|What home buyers really want
Remember the days of the formal
seldom-used living room and the everyday family room? Over, says Phipps. Instead,
families are looking for one large area where they can congregate, live and entertain.
But what is hanging in there is the idea of a formal dining room for those festive,
special occasions. "Holidays matter," says Phipps. "And I think
that's likely to continue."
Buyers also want multiple bathrooms,
according to the survey. Nearly three-quarters want two or more.
And the figure jumps to 80 percent for repeat buyers.
Kitchens and bathrooms can still sell a house.
Buyers are looking for a little luxury and features
and treatments that are the highest quality the price range will
Investing in stainless-steel kitchen appliances, fine
wood cabinets and marble or similar quality counters "would
be money well-spent," says Charles McMillan, board member with
the National Association of Realtors and director of realty relations
for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dallas-Fort Worth,
Texas. "These are the types of amenities expected to be found
in homes that command the additional dollars."
In bathrooms, hot items include high-quality fixtures
and good tile. Also popular: pedestal sinks and free-standing (think
claw-foot) tubs, he says. "The separate tub and shower has
been a kind of standard for some time."
The survey also shows that buyers' tastes aren't uniform. Such factors
as the buyer's age, whether it's a first-home purchase and even
the region of the country alter the shopping list. And buyers who
are scouting new houses set different priorities than those looking
at existing homes.
Buyers age 44 and less tend to want homes in the suburbs
or in subdivisions, along with access to schools, parks and playgrounds.
Older buyers are more likely to want a home that is one story, less
than 10 years old, and have a flat lot and lawn sprinkler system.
They care more about proximity to a golf course and less about the
distance to parks or schools.
First-time buyers are less likely to place a lot of
value on some of the "extras," like walk-in closets in
the master bedroom, separate showers in the master bath, lawn sprinklers,
granite counters or oversized garages. They are also less likely
to include a single-story home or bedroom, on the main floor, on
their list of "must haves."