym, or nearby shops and restaurants," says Realtor Lane Tharp of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dunwoody, Georgia.

It is important to ensure that your home is in the best condition possible by attending to any upkeep issues that have been neglected over the years. First-time home buyers don't have experience with repairs or remodeling, so they typically place a high value on the move-in condition of a home. Furthermore, many first-time home buyers need to make a large down payment to secure a good mortgage, so they won't have a lot of funds left over for immediate repairs.

"First-time buyers are skeptical of buying homes that need improvement. Sellers certainly don't need to remodel the kitchen, but they want to make sure that their home showcases very well," says Eric Mangan from Forsalebyowner.com.

If you are on a tight budget or schedule and cannot feasibly complete all major repairs before listing your home, providing buyers with information about the cost of doing so will help them see the home's potential.

"Sellers can pay for simple drawings that show some renovation options that would work well with the home's configuration and its lot," says Michele Lerner of Bankrate.com.

After helping buyers envision the possibilities, seal the deal by making sure they know that they can pay for renovations with a mortgage that includes money for the options they saw in the drawings.

"Younger buyers who are looking at homes that are 20 or 30 years old are likely to look at the kitchen and baths and want to renovate," says Scott Lacey of Weichert Financial Services in North Providence, Rhode Island. "A seller can provide information about an FHA 203(k) loan with their marketing materials to show buyers that they can wrap renovation costs into their mortgage."

Providing the buyer with warranties can help them feel confident that they won't face large costs right after moving in. Lerner suggests purchasing warranties for heating and cooling systems as well as for plumbing and electrical.

"Most home warranties are available as one-year policies and provide coverage while the property is on the market and after the closing," she says.

Amy Hoak of the Wall Street Journal cautions sellers not to immediately discount buyers who start negotiations with ridiculously low offers. "Buyers know prices have fallen, so they're being aggressive in their offers—sometimes extremely aggressive," she says. "But even if they come in with a shocking lowball offer, don't scoff at it."

If you keep these tips in mind, you will hopefully have young buyers knocking on your door in no time.

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