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What Do Today’s Home Buyers Want Most in A Home?
After being Frederick Md Real Estate agents for over 28 years, we’ve worked with hundreds of home buyers and home sellers. We’ve heard over and over, “kitchen’s and bathrooms sell homes.” In our experience it’s true, however, there are several items today’s buyers think are important to have in a home. Here’s my home buyers top 10 wish list for 2021:
Home Buyers Top Ten Wish List 2021:
🍽️Kitchens and Baths Sell Homes🛀🏾
1. Updated Kitchen. The kitchen has changed tremendously over the last few decades. In today’s home it is the center of living, where family and friends gather for eating and socializing. As open floor plans have become common in all types of home styles, the kitchen is usually connected to most of the living spaces.
The best investment a home seller can make is to update the kitchen. The cost of updating a kitchen for a buyer is often a daunting expense and one they’d rather not deal with. The majority of home buyers want a home that is move-in ready. If they see a kitchen with too much work involved to update it, unless there is some other compelling reason why they are in love with the home, they’ll usually move on.
How much is “too much work”? That’s a good question, and it can only be answered by taking stock of what the “usual” kitchen in your area and price range looks like. Do some research on kitchen trends in your market. Consulting a local real estate professional is a good first step, as they are in the market every day, seeing what homes in your market look like.
The best recommendation for homeowners is to make updates and maintain and repair their home throughout the time they own it. Waiting until you decide to sell the home can mean a shock to your wallet when you have a lot of updating in front of you at once. Similarly, deferred maintenance often leads to chronic problems that are more expensive to fix in the end.
2. Bathrooms. The next item on a home buyers list is the bathrooms. Naturally, this is usually the second most expensive room in the house to update. A master bath that evokes a modern spa retreat is a sought-after feature. (After the year we’ve all had, many people are rethinking their private spaces, looking for more Zen at home.)
Although you can’t hide major imperfections in a bathroom, staging can do wonders in this area. Painting the bathroom in a serene color, adding plush towels and a stylish decorator soap dispenser set can change the entire feel of a bathroom. There are also some clever inexpensive ways you can update a bathroom, like painting the trim on a dated shower, or updating the lighting or fixtures.
3. A Home Office. Climbing in importance to the top of the wish list is a dedicated home office. With the Pandemic in 2020, working at home has become a priority for many people. Workers and companies are finding that in many cases, productivity is up when people work at home. (They are also finding that the need for less office space is saving money on their bottom line!)
Technology has made it possible if not seamless for many to work from a home office.
Local builders are seeing the increase in demand for floor plans that have a home office included. The main reason: working and schooling from home.
If your home doesn’t have a dedicated office space, it really adds to the appeal just to carve out office space in a kitchen or family room. One thing to be careful about is NOT to sacrifice bedrooms for a home office if it means you have fewer bedrooms that what is standard for homes in the same price range and area.
4. Number of bedrooms. I recently viewed a large (5000+ square foot home) on 2 acres in an estate neighborhood. The home had only 3 bedrooms in a neighborhood where the comparable homes have 4 or 5 bedrooms. This what we call a “Fatal Flaw“. The original homeowners designed and built the home according to their needs and wants, not thinking of the resale. The home had been on the market for over 2 years. The only remedy is price in that instance.
Today’s homeowners have higher expectations than their parents or grandparents did. Today’s families typically require that every child have their own bedroom, and sometimes their own bathroom. If you have rooms that you have repurposed for other uses, make sure you convert them back to bedrooms before you put your home on the market.
Most of the time people are looking for standard bedrooms, not special purpose rooms, or bonus rooms like hobby or craft rooms. Those are fine if they don’t come at the cost of a bedroom.
💡Home Energy Efficiency
5. Energy efficiency is high on a home buyers’ wish list in 2021. Buyers are more aware of and interested in green innovations, both for the environment and for cost saving. The top of the list of green features are energy-efficient appliances and high-efficiency insulation and windows.
There are many ways to increase the energy efficiency of your home, from simple additions like a programmable thermostat, or replacing your lighting with energy saving LED lighting fixtures.
The list of smart home products that are designed to save energy as well as time is growing rapidly. Smart outlets can reduce that waste, by allowing a plugged-in device to use electricity only when it needs it.
Wi-Fi-enabled ceiling fans can reduce your heating and cooling costs. They link up to smart thermostats and automatically adjust their speed and direction based on the ambient temperature of the room.
Wi-fi enabled light fixtures and are a great way to save energy when you aren’t even home.
🛍Another Must Have: Storage
6. Storage. People have stuff. Stuff needs space. Most buyers tour a home looking at the overall storage possibilities.
In most homes, storage space is something that cannot be changed easily…if you don’t have a linen closet, it might be difficult or even impossible to carve one out. It is often necessary to come up with clever storage solutions with what you have.
If you don’t have a huge amount of storage in your home, make sure you make the most of what you have. Pay attention to your storage spaces and rooms in your staging. Cull the closets to show as much room available as possible.
If your bedrooms are smallish, make sure you maximize the space. De-clutter and minimize furniture.
Try to use furniture that is scaled correctly for the space. Oversized seating is often comfy, but it is not the best for accentuating spaciousness of a room.
This is just one reason why staging is important. It shows your home in the best possible way. Look at it this way, you’re going to be moving soon anyway…why not pack up a good amount of your stuff now?
7. An Organized Garage. One item that is a moving up the home buyers top 10 wish list is a functional garage. Today’s families appreciate a space large enough to fit 2 vehicles and offer storage space for their many activities. Having an organized storage system in the garage is a big plus for a home seller, especially if your garage is not large.
Organizing systems for the garage have become popular, and you can find them in all the big home improvement stores, as well as online. They are not that expensive, as most garages are fairly uniform in size and construction. The added benefit of organizing is the opportunity to declutter and clean.
Here are some great ideas for organizing and primping up the garage from Realtor.com.
🏞 Outdoor Living Spaces Add Value
8. Outdoor Living Spaces.
Today’s homeowners want to have all the functionality in a home, including the outside of the home. No matter the size of the home or yard, outdoor living spaces add value.
Outdoor living rooms can be found in a deck or patio, or even in a side-yard. Creativity and some good old-fashioned labor can produce attractive outdoor spaces that add to the livability of any home. Add some inviting staging touches and you can add a lot of charm and appeal.
Landscaping can do a lot to improve the oustide livability of your home. If you add landscaping, including hardscaping, make sure it is in keeping with your home’s style and size. We’ve seen many homeowners overdo it and end up not getting a good return on their investment.
🧰Updated Fixtures Make a Big Impact
9. Upgraded Lighting Fixtures and Ceiling Fans. The last thing you want is outdated 90’s brass fixtures and trims. Outdated fixtures suggest to buyers that the rest of your home is outdated and not functioning as well as it should.
Sometimes the most obvious things can get overlooked. Lighting and ceiling fans are so easy to replace with modern, design-friendly fixtures, for a very reasonable cost. Trends change. Today’s brass has a brushed gold finish. Stainless steel is here to stay, but today’s stainless steel has more matte finish than the shine of the last decade.
🧹Cleanliness is Paramount
10. Clean and Bright. You can overcome many flaws in your home by keeping it clean, uncluttered, bright and comfortable. Cleaning a home is the best return on investment because elbow grease is generally free! Home buyers often cannot see clearly when they are making their way through dirty, cluttered spaces. They cannot “see” themselves and their belongings in spaces that are dirty, dingy and not well-lit.
Get rid of heavy drapes in favor of light window treatments. Let the natural light in as much as you can. Of course, that means you’ll have to have a clean home. Don’t forget the smells…many homebuyers are turned off to an off-putting smell.
Even if you don’t need to replace them, make sure you use the brightest bulbs possible. Lighting makes a huge difference and is one of those details that gives you the most bang for your buck. Of course,
In my article 15 Staging Rules, learn the principals behind the steps you can take to stage your home for a quicker sale.
Easy Ways to Increase Your Home’s Appeal, don’t forget the aesthetics of your home, the “feels” that speak to potential buyers.
Decorating Trends for Homeowners 2021 because it’s always a good idea to have a fresh look. Outdated looks can suggest that the home itself is outdated.
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