12 Things Homebuyers Want in their Homes
If you are planning on selling your home, you need to keep up with what today's home buyer really wants. Here's a look at 12 things home buyers want in their homes (hint: It's not a swimming pool).
Fewer Square Feet
Bigger isn’t better. Today’s home buyer is looking for a smaller home. The U.S. Census Bureau notes that the median size of a new single-family home sold in 2017 was 2,457-square-feet—that’s down from its peak at 2,689-square-feet in 2015. Buyers are also buying smaller homes as a result of higher home prices and tightening affordability, according to the National Association of Home Builders.
Updated Kitchen and Bathrooms
Updated kitchens and bathrooms still reign supreme. Millennials are one of the largest groups of home buyers today, and “The primary reason younger buyers seek updated kitchens and baths is because they have limited budgets,” Jack Curtis, a Keller Williams real estate agent told Bankrate. “Most of their savings will go toward the down payment and furnishings. Kitchens and bathrooms are also the most expensive parts of a home to update, and young homeowners cannot afford to sink a lot of money into those areas.”
A Great Backyard
If you want to appeal to today’s home buyer, spruce up your outdoor living space, including your deck or patio. “When most buyers see a house with a really nice backyard, they start to envision themselves sitting outdoors with friends having drinks,” Mike McGrew, former treasurer of the National Association of Realtors and CEO of McGrew Real Estate told Kiplinger.
Show off your great outdoor space and landscaping features with outdoor lighting. Exterior lighting is the second-most wanted outdoor feature (patio was first), according to the National Association of Home Builders. Pathway lights, spotlights and motion lights not only add ambiance, they also act as added security.
When looking for a house, today’s home buyers are not only looking for updated kitchens and bathrooms—they also want a laundry room. The National Association of Home Builders notes it’s one of the today’s most wanted home features. “Having a separate room [to use for things such as folding or ironing clothes] helps to keep the mess out of your living space,” Paul Sullivan, founder and president of the Sullivan Company, a remodeling and custom-building firm, told Kiplinger.
With more people working from home, a dedicated work space is a must-have for many home buyers. “Homes that have a dedicated workspace are attractive to millennial home buyers because they’re able to envision themselves working from the comfort of their home,” notes the Rochester Real Estate Blog.
Garage Storage Space
If you’re a seller, having storage space in your garage to cut down on clutter could help your bottom line, according to a Kiplinger report. “Unlike an attic or a backyard shed, the garage is accessible—generally, just a few steps away from the rest of the house—making it easier to transport items such as tools, patio chairs or boxes to and from other parts of the house,” the report says.
Energy Saving Features
Home buyers are looking for energy-saving features, including Energy Star-certified appliances and windows, according to the National Association of Home Builders. In fact, the association reports that on average, home buyers are willing to pay an additional $8,728 upfront on a home in order to save $1,000 a year in utility bills.
Air conditioning is a high priority for today’s home buyer, according to Zillow. “Fortunately, air conditioning is a standard amenity in most U.S. homes, but for markets where it isn’t as common, such as in the West—which is experiencing a rising number of plus-65-degree days—air conditioning is increasingly sought by home buyers of all types and ages,” Zillow says.
Carpet is out and hardwood flooring is in for today’s home buyers. Kiplinger notes 83 percent of today’s home buyers want this feature in their house. If you’re a seller on a budget and looking to upgrade your flooring before listing your home, consider engineered wood which is about 15 percent cheaper than hardwood.
Location, Location, Location
It’s still all about location. The National Association of Home Builders says suburbs are the most desirable location for buyers (64 percent), followed by a rural setting (24 percent) and the central city (11 percent).
It may not be a top demand, but home buyers are looking for more storage space, including a walk-in closet. “The master closet should be large and memorable,” Deryl Patterson, president of Housing Design Matters, told participants at the 2019 International Builders’ Show.