Top Home Features That Today’s Home Buyers Want

Kyle Hiscock

Kyle Hiscock | Greater Rochester NY Real Estate | Pittsford NY Realtor at RE/MAX Realty Group

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Top Home Features That Today's Home Buyers Want

Top Home Features That Today’s Home Buyers Want

One of the most rewarding aspects of owning a home is the ability to add or remove home features through home improvement projects or remodeling projects.  There are many home improvement projects that can have a positive impact on a homes value as well as many home improvement projects that should be avoided due to the possibility of negatively impacting the homes value or the homes desirability.

There are certain home features that today’s home buyer wants and is willing to pay top dollar to obtain.  Even though some home buyers will pay top dollar for certain home features, one of the biggest challenges that is faced when selling a home is dealing with unrealistic home buyers.  Some home buyers that are in the market to purchase a home have a laundry list of home features they want in their home but are not willing to pay for them.  This can obviously be very frustrating for home owners.

A homeowner who knows what home features today’s home buyers want will put themselves in a much better position when it comes time to complete their next home improvement or remodeling project.  By knowing what today’s home buyer is looking for when it comes to home features can save a lot of valuable time on the open real estate market and can also lead to a higher sale price.

So, what are some of the top home features that today’s home buyers want in a home?  This article will analyze the top home features that buyers are looking for in their new home as well as provide some excellent tips to help improve your home features to appeal to today’s home buyers!

Open Concept Floor Plans

The days of compartmentalized homes are gone.  Most homes built prior to the early 1990’s had floor plans that were choppy and compartmentalized.  Most newly constructed homes are being built with open concept floor plans.  Today’s home buyers desire a floor plan that flows seamlessly from one room to another.  Due to the fact that older homes generally do not have open concept floor plans, many home buyers are electing to build a new home instead of purchasing an existing home.

Why do today’s home buyers desire an open concept floor plan?  Many millennial home buyers enjoy entertaining friends and family.  An open concept floor plan is a feature that allows a homeowner the ability to interact with their guests even if they are in a different room.  A compartmentalized home does not allow this.  An open concept floor plan is also very popular home feature with families with young children as an open concept allows the parents the ability to watch their children even if they are not in the same room or area of the home.

An open concept floor plan in some homes may not be feasible, however, in some homes can be created with the simple removal of a wall or two.  If you’re planning a remodel or home improvement, consider improving the flow of your floor plan since it is such a highly desired home feature with today’s home buyers.

Updated Kitchen

Most people who have any interest in real estate have heard that kitchens and baths sell homes.  This is very true since many of today’s home buyers are not interested in remodeling a kitchen or don’t have the capital to do so.

Some of today’s home buyers will elect to not even look at a home that has old counters, cabinets, or flooring.  It’s very easy to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a kitchen remodel project, however, it may not be necessary to attract today’s home buyers.  There are many ways to update a kitchen without breaking the piggy bank.  Knowing what the current trends are for kitchens is extremely important to keep in mind when completing any remodel or update.

Low cost kitchen updates can reduce the amount of time a home takes to sell significantly and also potentially increase the sale price.  Low cost kitchen updates include:

  • Fresh Paint
  • Re-staining or Refinishing Kitchen Cabinetry
  • New Kitchen Cabinet Hardware
  • New Light Fixtures
  • New Plumbing Fixtures
  • New Sink

Updated Bath(s)

Updated Bathrooms Are A Top Home Feature That Today's Home Buyers Want

Updated Bathrooms Are A Top Home Feature That Today’s Home Buyers Want

Just like the kitchen, the cost to update or remodel a bathroom can be very high.  An updated bathroom is however, one of the most desired home features for today’s home buyers.

One of the easiest ways to make a bathroom appeal to today’s home buyers is by freshly painting the bathroom(s) with a bright and inviting color and also ensuring it is extremely clean.  A very popular way sellers scare away potential home buyers is with dirty and grimy bathrooms.  Some home buyers will choose not to buy a home because the bathroom is extremely dirty.

Similar to a kitchen, a bathroom remodel or update does not have to break the piggy bank to make it appealing to today’s home buyers.  There are many low cost ways to update a bath, including:

  • New Vanity
  • New Medicine Cabinet
  • New Plumbing Fixtures
  • New Bathtub/Shower Surround
  • Updated Light Fixtures
  • Clean and Organized Linen Closet(s)

First Floor Laundry Room

Many homeowners believe the location of the laundry room is not relevant when it comes time to sell a home.  The location of the laundry room can have a major impact on how fast a home sells and the desirability of a home.  In most homes there are only a handful of locations for a laundry room.  The basement, the first floor, and the second floor are the three most common areas.

Today’s home buyers ultimately prefer the laundry room is located on the first floor.  First floor laundry is a home feature that is extremely desirable for older home buyers or home buyers who may have difficulty walking up or down stairs.  Most newly built homes will have a first floor laundry room as a home feature since it has become so popular with today’s home buyers!

Outdoor Space

Today’s home buyers are not only interested in the home features of the interior but also what the exterior home features are in a home.  Many sellers make the mistake of not paying attention to the outdoor space of their home, which can be very costly.  A very popular and relatively inexpensive staging tip to help sell a home quicker for more money is to ensure the outdoor space is not neglected!

What are the outdoor home features that today’s home buyers desire?  A few of the most popular home features desired by today’s home buyers include attached decks, patios, and fenced yards.  Other outdoor areas that homeowners should pay attention to include:

  • Landscaping
  • Hardscaping
  • Pools
  • Fire pits
  • Balcony
  • Gardens
  • Outdoor Kitchens

Home Technologies

Many of today’s home buyers are very “tech savvy,” especially millennial home buyers.  There are many home features that can be added to a home that are very technologically advanced.  Home technologies can help increase the “WOW” factor of a home.

What are some of the most popular home technology home features that today’s home buyers are looking for?

  • Programmable thermostats, such as a Nest, which can be controlled via a smart phone, tablet, or other mobile device
  • Whole home speaker systems, such as Sonos
  • Key-less locks that can be accessed via Bluetooth
  • Timed irrigation systems

Today’s Home Buyers Want “Green Thumb” Home Features

"Green Thumb" Home Features Are Highly Desired By Today's Home Buyers

“Green Thumb” Home Features Are Highly Desired By Today’s Home Buyers

“Going Green” is something that is seen all over the place nowadays!  Today’s home buyers are also desiring many home features that could be considered as “going green.”  Whether it’s because a home buyer wants to save on their utility bills or because they are concerned with protecting the environment, it’s important to understand what “green” home features today’s home buyers are looking for.

Energy Efficient Furnace & Air Conditioning

Two of the most important features within a home are a homes furnace and a homes air conditioning, if applicable.  First and foremost, there are many home buyers that will not look at a home if it does not have central air conditioning.  Certain types of HVAC systems don’t allow for central air conditioning to be installed, such as baseboard or radiant.  If able, installing a central air conditioning unit is a good idea as it can increase the number of potential home buyers who maybe interested in the home.

A home feature that some of today’s home buyers are looking for are the efficiency levels of the furnace and air conditioning.  There are several reasons why today’s home buyers are looking for energy efficient furnaces and air conditioning units.  The primary reason is the fact that these home features can save a buyer significant money per month on utility bills.

Other reasons why this home feature is so important to today’s home buyers include:

  • Longer Life Expectancy
  • Quieter
  • Better For Environment
  • Superior Performance
  • Improved Health and Quality of Life

Extra Insulation

Similar to energy efficient air conditioning units and furnaces, additional insulation can significantly reduce utility bills, which is the primary reason why today’s home buyers desire this home feature.  The standards of home insulation change fairly frequently, therefore, a home built 60 years ago is likely to have very minimal insulation in comparison to a newly built home.

In addition to the reduced utility bills, other reasons to increase insulation in a home include exterior noise reduction and a lower chance of ice damming.  Ice damming can create significant damage to a home, especially in very cold climates, such as Rochester, NY.

This past winter, while selling a home in Brighton, NY, a seller experienced significant ice damming damage to the interior of their home.  A contractor pointed out that this could have been avoided if there was additional insulation added.  As you can imagine, extra insulation is an even more desirable home feature for home buyers in colder climates, due to the potential for ice damming damage.

Energy Efficient Appliances

Even thought energy efficient appliances are more expensive than non energy efficient appliances, they are a home feature that many home buyers look for.  An energy efficient appliance, such as a refrigerator, may cost two times more than a non energy efficient appliance, however, the can yield significant savings in utility bills and usage.

When shopping for appliances, keep an eye out for the “Energy Star” logo.  Energy Star is a program run by the Environmental Protect Agency (EPA) that helps businesses and individuals save money and protect the climate through superior energy efficiency.  Any appliance that has the Energy Star logo is likely to be very efficient and also highly desired by today’s buyers.

Energy efficient appliances are a very popular home feature with today’s home buyers but it’s also important to keep in mind the look of the appliance.  In addition to energy efficient appliances, many of today’s home buyers are looking for stainless steel appliances.  Stainless steel appliances are often more expensive than non stainless steel appliances, but are so highly desired that it is normally worth the additional expense.

Energy Efficient Windows

A common concern for home buyers is the efficiency and condition of a homes windows.  Windows that are in poor condition or that are inoperable are one of the most common issues found during a home inspection.  The cost to replace windows in a home can be expensive, depending on the quality and efficiency level.

Today’s home buyers will pay more for a home due to the fact it has energy efficient windows as one of the home features.  In extreme climates, this can be even more important than the furnace or air conditioning efficiency since the amount of air lost or gained through windows can be significant.

Final Thoughts

One of the best ways to make a home appeal to today’s home buyers is by knowing what home features they are looking for.  A home that has many of the above home features that buyers are looking for will sell faster than the homes that are lacking the above home features.

While it may not make sense to remodel a kitchen for $30,000, it may make sense to tackle some of the low cost projects such as a fresh coat of paint or new hardware on the cabinets.  It’s important that if you’re unsure whether a home feature is going to help sell your home or hurt the chances of your home selling, that you consult with a top local real estate professional.  They should be able to give you the proper advice and tips to making sure your home has the home features that today’s home buyers want!

Other Top Home Selling Tips & Advice

If you’re selling a home in Rochester, NY, it’s critical you understand what kind of home features today’s home buyers are looking for!  If your Rochester, NY home has many of the above home features, your home should appeal to many of the local home buyers who are in the market to purchase a home.  If you’re unsure about whether you should add or remove a home feature in your Rochester, NY home, contact me, and I’d be happy to share my expertise and opinion with you. 

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About the authors:  The above article “Top Home Features That Today’s Home Buyers Want” was provided by the Keith Hiscock Sold Team (Keith & Kyle Hiscock).  With over 30 years combined experience, if you’re thinking of selling or buying, we’d love to share our knowledge and expertise.

We service the following Greater Rochester NY areas: Irondequoit, Webster, Penfield, Pittsford, Fairport, Brighton, Greece, Gates, Hilton, Brockport, Mendon, Henrietta, Perinton, Churchville, Scottsville, East Rochester, Rush, Honeoye Falls, Chili, and Victor NY.

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