Which features make a home most desirable to buyers depends, of course, on who the buyers are. People at different stages in life have different needs. A young family will have a very different wish list for their home than an empty-nester couple, or a bachelor.
Nevertheless, in today’s real estate market, certain amenities are very much in demand among a wide spectrum of buyers. Most buyers are looking for at least some, if not all, of these features.
A master bedroom on the first floor is one of them. While young parents want to be near their children when they are infants and toddlers, family dynamics change as kids grow up. By the time children are in grade school, it’s nice for everyone in the family to have some privacy and breathing room. A ground-floor bedroom is also appealing for older buyers who might prefer not to do a lot of stair climbing.
Outdoors, families appreciate having a yard that’s big enough for kids and dogs to play, but not so big that it’s a burden to maintain.
Having space enough for a pool can be a selling point for families and active couples, too.
For just about every lifestyle, having a “bonus” room is a plus. Depending on the buyers’ interests, this might be used as a playroom for children, a workout room, a “man cave” or hobby space.
A home office, or an extra room that can be adapted into an office, is an increasingly popular option. The shape of America’s workforce is changing, with growing percentages classified as self-employed, freelancers or consultants. Even people in traditional salaried jobs are more likely to be given the opportunity to do at least some work at home. If nothing else, having a comfortable place to set up the personal computer and manage the family finances makes a home office an attractive feature.
Standard home layouts have evolved to the point that fewer buyers want, or expect, to have formal living and dining areas. Open floor plans are very much in demand. These might include a spacious casual living area that includes room for home entertainment and informal dining, directly adjoining the kitchen. The kitchen’s work area would be defined by islands, a bar or both.
A spacious contemporary kitchen flows together with living and dining areas in this house at 715 Autumn Crest Place. The home was professionally staged to show off spaces to best advantage.
Because these layouts better suit contemporary lifestyles, newer homes are most in demand. Other reasons buyers like recently built houses is that they are most likely to include efficient appliances that are in good repair, and the structures themselves require less maintenance than an older home.
That doesn’t mean an older home can’t be appealing, though. But to command the best price, it’s almost essential that an older house’s kitchen and master bath be updated. It’s worth repeating: the best return on investment, to maximize an existing house’s sale price, is to modernize these two essential spaces.
One other feature that helps many newer homes sell quickly is a spacious garage, with room for at least two cars. Most couples and families these days do have two or more vehicles. Even with only one car, extra garage space is always useful for storage, as a workshop or for hobbies.
A nice bonus is a screened porch. This expands a house’s living space, and in our climate is usable during the majority of the year.
A screened porch, at 1634 Verrazzano Drive, extends the home’s living space. The yard is roomy, but not too big for easy upkeep.
To help visualize how all these in-demand amenities can add up, I can point to a couple of current listings that I consider great examples. These online listings include photographs that illustrate many of the points noted here.
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