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Presale Renovations for Aging in Place: Preparing Homes for the Golden Years

June 05 2023

moving matureAs the sun sets on the era of sprawling multi-level houses and lawn-centric landscapes, a new dawn is emerging in the real estate market, being shaped by Baby Boomers who want to age in place.

Every day, 10,000 Americans turn 65, and their impact on your real estate market is massive.

Baby Boomers now make up 39% of home buyers – the most of all generations – an increase from 29% last year, according to the National Association of Realtors. As the leading generation purchasing homes in 2023, they're redefining what it means to age gracefully, and their vision doesn't involve retirement homes.

Instead, Boomers are choosing to spend their golden years in the comfort of their own homes. This shift towards "aging in place" is not just changing how homes are designed and renovated, but also significantly influencing the dynamics of the real estate industry.

Hot market to target for presale renovations

Boomers' needs and preferences are increasingly dictating the trajectory of the housing market with growing demand for homes that allow aging in place. This movement means adapting homes to the evolving needs of homeowners as they age, ensuring they can live safely, independently, and comfortably in their homes for as long as possible.

For real estate agents, marketing homes for sale that address buyers looking for their "last home" for their golden years presents a golden opportunity. A presale renovation just might be the best way your sellers can maximize the value of their home before you list it for them on the market.

According to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, in 2035, one in five people will be over 65 years old, and an overwhelming majority — 90 percent — plan to remain in their homes as they age, according to AARP.

Presale renovations targeting the needs of aging in place are much more than strategic modifications; they're a fundamental shift in how we envision the concept of home. As the market transitions to accommodate this demographic's changing needs better, a presale renovation may be the best way to unlock a wealth of value and benefits.

A home renovated to help a buyer age in place not only enhances the home's functionality, safety, and convenience, but also significantly boosts the market appeal to today’s biggest group of buyers.

As this generation seeks residences that promise independence and comfort in their later years, homes that embody these principles will command higher prices and sell more swiftly. Thus, presale renovations can be a strategic investment that cultivates desirable properties that cater to the greatest number of current homebuyers.

Home features for aging in place

What home renovations and features could make a property more appealing to Boomers looking for their last home?

There are a myriad of possibilities. Remember that improvements aren't simply about catering to the basic needs of mobility or accessibility; they also reflect a deep understanding and appreciation of a life stage that prioritizes safety, comfort, ease, and a sense of independence.

Here are seven examples of improvements and features that echo these principles and how they translate into the tangible aspects of a home ready for the golden years:

  1. Main floor primary bedroom and a full bath on the main floor: Provides convenience for people who dislike climbing stairs. A study of new homes by Frank Betz Associates found a rise in the popularity of main-floor primary bedrooms. Most of the top 100 best-selling plans (83%) had primary bedrooms on the main floor. Of the top 20 best-selling designs, 17 featured the primary bedroom on the main floor. Research by the National Association of Home Builders also shows a rise in the popularity of main-floor primary bedrooms, especially among the 55+ demographic.

  2. Walk-in Showers with Safety Features: Improves safety and accessibility for older adults and individuals with mobility issues. An "Aging-in-Place" Report by HomeAdvisor shows bathroom remodels, mainly walk-in showers, are the most popular aging-in-place project.

  3. Accessible Kitchen Design: Lowered countertops and pull-out shelving makes the kitchen more functional and accessible for those with limited mobility. According to a study by AARP, 76% of people aged 50+ want to remain in their homes, stressing the need for accessible kitchens.

  4. Wider Doorways and Hallways: Accommodates wheelchairs and walkers, making homes more accessible for aging adults. A report from Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies, wider doors, and hallways are among the top home modifications for aging in place.

  5. Smart Home Technology: Boomers are more tech-savvy than you think. Smart home tech offers convenience and comfort and enhances security, essential for aging adults living alone. According to a study by the Consumer Technology Association, more older adults are adopting smart home technology, with safety and security as the primary drivers.

  6. Low-Maintenance Landscaping: Reduces physical demand and time spent on outdoor upkeep. A Home Design Trends Survey by the American Institute of Architects points to the growing demand for low-maintenance exteriors and outdoor living spaces.

  7. Non-Slip Flooring: Reduces the risk of slips and falls, one of the most common accidents among older adults. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one in four Americans aged 65 and older falls annually. These 36 million falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries in older adults.

As Baby Boomers continue to lead the home-buying market, the opportunities for presale renovations to create homes ideal for aging in place are expanding rapidly. Leveraging these trends allows real estate agents to help sellers unlock more wealth and helps build trust and rapport with a demographic likely to share their success stories with families and friends.

By tapping into the growing trend of aging in place, agents can deliver to sellers new options to maximize their home's sales price, which will also result in appealing to more buyers. You can help lead this change by ensuring you have a presale renovation discussion with every seller. You might discover your seller's best strategy is to target Boomers entering their golden years.

Jessica Morrow, a seasoned real estate veteran, is Head of Operations for Revive. Revive's mission is to guide home sellers through pre-sale renovations without upfront costs. Working with Revive, home sellers gain an average of $186,000 in additional profit when selling their homes.