What do people look for in a home?

As a real estate investor, you want to work with more facts and data to determine what exact features homebuyers are seeking. Homebuyers are getting more specific about what they want and the unique features that they look for in a property. Let’s check out some of the key factors that make a home stand out. 

Property location

Buyers are always looking for the best possible location. This is a very important aspect because you can switch up a space, but you cannot move a location. (OK, relocating a home to another location is technically possible, but the process is costly!)

Consider aspects like the weather; is this a summer house location? Is it a country home in a cooler climate? The quality of life there also counts, if the area is surrounded by newer developments and retailers, for example, then the home will likely have greater value. 

Buyers need good access to essential amenities and transportation. For example, a family with children would prioritize access to schools and neighborhood safety. 

Having your ideal buyer profile can help you determine the best location for your real estate. This persona highlights what your client cares about. What kind of property would suit their needs, and why? Which aspects might they prioritize over others? (An older couple might want a single-level home with easy yard maintenance, for example, while a younger professional might value a condo close to shops and offices.) These questions will be a great starting point as you work on your buyer profile. 

Of course, you’ll want to secure a space that will attract your ideal audience. Consider investing in real estate in areas that are most strategically suited for jobs, such as close to or accessible to high tech hubs or business districts. For example, Boise, Idaho is ranked a top location due to its supply and demand dynamics. This means that there is limited supply compared to the demand of houses and buyers have to settle above the asking price. Once you have a desirable location, buyers are more likely to favor your space. 

Intergenerational and expanded living spaces 

This comes second on our list as more homebuyers are interested in purchasing homes close to their relatives. There are many reasons for this, including having a support network nearby. This is especially timely due to the global pandemic, which forced many to limit their travel and have fewer opportunities to be with loved ones. 

Working parents with children at home were suddenly thrust into their jobs while running a remote school or daycare, without help from grandparents or other relatives. For this reason, property options that accommodate family members or close friends for long-term stays are trending.

Access to these alternative living spaces has been a priority, as recent research shows keywords such as ‘in-law apartment,’ ‘barn,’ ‘ADU’ (accessory dwelling unit), and ‘casita’ popping up often when buyers are looking for new homes. 

Modern kitchens

Is your kitchen space updated? As you can imagine, buyers are always on the lookout for kitchens with sophisticated cabinets, appliances and countertops. It is one of the most essential rooms in the house due to daily use and is prompt to wear and tear. For this reason, buyers are willing to spend a little more on a well updated and functional kitchen. With that in mind, kitchens can be expensive to remodel and therefore making these features available to buyers is a plus. (It’s one less item for their to-do list.)

Considering an open kitchen plan for example is a great place to start. Why, exactly? Today’s buyers have said that ‘segmented spaces are a turnoff.’ Open kitchen spaces offer an airier touch, creating more space and room to interact with the rest of the family during meal preparation. Essentially, privacy matters when it comes to residents wanting separate bedrooms for themselves and their kids, but when communal spaces are considered, an open floor plan centered around the heart of the home—the kitchen—really counts. 

Interior design and layout

If layout and design has not been on your priority list, you may need to think twice. Features such as a good bedroom-to-bathroom ratio, which can include having two bathrooms for every three bedrooms, as well as natural light, open spaces, functional layouts and well-structured rooms with deep closets are items that buyers appreciate. 

Layout features can be hard to change, therefore getting it right just makes it easier for a buyer to say ‘yes’ to your home. In order to attract buyers, make sure that you invest a good amount of time in your design. 

Open floor plans

This one definitely had to feature on the list! Many Pinterest searches gravitate toward open floor plans that combine multiple communal spaces, including kitchens, living rooms, family rooms, home offices, etc. Buyers are favoring more open living spaces to get more natural light and a feeling of a larger space, regardless of the home’s actual square footage. 

You can work to incorporate an open kitchen with a breakfast nook, deck, a wide balcony or even a modest home garden to ensure your buyer can enjoy a nice view with a fresh breeze. 

This priority can also be attributed to recent lifestyle changes. When the pandemic prevented most of us from spending much time away from home, a need for open spaces took center stage. 

No stairs please 

According to realtor.com, Americans are falling out of love with stairs and this is attributed to the country’s rising number of Baby Boomers. As people get older, having a home with multiple floors can present challenges in terms of mobility. Residents from states such as Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island and Virginia are reported to not want multi-level homes. 

What could you consider instead? A floor plan that features a first-floor master, a ranch-style home or single-level property all stand out. You could also factor in yard levels, split levels or level-entry house plans. 

Understanding what buyers are seeking will make your work easier when selling your investment property, as you will know what features to add, emphasize or remove, and how to best cater to potential clients based on their preferences. 

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