The Features Buyers Look for In a Home

There’s an old maxim amongst real estate agents, “Buyers are liars.” That is, home buyers sometimes express detailed wants and needs to their agent then end up buying something completely different. It does happen but I mostly put the blame on the agent, they simply didn’t ask the right questions. With this in mind I constantly keep an eye on the many annual home buyer surveys and this is a good one. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) interviews 4,000 people each year. These are people that have either purchased a home recently or plan to purchase one within the next three years. Participants are asked to rank 175 features based on how essential they are to their buying decision.

Let’s start in the kitchen, according to NAHB 86% of home buyers want their kitchen and dining areas to be completely open. White on white is an emerging fashion for the kitchen and baths and buyers prefer stainless steel appliances. Other trends include; engineered quartz counter tops, resilient flooring and wall-mounted sinks & faucets.

The survey also includes information on the location and style that home buyers prefer, and there are generational differences. 64% of all buyers would prefer to live in the suburbs followed by a rural setting at 24%. Millennials are most likely to search for homes in the urban city centers at 23% while only 8% of baby boomers expressed the same interest. As one might expect, younger buyers tend to focus on bedrooms and baths while baby boomers are looking for single level homes or designs with the master bedroom on the ground floor. Here is a list of the top ten most desired features for all buyers which, should you memorize, will make you sound really smart at cocktail parties:

1. Laundry room: 91%

2. Energy Star windows: 89%

3. Patio: 87%

4. Energy Star appliance: 86%

5. Ceiling fan: 85%

6. Garage storage: 85%

7. Exterior lighting: 85%

8. Walk-in pantry: 83%

9. Hardwood flooring: 83%

10. Double kitchen sink: 81%

Ceiling fan? Talk about lack of imagination! Here are a few meaningful features that buyers are also looking for:

· Open floor plan

· Laundry room on the ground floor

· High ceilings

· Two full plus one half bathroom

Just for fun let’s look at the 10 least desirable features on the list:

1. Elevator: 66%

2. Wine cellar: 57%

3. Daycare center: 50%

4. Plant-covered roof (partially or completely): 50%

5. Pet-washing station: 49%

6. Dual toilets in the master bath: 48%

7. Cork flooring: 47%

8. Golf course community: 47%

9. Two-story family room: 47%

10. High-density development: 46%

I think I already have a pet washing station (it’s called a garden hose) and I’m still trying to picture myself sitting next to my wife, each of us luxuriating on our individual toilets…. Even though I do enjoy golf and wine, you’ll find no arguments over the bottom ten from me. In the end these trends will move the market in some ways and it’s important for me to keep in touch with them. I hope you enjoyed the post, please let me know if you did.