Features that Today’s Homebuyers Want Most
Sure, wood paneling, wallpaper borders and wall-to-wall shag carpet might appeal to some buyers, but for the most part, they’re not things that are considered hot commodities in the housing market today. Fads come and go, but there are some features that buyers consistently look for when searching for a home.
Many factors go into what home buyers want. From economics to culture, demographics to trends, these can all impact the most popular features. The COVID-19 pandemic also played a role in changing buyers’ wants and needs. With more people working remotely, home offices became popular, as did dedicated space for exercising or studying.
A 2021 study conducted by the National Association of Home Builders sheds some light on the most popular features today’s home buyers want, a summary of which follows.
By far, the most requested feature for home buyers is a dedicated laundry room. Buyers are tired of trudging out to the garage, battling for space in a mudroom or kitchen, or worse, heading to the laundromat to get their clothes clean. Having a clean, well-organized space for sorting and folding keeps the mess out of living spaces (no more piles of clothes on the couch or bed) and makes chores a bit less daunting.
With increased attention on conservation and preservation, it comes as no surprise that potential home buyers are looking for appliances, windows and lighting that save energy. Energy Star appliances, for example, uses less electricity than traditional appliances, saving on energy and water costs. Similarly, modern, double- or triple-paned windows can save on heating and cooling costs. Energy efficient LED lightbulbs use as much as 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, and they last much longer. Luckily, these features are more the norm than the exception these days.
Outdoor Living Spaces
Patios and front porches ranked high in the list of the most desired features of a home. Outdoor living is definitely a highlight of living in the greater Sacramento area, which boasts relatively mild winters, and there’s nothing better than spending a summer with backyard barbecues. Front porches, on the other hand, are a great place to unwind and watch the world go by, and to get to know your neighbors. The importance of outdoor spaces was amplified during the pandemic, when social distancing became the norm.
Long a staple of the well-to-do, large pantries went out of style in exchange for the eat-in breakfast nook. Now, they’re making a resurgence, thanks to big-box stores and membership warehouses. Storage space is always at a premium, and buyers are looking for dedicated space to stash their bulk coffee, family pack of canned beans and year’s supply of paper towels, not to mention their little-used appliances. They are especially popular in the west, where few, if any, homes have basements. The popularity of organizing videos on social media further fuels the need to have a picture-perfect pantry.
Home trends change over the years, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the hardwood vs. carpet debate. Some homeowners prefer carpet for the warmth and comfort it provides, while others have concerns over its cleanliness and environmental impact. Regardless, hardwood floors are a classic as they are easy to care for and maintain, so it’s no wonder it’s one of the features that home buyers look for. There are hundreds of varieties on the market today, in a broad range of species, textures and colors.
It may sound strange, but many homebuyers are looking for properties with ceiling fans. Fans can significantly cut cooling costs in the summer, and can even help keep you cozy in the winter by spinning clockwise on low, thus creating an updraft that moves warm air. While ceiling fans aren’t foolproof on Sacramento’s hottest days, they do make a dent. According to energy.gov, ceiling fans allow you to raise the thermostat around 4 degrees, thus saving on energy costs.