March 09, 2015

The top 10 features home buyers want

Real Estate Design

Content sponsored by Anne Koons - Native 020715

Gourmet Kitchen File Art/for PhillyVoice

Discover the latest trends and fashions in home-buying.

Every home buyer has a unique set of wants for a house, but there are trends and fashions in home-buying as in everything else.  At the moment, these 10 items appear on the wish lists of most house hunters.  If you’re a buyer, chances are you’ll find yourself seeking out these features.  And if you’re a seller, see how your house stacks up!

Open Concept 

The days of houses with small, walled-off rooms and closed doors are over. Most buyers today insist on an open, airy layout with long sight-lines and uninterrupted vistas between living areas. It’s indicative of the trend toward more casual, less formal, lifestyles. Spacious floor plans and easy “flow” are musts.

State-of-the-art kitchens

The kitchen truly has become the heart of the home, and, almost more than any other room, home buyers want kitchens to be spectacular – and big. That means state-of-the-art stainless-steel appliances, wine fridges and farmer sinks, tons of room for both food preparation and serious entertaining, commercial-grade cooktops, and comfortable eat-in areas that feature everything from sofas and working fireplaces to wall-mounted big-screen televisions. Kitchens are where we live now.

Spa bathrooms 

No longer just washrooms, master bathrooms must be mini-spa getaways, with Zen-like design that’s conducive to relaxation. Think jetted soaker tubs, ultramodern “vessel” sinks, multiple-nozzle steam showers, and elegant glass-tile finishes. Nowadays, unattractive, dated bathrooms are an unpardonable sin to most home-shoppers.

Natural surfaces 

Whether it’s floors or countertops, linoleum and laminate are out. For floors, it’s all about natural hardwood or porcelain tile. In kitchens and bathrooms, stone and slate are preferred – and poured concrete is having a resurgence for both floors and counter tops.

Closets to die for

Modern families have more clothing and shoes than ever, and the cramped closets of yesteryear are unacceptable. Home buyers are demanding one and often two walk-in closets in the master suite at minimum – often fitted out with elaborate custom built-ins.

Home offices

Some blame the Internet for the 24-hour nature of the way most of us work today – but whatever the reason, a huge percentage of home-buyers are demanding a dedicated home-office in the house they buy: a room devoted to desktop or laptop computers, printers, files, and phones. Strangely, this seems to hold true even for buyers who technically don’t “work at home.”

Man caves 

The concept of a “guy’s hangout” has become popular, and it’s more and more frequently turning up on the wish lists of homeowners. A man cave can be a technology-heavy media center with theatre-style seating or an old fashioned billiards-and-beer basement. Either way, a Dad-friendly getaway is, for many families, on the list of must-haves.

"Green" design 

What was once a fad is now a serious demand among many home-buyers, especially younger families:  eco-friendly design and construction. Whether it’s homes with solar-power heating options, energy-efficient windows and doors, the use of natural and sustainable construction materials (such as bamboo hardwood flooring), or creative, low-water-usage landscaping, environmentally-conscious home-shoppers are demanding – and getting – the green lifestyles they want.

Outdoor living spaces 

A simple backyard doesn’t cut it anymore. Home buyers today envision an outdoor lifestyle for their families at least part of the year, and home-builders are responding with creative, often elaborate “outdoor rooms.”  In warmer climates, that means outdoor seating, beautifully landscaped decks or stone patios, heated swimming pools, and covered, fully outfitted outdoor kitchens with everything from refrigerators for cold drinks to pizza ovens.

"Bonus room"

The concept of the bonus room has emerged in recognition of the fact that many homeowners simply don’t want some of the features of “yesterday’s” homes – a formal dining room, for instance.  They’d rather a room that they can use as they want – as a children’s playroom, a home dance studio, a music or crafts room, or an additional bedroom or guest room.  Smart home sellers will position these extra spaces as bonus rooms – and let buyers’ imaginations run!