HOUSING HABITS BY GENERATION

A recent study by the National Association of REALTORS® has implications for you, especially if you’re thinking about selling your house, condo or townhouse.

NAR looked at generational differences among home buyers and home sellers in its July 2013 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends.

At first glance, the data seem geared to real estate professionals. But you, too, can glean some insight, which could be especially valuable as you prepare to put your house on the market.

For example, if you’ve been in your house for decades, odds are that that your buyer will be younger than you are. And such buyers have certain habits and expectations that you can learn about in the study.

The knowledge can also help you to better partner with your real estate practitioner and work with him or her to be certain that your home’s most desirable features are marketed in a way that reaches the widest pool of buyers.

Here are five key points you can take from the NAR study.

1. Timeline. How long it takes to sell a house depends on a host of issues specific to your market. But as you start planning your own move, the study gives you a feel for how much time it could require to sell your property.

One chart,  “Number of Weeks Recently Sold Home Was on the Market,” shows that on the low end of the timeframe, houses spent less than one week on the market for 4% of all sellers. At the longer end, 9% of sellers reported that their house was on the market for 53 weeks or more.

Use the figures as a guide and prepare your moving timeline accordingly.

2. Online  marketing strategy. When you’re interviewing practitioners, ask them how and where they’ll be marketing your property, keeping in mind just how buyers conduct home searches these days.

For instance, 90% of all buyers looked to the Internet for information during their home search.  And among those aged 32 and younger and those aged 33 to 47, that figure was 96%.

3. Green features. Increasingly, buyers are paying attention to green features and home operating costs.

As you prepare your house for sale and make upgrades, keep in mind that 39% of all buyers said  heating and cooling costs were very important to them and that 24 percent looked at energy efficient appliances and lighting.

So upgrades that reduce buyers’ monthly bills could help your house to stand out. If you’ve already made environmentally friendly changes, be certain that your marketing materials reflect those features and show the cost savings that the strategies yield.

4. Beyond the yard. Talk with your real estate practitioner about the conveniences beyond the confines of the house.

Among the features buyers value include access to parks and recreation, convenience to healthcare facilities,  green and environmentally-friendly community features, and access to public transportation and the airport.

Since 43% those aged 32 and younger cited commuting costs as very important to them, any nearby train stations,  subway stops, and bus routes would be terrific benefits to promote.

5. Incentives. If you’re willing to offer incentives to push buyers off the fence, consider some of the more popular enticements, including home warranty policies, assistance with closing costs and credit toward remodeling or repairs.

And though the survey was based on the U.S. real estate market, much of the insight likely applies to Canadian buyers too, particularly when you’re chasing after younger buyers.

After all, buyers in the  Gen Y generation (those born between 1980 and 2000) and the Gen X generation (those born between 1965 and 1979) in both the U.S. and Canada likely share some similar characteristics, such as a desire to save on energy bills and easy access to transportation and entertainment.  In addition, you can count on all of them to look to the Internet for information during their property searches. Talk to your real estate practitioner about just how the insight applies to the marketing of your Canadian home.

See the NAR study at www.realtor.org/sites/default/files/2013-nar-home-buyer-seller-generational-trends-2013-07-08.pdf.

Reprinted from the August 2013 SRES(R) Newsletter

9 Unexpected Energy (and Money) Savers

Here are a few surprising and simple ways to cut your energy bill this season.


Put lamps in the corners: Did you know you can switch to a lower wattage bulb in a lamp or lower its dimmer switch and not lose a noticeable amount of light? It’s all about placement. When a lamp is placed in a corner, the light reflects off the adjoining walls, which makes the room lighter and brighter.

Switch to a laptop: If you’re reading this article on a laptop, you’re using 1/3 less energy than if you’re reading this on a desktop.

Choose an LCD TV: If you’re among those considering a flat-screen upgrade from your conventional, CRT TV, choose an LCD screen for the biggest energy save.

Give your water heater a blanket: Just like you pile on extra layers in the winter, your hot water heater can use some extra insulation too. A fiberglass insulation blanket is a simple addition that can cut heat loss and save 4% to 9% on the average water-heating bill.

Turn off the burner before you’re done cooking: When you turn off an electric burner, it doesn’t cool off immediately. Use that to your advantage by turning it off early and using the residual heat to finish up your dish.

Add motion sensors: You might be diligent about shutting off unnecessary lights, but your kids? Not so much. Adding motion sensors to playrooms and bedrooms cost only $15 to $50 per light, and ensures you don’t pay for energy that you’re not using.

Spin laundry faster: The faster your washing machine can spin excess water out of your laundry, the less you’ll need to use your dryer. Many newer washers spin clothes so effectively, they cut drying time and energy consumption in half—which results in an equal drop in your dryer’s energy bill.

Use an ice tray: Stop using your automatic icemaker. It increases your fridge’s energy consumption by 14% to 20%. Ice trays, on the other hand, don’t increase your energy costs one iota.

Use the dishwasher: If you think doing your dishes by hand is greener than powering up the dishwasher, you’re wrong. Dishwashers use about 1/3 as much hot water and relieve that much strain from your energy-taxing water heater. Added bonus: you don’t have to wash any dishes.

“Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.”