The housing market is much like any other market. Styles come and go. New trends emerge while others disappear. And home buyers’ preferences change over time. There are certain home features that today’s home buyer wants and desires, and is even willing to pay extra to acquire. In this list, you will find the top five features prospective home buyers want while searching for a home.
1. OPEN FLOOR PLAN
The days of compartmentalized homes are over. The open floor plan design has become a modern staple in the world of real estate. In fact, most newly constructed homes are being built with open concept floor plans.
We are experiencing a shift in the way people think about their homes. Today’s home buyers desire a floor plan that flows seamlessly from one room to another and creates a more spacious feel. Not to mention, it promotes the spread of natural light. This shift in consciousness is leading home buyers to take the custom home route instead of purchasing an existing home.
Home buyers want kitchens that are open to dining rooms and living rooms. They don’t want to feel like they’re going from one room to another while walking through their house. Buyers want fluidity.
With no walls between rooms on the main level, the ideal open floor plan is great for entertaining large groups. An open concept floor plan allows homeowners the ability to interact and socialize with their guests from a completely different room.
Furthermore, an open floor plan is an extremely popular home feature, especially for families. Eat-in kitchens create a space where all members of the family can enjoy each other’s company in the morning before school and work, and in the evening for dinner. For families with younger children, an open floor plan allows parents to keep an eye on their children, even if they’re in a different area of the home. The open floor plan creates a more open, yet inviting space.
2. UPDATED KITCHEN AND BATH
Today’s home buyers don’t want to do much work on a home; instead, they want it already done for them. They are looking for a home in move-in condition. Complete with updated appliances, flooring, baths, kitchens, lighting.
In fact, in the current low-interest environment, buyers would rather pay a premium for an updated, remodeled home than pay for maintenance and out-of-pocket expenses. Furthermore, upgrades to kitchens and bathrooms are the easiest ways to increase the value of a home. Most people who have an interest in the real estate market have at one point or another heard that kitchens and baths are what sell homes. In today’s market, home buyers are less than interested in having to remodel a kitchen or don’t have the money to do so. According to a survey conducted by Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc., 74 percent of home buyers indicated they’d be more likely to purchase a home with an updated kitchen.
Although it’s very easy to spend thousands of dollars on a kitchen remodel, it isn’t always necessary. There are many ways to update a kitchen without completely breaking the bank. Low cost kitchen updates may include: a fresh coat of paint, new light fixtures, new plumbing fixtures, new kitchen cabinet hardware, re-stained or finished kitchen cabinets, and more. Adding features like granite or quartz countertops, or installing hardwood flooring can work wonders. Additionally, 75 percent of buyers want new appliances in the kitchen, and large center islands are also becoming exceptionally popular as this feature eliminates the need for a formal dining room. Keeping with the trends and keeping your kitchen updated is an easy way to impress home buyers.
Similar to the kitchen, bathrooms are also a key factor home buyers look at. It can be as easy as adding a little space for a double vanity, framing a better mirror, or updating the lighting. Having a dirty or outdated bathroom can easy scare potential home buyers away.
3. OUTDOOR LIVING SPACES
The exterior of a house can be just as important as the interior. Today’s home buyers are looking for ways to augment the living space of a home without the hassle of having to make time consuming and expensive indoor renovations. In fact, adding a patio to a home or remodeling an existing patio can increase the value of a home, and provide homeowners with a return on investment of between 100-500 percent. Furthermore, outdoor lighting boosts a home’s curb appeal, making it stand out from other homes in the neighborhood. Approximately 92 percent of home buyers want exterior lighting as it can brighten the entire lawn and showcase the exterior ornaments of a home.
Other outdoor home features today’s home buyers desire include attached decks and fenced yards. Homeowners should also pay attention to landscaping, hardscaping, pools, fire pits, balconies, gardens, and more when preparing to sell their home.
Today, more and more millennials are coming of home buying age. Millennials typically value the environment. Therefore, eco-friendly features in a home are a unique preference beginning to affect real estate trends.
Buyers are looking for environmentally-friendly and sustainable materials. Furthermore, high-efficiency mechanicals, insulation, zero VOC paint, natural hardwood floors, solar panels, and low-E windows are also huge pluses.
The Home Energy Rating System (also known as a HERS Score) is an industry standard that rates the energy efficiency of a home—the lower the score, the better the home is at being energy efficient. HERS’ site states that a typical new home is 30 percent more energy efficient than a typical resale house, showing the importance of eco-friendly features in today’s millennial age.
However, energy efficiency doesn’t merely satisfy an environment-loving buyer’s conscious; it also satisfies a buyer’s wallet. Energy efficiency has the added benefit of compounding savings over time.
Today’s buyers are interested in the amount of money they will save on energy bills throughout their time living in the home. According to Energy Star, “homeowners can save an average of 15% on heating and cooling costs (or an average of 11% on total energy costs) by air sealing their homes and adding insulation in attics, floors over crawl spaces, and accessible basement rim joists.” In conclusion, energy efficient amenities are critical features to highlight when selling a home to a prospective buyer.
Home buyers want houses close to the town in areas near transit, retail, parks, and trails. They prefer to not spend any unnecessary gas money or waste time sitting in traffic. In this way, a home in a walkable location, allowing buyers to avoid any hassle of a car, is desirable. Buyers like the idea of walking or biking to nearby locations and familiarizing themselves with the neighborhood on the ground.
Specializing in luxury properties and condominiums, John T. Wanninger is a professional in Minnesota real estate, notably his dealings with Edina real estate. Wanninger leads the JTW Partners group at Lakes Sotheby’s International Realty.
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