The National Association of Home Builders has released its Home Buyers Survey for 2019, indicating the top features home buyers want most. Although extremely helpful for new home builders, homeowners who are thinking about selling should also pay attention.
The survey identifies 175 items that are rated “essential”, “desirable”, “indifferent” and (just as important) “do NOT want”. An interesting note is that, while baby boomers trended along with general home buyers in desirables, they have stronger opinions about what they do and do not want.
Some features are not surprises – energy efficiency shows up (explicitly or implied) as four of the top 10 items. Surprisingly, laundry rooms are at the top of the essential features buyers want. Although this factors in with the other items baby boomers desire – smaller homes with single-level living and open floor plans. Having a laundry room keeps clutter out of view and helps keep smaller homes organized. Ceiling fans are also big – arguably consistent with the energy efficiency theme.
Also, consistent with baby boomers’ desire for one-level living, elevators were rated the least desirable feature in a home – one that would cause them not to buy it. Although – another surprise – this was not as much of a deal killer of buyers from other age groups.
We also learn from the survey what items will discourage a sale. All are certainly subjective, but informative. Percentages who said “No”:
Elevator – 74%
Wine Cellar – 69%
Second-story Family Room – 59%
Dual Toilets in Master Bath – 57%
While this survey can guide new home construction, by building in features from the start, it also can help sellers of existing homes. Adding a laundry room is not on the list of the best returns for home improvement projects. However, there may be other areas in the home that can be converted easily – like a closet in a bathroom with room for a stackable. Or, even the garage might be an option. Access to utilities will determine the ease and expense of such an addition.