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Skinny jeans, boy-cut hair and Nixon era-style glasses are all the rage in 2018. But when you look at homes for sale in  Front Range cities, it’s very clear styles morph over the years, and age does play a factor when determining a home style in our changing times. When it comes to purchasing or selling a home, there are trends that are lasting, and some that need to go – like paneling. With the market shift occurring nationwide, here are some tricks of the trade to realize a return on investment for a home, or to assist in deciding when to walk away from a purchase.

1. Tech is here to stay

With technology advancing (or encroaching) daily, the modern home is adapting to the change. Commonly seen are charging outlets, off-site security monitoring, and even tank-less water heaters which monitor the time of day hot water is most needed. Increasingly, phone app-style systems, temperature control and child safety are expanding and often demanded by home buyers. Even with an older home, many of these tech boosts are easily applied and not severely expensive or difficult to install. New smart home technologies include kitchen appliance charging devices, adaptable Artificial Intelligence which monitors sleep habits, and even fitness trackers to help with that stubborn belly fat! And it isn’t just millennials demanding new and smarter homes. Gen Z is keeping up with the trends and, as they age, their quest for comfort and modernity continues to expand as well.

2. Bigger is not better -for some

Despite the constant blather from the media that millenials do not wish to purchase real estate, this does not comport with the statistics which reveal that this age range (18-35) continues to be the largest group seeking homes in America. They want ease, accessibility and value. What they don’t want, for the most part, are the sprawling homes with acreage that require vast maintenance. Condominium sales continue to rise, as do smaller homes -even tiny homes. This trend also reflects truly on older generations, downsizing as they age. The McMansion style of the early 2000’s is on the downturn. The one exception are the Gen X buyers with children who want the space and privacy. There is still a market for both styles of homes. This article explains the economic trends regarding these types of purchases.

3. Down with Brown

Thank the good Lord for this one! Decor styles are the easiest to change. After all, a bedroom can be remodeled in a day with a coat of paint and some new curtains. The days of brown neutrals is, thankfully, coming to a close. While taupes and tones vary, color has made a comeback. This does NOT mean fuschia nor electric orange. But moody, emotion inspiring blues, greens and, even lavender, are showcasing in the model homes across the nation. Do not underestimate the power of white. The ultimate neutral, white tones create a crisp, clean palette and give a potential buyer the ability to envision their own style upon a home.

4. Up with Round and Natural Elements

Decor trends typically last for many years. Ones that are, certainly, not going away are those of embedding natural elements – wood plank backboards in bedrooms, stacked stone pillars, metallic accents such as copper sinks or woven textiles throughout the home spaced for effective mood, inspiring spaces. Note that lighting fixtures have come a long way. Newer spherical chandeliers and LED lighting transform a bleak corner into a showcase of personality. For more ideas regarding bringing natural elements into the home this Fresh Home article gives some fantastic suggestions.  This second article on ideas for lighting elements shows how a simple change transforms a home from “vanilla” to “voila”!

5. Chunk the Junk

Getting rid of “stuff” seems an obvious suggestion,  and one that not only showcases a home when listed, but also creates a de-cluttered atmosphere that can really make a difference to both buyer and seller. Agents are all to aware that personal items are important to a seller. But to a buyer looking at a home filled with “stuff”, this clutter pulls focus from the size and style of a home and can make it look smaller and often dirty. The fake flowers, figurines and “chatchkas” can junk up the largest room. De-cluttering is difficult, but necessary in the return of investment of any home.

6. Green is Gold

To round out the list of trends that will last the test of time, there is nothing more important than elements combining safety and security for the house itself. Green Energy and eco-friendly trendsand updates can not only improve the market value of a home, but significantly improve the bottom line on a resale or those monthly energy bills. And they don’t have to be a drain on the pocketbook either. Builders are increasingly implementing such methods as radiant barriers in the attic, crawl space encapsulation preventing water or mold damage, and foam insulation. While these aspects are more expensive than others, the average seller can easily blow extra insulation into the attic, install a moisture barrier in the crawl space and make sure that ventilation throughout the home is adequate.  Adding french drains to homes on elevation to prevent water damage is critical and not expensive.  And there are still government programs adding solar energy to a home for a low-lease cost instead of purchasing the system, which significantly impacts the monthly cost for energy in the home. Even simple steps like green air-filters make a good impression on those buyers. Green Energy and cost saving trends are here to stay.

No one has a crystal ball regarding the upcoming economic or decor trends. But as styles change, so do trends. These suggestions will propel even the home with paneling into a more sophisticated home suitable for today’s purchasers. The future looks bright for all elements of Real Estate. And adding that spherical chandelier may be the difference in a quick sale versus one that sits for weeks.