What Buyers Want

Technology

Most real estate professionals know that kitchens and baths are the two areas that tend to wow buyers. This isn’t necessarily true of the newest generation of home buyers. Realty Times reported that Millennials [born between 1982 & 2000] care more about technology than the traditional amenities that previous home buyers coveted. In fact, a recent study in the Realty Times indicated that technology is “in.” Dining rooms, remodeled kitchens, and turnkey homes are out.

Millennials and Housing Amenities:

  • 84% of those surveyed thought that technological systems were essential in their homes
  • 77% want a home that comes with technology capabilities (home security systems, smart thermostats, home theater systems, etc.)
  • 59% would prefer space for a TV in the kitchen, rather than a second oven
  • 41% would brag about a home technology system, rather than a remodeled kitchen
  • 57% specifically want energy efficient washers and dryers
  • 56% say that technological features are more important than curb appeal
  • 20% would rather have a home office than a dining room

In General, The Top 10 Features Home Buyers Want

1. Open Concept Homes — New homes offer spacious, flowing floorplans and high ceilings that older houses don’t provide.

2. Smaller Homes — McMansions are expensive to heat, cool and maintain. The wide array of new homes make it easy to find the size just right for you.

3. Outdoor Living Spaces — True in Canada and even more so in the many temperate areas of the U.S. For example, the 2011 Design Driver Survey from AvidBuilder found that 31.4 percent of move-up buyers (people moving to a larger home) said they either must have or really want an outdoor fireplace.

4. Neutral Decor — Probably best for selling a home. However, as a new home buyer, don’t be afraid to display your true colors. As we’ve reported in our blog, whether it’s hip designer Jonathan Adler bringing bold colors back to the kitchen with his line of vibrant sinks for Kohler or furniture and bedding in the current Color of the Year (tangerine) more and more homeowners are bravely adopting brighter hues.

5. Modern Kitchens — The heart of every home. This is where new homes shine with the latest and greatest design, cabinets, countertops and lighting — to say nothing of state-of-the-art appliances.

6. Smart Growth — Many of today’s master planned new home communities offer community clubhouses and pools, protected nature areas, hiking trails, playgrounds and more. Larger new home communities often contain carefully planned retail options and even schools inside the community. It’s also not uncommon to find master-planned communities that water common areas with reclaimed water . Which leads us to….

7. Going Green — Hands down, new homes win here, too. The Home Energy Rating System (also known as a HERS Score) is an industry standard that rates the energy efficiency of homes. The lower the score, the more energy efficient the home. As the people behind HERS point out on their site, the U.S. Department of Energy has determined that a typical new home is 30 percent more energy efficient than a typical resale house.

8. Linen Closets & Smart Storage — New homes take the win in this category, too. Simply compare the much larger walk-in closets of today’s new homes with the cramped closest of old homes.

9. Energy-Efficient Fixtures & Appliances — Our new vs. resale home comparison is turning into a rout. Today’s new homes feature enormous energy efficiency in appliances, HVAC (heating, ventilation and cooling equipment) and throughout the house. As we saw, a typical new home of today is 30 percent more energy efficient than one built just five years ago. Compare a typical new home built today to a 10-20 year old home? Game over!

10. Double Car Garage with Organized Work/Storage Space — You’d be hard-pressed to find a new home that doesn’t score a “10” on criteria number 10. Many builders also offer three-car garages (or larger) that offer enough storage space to make the man of the house grow weak in the knees.

In short, few buyers [especially the millennials] would buy their parents homes if given the choice. They prefer small to large, urban to suburban, unique to standard, and wish to have access to safe outdoor recreation. Technology is key, and green homes are desired (but not always demanded). In some markets, this is a tall order.

Hold the Bells and Whistles

Detailed trim and fancy molding does not hold the allure that it did for previous generations. Having a smaller, simple home that requires less maintenance is generally preferred. Open floor plans with multi-functioning rooms that can be used for work, entertaining, and lounging are key.