The Renovation Generation Needs Help Updating Their Homes Before They Sell, According to Coldwell Banker Survey

The RealVitalize® program, offered by Coldwell Banker, gives home sellers confidence to make instant upgrades, to maximize their sale price

MADISON, N.J. (July 20, 2021) – Raised on a consistent diet of DIY and designer lifestyle television, paired with endless streams of Instagram-worthy home inspiration, today’s Renovation Generation of home sellers and buyers have varying wants and expectations when selling and buying a home, and there is a significant disconnect among them. Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC, a Realogy (NYSE: RLGY) brand, recently commissioned a survey of over 2,000 U.S. adults, conducted by The Harris Poll, exploring the difficulties of the home selling and buying process as well as the challenges around home renovations during those processes. The survey found that Americans of all generations understand the power of making upgrades to their homes to get more bang for their buck. In fact, 89% who have sold their homes in the past three years reported that they made upgrades before selling.

Challenges come into play around where to come up with the money to renovate and where to focus those dollars. Of Americans that have sold their homes in the past 3 years and made updates before selling, nearly one-third (each) said the whole process was stressful, they struggled to find the money to make updates to their home before it was put on the market, and they had the money to make updates before listing but struggled to understand the best updates to make to get the most ROI.

The RealVitalize program, combined with the expertise of Coldwell Banker affiliated agents, provides a powerful advantage for sellers looking to sell their home faster and for a better price. It also removes the stress of finding funding for projects as money is paid back during closing. The program draws from a pool of expert professionals from Angi, the nation’s largest network of pre-screened, homeowner-rated service professionals. Clients are connected with top-rated local pros to ensure the job gets done right.

Popular projects that home sellers have been enjoying include: painting, curb appeal enhancements, cleaning, renovations, staging and handyman services. Coldwell Banker agents have seen great success for their clients with this program as homes sell both faster and for a better price.

Unsurprisingly, moving into a freshly renovated home is desirable for any aged buyer but one demographic stands apart. Over one-third of Golden Millennial homeowners (aged 35-40) surveyed are more likely to want to move to an upgraded home compared to other generations, particularly Boomers. In true Renovation Generation fashion, 91% of the same homeowners are making updates to their home before selling. While the idea of updating before listing is on track, without the expert guidance of a real estate professional there is often a miss on where to focus dollars and efforts. 40% of Golden Millennials respondents found that after making updates to their homes, additional repairs were still needed after the inspection.

Although the hot real estate market poses both incentives and challenges for sellers, it’s still a sellers’ market with one in five homeowners surveyed (21%) saying that they plan to sell their current home in the next 12 months.

Coldwell Banker Agents + RealVitalize Take the “Ugh” Out of Upgrading

  • Finding the Money: Among those who sold a home in the past 3 years, Gen Zers (aged 18-24) and Millennials (aged 25-40) were more likely to say they struggled to find the money to make updates before putting their home on the market (34% and 31%) compared to Gen Xers and Boomers (14% and 4%).
  • Must-dos according to sellers: Just over one-third (34%) of homeowners say updated interior or exterior paint would be must-dos if they were looking to sell their home. Golden Millennial homeowners are more likely than Young Millennial homeowners (age 25-34) and all other generations of homeowners (Gen Zers, Gen Xers, Boomers) to say kitchen upgrades (46%), carpeting cleaning/installation (40%), landscaping (44%), refinished wood floors (41%), updated lighting fixtures (33%) and updated HVAC/electrical/plumbing (37%) would be a must-do update.
  • But what do buyers really want? Disconnect between sellers’ must-dos and the must-haves of potential homebuyers exist. Despite a shared desire for kitchen upgrades (46% of home owners and 45% of potential homebuyers) other features that would be must-haves for Americans if they were looking to buy a home include bathroom upgrades (44%) and updated HVAC, plumbing and electrical (43%).
  • Expert Help: Among home buyers, Gen Zers (32%) and Millennials (28%) are more likely than Gen Xers (18%) and Boomers (12%) to say the home buying process is intimidating.
    • Among Golden Millennials who sold a home in the last 3 years, nearly half (47%) said having a network of home renovation professionals who they felt confident could help them improve their home value was an important factor in choosing a real estate agent to sell their home.

Moving Up and Moving Out

  • About one quarter (24%) of respondents say they will be looking to purchase a home within the next 12 months. Not surprisingly, Gen Zers and Millennials are more likely than Gen Xers and Boomers to say they will be looking to buy a home within the next 12 months (41% and 40% vs. 23% and 9%, respectively).
  • Sellers are using this opportunity to make their dreams a reality: Top reasons for selling among those who sold a home in the past 3 years or are planning to sell include wanting more space (26%), wanting to upgrade a home (23%) and to be closer to friends or family (20%).
  • Young Luxe: Gen Zers (26%) and Millennials (26%) are more likely than Gen Xers (14%) and Boomers (3%) to say they are selling or planning to sell because they want(ed) amenities (e.g. pool, big back yard, etc.).
  • Older Homes = Not Trendy: Among those who sold a home in the past 3 years or are planning to sell, Gen Zers are more likely than Gen Xers and Boomers to want a newly constructed home (33% vs. 16% and 9%).

What’s Holding Them Back… and Pushing Them Forward

  • Priced Out: Nearly a quarter (24%) of people in the market for buying a home do not have money for a down payment.
  • Moving Stress: Beyond making updates, the actual process of moving is stressful too. Among those who sold a home in the last three years, over 3 in 5 (61%) say when getting their home ready for sale it is stressful to move and store items. Partnering with a participating Coldwell Banker affiliated agent is a game changer for managing this unnecessary stress, because moving expenses can be covered with RealVitalize.
  • Real estate agents can help sellers better manage the process. When it comes to choosing an agent, home sellers’ needs are diverse. Among those who sold their home in the last three years, some of the important factors for choosing a real estate agent to sell their home included:
    • If their agent could help them decide which renovations to make to help sell at or above listing price (28%)
    • If their agent had a network of home renovation professionals who they felt confident could improve the home value (27%)
    • If their agent could educate them on how to get money to renovate their current home, pre-listing (21%)


The renovation generation is moving! @ColdwellBanker’s recent survey found that 89% of recent U.S. home sellers made upgrades before selling, but are they making the right renos? See the findings and connect with a Coldwell Banker agent today to learn more


“One of the biggest challenges in today’s market is increasing the low level of inventory. Coldwell Banker is proud to offer the RealVitalize program, a solution that helps sellers make the needed repairs and upgrades on their home without having to find money to do so. Our agents are ready to help sellers make the proper renovations to achieve the best ROI on their home before listing it on the market.”

  • Ryan Gorman, president and CEO, Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC

“I wasn’t surprised to see that 89% of homeowners are making renovations before they sell. However, in my experience, and this survey backs that up, they often make the wrong updates like choosing unpopular paint colors – all because they update before speaking with a real estate agent. That’s why I couldn’t be more thrilled with this fantastic program. I have used RealVitalize successfully for the past year and have seen firsthand the stellar results. In fact, I’m telling my clients that they can set the bar for prices on their street through this program and with my expertise.”

  • Rose Sklar, agent, Coldwell Banker Realty

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Coldwell Banker between June 22-24, 2021, among 2,037 adults ages 18+, among whom 1335 are homeowners and 432 sold a home in the past 3 years. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be -calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Deanna Gorecki at

About Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC

Powered by its network of over 96,000 affiliated sales professionals in approximately 2,900 offices across 40 countries and territories, the Coldwell Banker® organization is a leading provider of full-service residential and commercial real estate brokerage services. The Coldwell Banker brand prides itself on its history of expertise, honesty and an empowering culture of excellence since its beginnings in 1906. Coldwell Banker Real Estate is committed to providing its network of sales professionals with the tools and insights needed to excel in today’s marketplace and is known for its bold leadership and dedication to driving the industry forward. The brand was named among the 2021 Women’s Choice Award® Most Recommended brands for customer experience and overall quality. Blue is bold and the integrity and values of Coldwell Banker give the Gen Blue network an unbeatable edge. Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Each office is independently owned and operated. To join Coldwell Banker Real Estate and unlock the possibilities of Gen Blue®, please visit

About Realogy Holdings Corp.

Realogy (NYSE: RLGY) is moving the real estate industry to what’s next. As the leading and most integrated provider of U.S. residential real estate services encompassing franchise, brokerage, relocation, and title and settlement businesses as well as a mortgage joint venture, Realogy supported approximately 1.4 million home transactions in 2020. The company’s diverse brand portfolio includes some of the most recognized names in real estate: Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate, CENTURY 21®, Coldwell Banker®, Coldwell Banker Commercial®, Corcoran®, ERA®, and Sotheby’s International Realty®. Using innovative technology, data and marketing products, high-quality lead generation programs, and best-in-class learning and support services, Realogy fuels the productivity of its approximately 191,700 independent sales agents in the U.S. and more than 135,000 independent sales agents in 117 other countries and territories, helping them build stronger businesses and best serve today’s consumers. Recognized for ten consecutive years as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies, Realogy has also been designated a Great Place to Work three years in a row and is one of LinkedIn’s 2021 Top Companies in the U.S.

About RealVitalize®

RealVitalize provides home sellers with home improvement resources prior to or during the home listing period with no up-front costs or interest charges. Realogy partnered with Angi, which offers the nation’s largest network of pre-screened, homeowner-rated home service professionals. The RealVitalize program is offered nationally across the United States, but is not available in all states and available only at participating offices. Results not guaranteed.

Senior Manager, Public Relations & Giving for Coldwell Banker. Grew up in Sarasota and attended college at Western Carolina University. Athena wanted to wake up in that city that doesn’t sleep so headed to Madison Avenue to start her marketing career. She has been with this awesome brand for more than 15 years and can be found generating buzz about CB in every way possible. Athena helps to grow the brand’s position as the most storied real estate company within the industry and has led many high-profile endeavors; she was at the forefront of the brand’s pioneering smart home campaign, raised $6 million in two years to build 130 Habitat for Humanity homes, and led the Homes for Dogs program in partnership with that resulted in tens-of-thousands of dogs finding their furever home. She currently leads the CB Supports St. Jude program, which encourages the Coldwell Banker network’s 96,000+ real estate agents to make donations to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital for every real estate transaction they represent. In her spare time, you can find her either digging up a new area in her yard for another flower bed or planning her next travel adventure. She's the proud mom of three cats Jolene, Ziggy and Lucy.

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