What buyers look for in a home

What Buyers Look For In A Home

October 15, 2021

A quick summary

There are some common themes amongst what buyers look for in a home. While the pandemic has added some new trends to the list, there are certain features that continue to stand strong on home buyer lists.

Table of Contents

Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions many people will ever make, so it’s no surprise that buyers can be quite specific about what they’re looking for in a home. Home buyers often weigh up the pros and cons of each property to see how it matches up with what they’re looking for. If you’re selling your house, it helps to be aware of what home buyers are looking for, so we’ll give you some insight into the most sought-after home features and what home buyers want in 2021.

What features are most important to home buyers?

While buyer needs can change over time, there are certain features that remain at the top of the list and have been prevalent for years.

1 – Energy efficiency

Today’s home buyers expect a certain level of energy efficiency in a home. Gone are the days when these were an added extra or a bonus, sellers now need to consider remodelling and adding these features in, so that they can sell their house easier. For example, energy efficient windows, particularly Energy-star rated windows, make a big difference to heating and cooling costs, so these are a big plus for buyers.

2 – Neutral colors

Neutral paint colors throughout the home are a big plus for potential buyers. These help buyers to envision themselves in the home and colors like grey or white are often used for just this purpose. Neutral colors are also more popular for interior design these days, and they allow for furniture pieces to stand out.

3 – Hardwood floors

New flooring is one of the most highly recommended upgrades for homes and hardwood floors are one of the most important features that buyers are looking for. Most real estate agents find it easier to tell homes with hardwood floors and keeping the flooring consistent throughout the house with hardwood is a sure-fire way to appeal to more buyers.

4 – Double kitchen sink

This may seem like a smaller feature that isn’t as important, but buyers are particularly interested in having double sinks in the kitchen. Often so that one side can be used for washing dishes and one side can be used for food preparation. The pandemic has further solidified this trend amongst homebuyers as people have had to cook at home more.

Kitchen sink

5 – Walk-in kitchen pantry

A walk-in kitchen pantry is in the top 3 features that home buyers want. For families, kitchens can often become crowded with food items, so having a walk-in pantry allows people to store more food and keep extra supplies in a separate area. In keeping with the extra space theme, this applies to the kitchen as well as the rest of the home.

6 – Backyard patio

Patios are one of the most sought-after features for home buyers, they’re easy to maintain and provide a great extra living space outside, or an area to entertain. For sellers, this is a simple addition to make to a home and won’t be as costly as adding a deck or porch.

7 – Modern bathroom

An updated bathroom with a tub is a winner for home buyers. At least one of the bathrooms in the home should have a tub, because most buyers will at least want the option. Buyers are often looking for an open bathroom reminiscent of a spa. Sellers should bear this in mind and consider a bathroom remodel to add value to their home and appeal to more buyers.

8 – Full size laundry room

Separate, full-sized laundry rooms are a must-have for buyers these days. For buyers who are upgrading to a bigger home, this is one of the most popular features that they’re looking for, according to a survey done by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Laundry rooms make it easier for people to deal with endless loads of laundry, especially with children and pets.

9 – Kitchens for eating in

Formal dining rooms are a thing of the past and kitchens have become the heart of the home so buyers are looking for kitchens with a breakfast nook, island or bar area where they can sit and eat. These are ideal for houses where there are children as they can do their homework here or eat meals. People spend more time in their kitchens than many other rooms of the house, so an eat-in kitchen provides a space where families can hang out.

10 – Exterior lighting

This is a great way to add to a home’s curb appeal and light up the garden at night. Exterior lighting makes a home more welcoming and is useful for those who are hosting outdoor events at their home. It’s also a security measure and has therefore become a simple yet popular feature for home buyers to look for.

Bath tub

Has the pandemic changed what home buyers want?

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world and along with it, people’s lifestyles and therefore choice in homes. According to a National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) survey, the number of people wanting to move to the suburbs increased as a result of the pandemic, from 26% to 30%. About 42% of respondents who had to telecommute for work or school said that the pandemic had impacted their house preferences.

Here’s a quick look at some of the changes that can be seen amongst home buyer trends since the pandemic.

  • The stay-at-home culture that has been created as a result of the pandemic lends itself to more people wanting homes that can accommodate a home office. As freelance work and the “gig economy” grows, this also feeds into the home office trend, and this has become one of the most popular and necessary features that home buyers are looking for now.
  • More space and natural light in homes have become features that home buyers are attracted to. Having to spend more time at home has led to many people wanting a home that’s light and airy, so that they don’t feel quite as confined.
  • Outdoor spaces have become even more popular amongst home buyers who are often looking for a place to entertain, without having too many people indoors. A large yard or patio is now a consideration for buyers, whereas in times gone by this may not have been necessary.
  • A large portion of home buyers want to move to outlying suburbs since the pandemic, with walkability to amenities becoming a more important consideration than before.

What buyers are looking for in a house in 2021

In a nutshell, buyers are looking for newly built homes in suburban areas. Buyers are often looking at larger homes, as houses become gyms, offices and even classrooms as well. 25% of respondents in the NAHB survey said that they’re looking for bigger home because they’re spending more time at home. Here are some of the features buyers are looking for in a house in 2021…

  • Foyers or large entryways have become a highlight on many buyer lists since the pandemic. It provides a space to sanitize and leave anything that may need washing or sanitizing, without having to bring it further into your home.
  • The NAHB survey showed that laundry rooms and exterior lighting were the top 2 features amongst home buyers that are in the Generation X group. 87% of people who responded to the survey felt that these 2 features were vital.
  • Smart home technology has become a more popular feature amongst buyers, particularly this year as we’re all forced to spend more time at home. Things like security, communication and energy efficiency are the top of the list for smart tech in the home for buyers. Some of the most requested features are a video doorbell, security cameras, programmable thermostat and a wireless security system.
  • Garages have moved up the ranks of importance for home buyers. Whether it’s going to be used for storage, parking the car, a home gym or a man cave, garages are something that buyers are looking for.
  • Flexible space is a top priority for buyers at the moment. A spare room that can be converted into something else is a winner for sellers. With large periods of time being spent at home, people need the extra space for various hobbies or interests, so having a spare room is an attraction to buyers in 2021.
  • Open plan kitchens and family rooms have increased in popularity this year, with 85% of people in the NAHB survey looking for this, and 79% looking for an open plan kitchen and family room. Either way, open plan communal areas are in.

What turns off potential home buyers?

Home buyers are quite easily put off homes, and there are a few things that turn them off almost instantly, so take note and try to avoid any of these major buyer turnoffs.

  1. An overgrown yard
  2. Lots of clutter
  3. Bright colors on the walls
  4. Your personal interests and photographs
  5. Unpleasant odors
  6. Not enough light
  7. Wall-to-wall carpets (along with carpets in the bathrooms)
  8. Swimming pools
  9. Pets
  10. A converted garage

Closing thoughts

While buying a home is a very personal choice, there are a few trends that have been established over the last while, and these continue to be choices that home buyers make even after the pandemic. If you’re selling your home, the features mentioned above should give you a good idea as to what buyers are looking for and which home improvements you may need to make to your house before you sell it.

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