What Buyers Look For in a House

what home buyers want in a house

We all know that different buyers have different wants and needs. For example, families will be looking for homes near good schools and lots of recreational activities.

But there are some common features that the vast majority of people are looking for in 2017. Some of these things come as a big surprise to some of our clients, because it’s a reversal of some of the trends we used to see. Right now, bigger isn’t necessarily better – it’s all about whether the house meets the needs of today’s busy lifestyles.

The trends you’ll see below are being driven by two largest segments of our population. The millennials, who are the largest generation, have already started to buy their first homes. Meanwhile, the baby boomers are entering their retirement years, and they’re the second largest population group.

The needs of both these groups are overlapping in many ways.

Here are some of the key features that can make a huge difference in the selling price of your home.

What Home Buyers Want

1. Updated Fixtures and Appliances

Millennials are spending every cent they have on the purchase price of the home, and they don’t want to have to spend more to get it fixed up on top of that.

Buyers, especially millennials, aren’t as handy as people were in past generations. They don’t see a fixer upper as an opportunity, they see it as a time suck. Retiring boomers are also looking for a turn-key home, because they want to spend their time being active and enjoying life, not retiling the bathroom.

If you live in a home that’s in need of freshening up, some new light fixtures and cabinet hardware will go a long way. If the kitchen appliances are 1970’s avocado green, you may need to spend some money to get energy efficient, up to date appliances.

2. Office Space and High Speed

Working from home is becoming more and more common, even if it’s just the occasional evening or snow day now and then. Having somewhere to focus and work on the computer is a must.

And whether buyers work from home or not, connectivity is key. A good mobile signal and high speed internet mean access to entertainment, information, and time saving opportunities of all kinds.

3. Amenities Close By

Both retirees and millennials want to be able to walk to restaurants, coffee shops, and gyms. As a result, buying in bedroom communities without these amenities less appealing.

People will spend more to get a smaller space if the location will allow them to live the lifestyle they want. Neighbourhoods with short commutes are more popular than ever, and condo apartments downtown and townhouses close to downtown are also in demand.

4. Low Maintenance

A decade or two ago, a big expanse of open lawn was an asset. Now, people just see all their summer afternoons being wasted on cutting the grass.

Don’t get me wrong – people still want to see some landscaping, and curb appeal still sells. But for a large number of people, less is more. A larger, nicely styled walkway with some low-maintenance containers will present a welcoming appearance without taking up every free minute to maintain.

5. Up to Date Kitchen and Bathrooms

You don’t need to have granite countertops to sell your home, but if your kitchen and bathrooms haven’t had an update since the 1980s, expect less interest and a lower selling price.

There was a time when people were excited to do all the updates themselves, so they could get exactly what they wanted. There aren’t many people like that anymore. People don’t want to spend their weekends working on their houses – they want to just move in and have everything look good.

People want well-designed, eat-in kitchens with plenty of organized storage. Ideally, the storage should be in the form of a pantry, rather than endless cupboards, especially if the kitchen is small.

For bathrooms, people are looking for clean lines, walk-in showers, and as little grout as possible. They no longer thrill to see a built-in tub with jets. If they want a bathtub, they want a free standing one that’s easier to replace if they ever want to do an update.

What Home Buyers Hate

1. Dirt, Grime and Smells

This will be obvious to many people, but we still get clients whose homes smell like pets or tobacco. They are often so used to these smells that they don’t even notice them.

Even once the home is thoroughly cleaned, we ask home sellers to also remove any visual cues that they own pets or that there are smokers in the home. Any pet food dishes, toys, litter boxes, or ashtrays should be removed.

For some buyers, just seeing the evidence makes them wonder if the house is OK. Don’t forget, buyers like to poke around in closets, so just hiding the evidence often isn’t enough. If possible, board the animal. If you’re a smoker, smoke outdoors.

2. Wallpaper

Wallpaper is always a risk, even if it’s only a year or two old and in step with the latest design trends.

That’s because it’s so personal and so difficult to remove if they don’t like the pattern.

2. Popcorn Ceilings

Popcorn ceilings may be everywhere, but no one likes them. And while very few people are prepared to do the work to remove it, it can play a role in the price of your house, especially it’s more expensive. If you’re asking over $500,000 for your home, it’s better for ceilings to be smooth.

For investment properties, it’s not really a huge issue because it is so common.

3. Meeting the Owner

Owner-managed sales are harder. Buyers want to see themselves in the home, not hear about how much the house means to the seller.

More importantly, they want to poke around and make sure the house ticks all their boxes. They want to look under sinks, in closets, in the fridge. If the owner is showing them around, they can feel uncomfortable doing that.

The occasional exception can be made for some rural property owners who can answer questions about how the well or septic systems work, but it’s still better to hire a realtor and let them take the lead.

4. Clutter

The point of staging the home is to show off the possibilities of the space, and allow buyers to imaging how their stuff could fit.

Clothes, toys, family mementoes, and closets crammed to capacity interfere with this process.

Your Home Sold – Guaranteed

You may have seen “for sale” signs on your neighbour’s lawns for months, even though it’s a nice house.

Our customers don’t have to worry about their homes not selling. At Paul Rushforth Real Estate, we offer guaranteed home sales – which takes the stress right off your shoulders.

Learn More About Our Guarantee

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