Today's Home Buyer Trends

As signs that the economy is recovering appear, many homeowners are thinking about remodeling or upgrading to new spaces. But what does the current home buyer want? Real estate agents, builders, architects and interior designers say the answers are casual, comfortable, convenient, budget-friendly and environmentally conscious. What does that mean?

Large Kitchens: A large, open kitchen with an informal dining area is now a mainstay. People are not as inclined to pump extra money into a three- or four-car garage, but in the kitchen, people are willing to splurge. Specialized appliances like espresso machines, built-in steamers and high-end ranges also are in vogue.

Smart Rooms: Custom builders have noticed a 15% decrease in living space of newer homes, but an increase in functionality from rooms. The formal dining room is a dinosaur; today's buyers are more likely to want that space for a media room. Because more people are working from home at least part of the time, home offices are a great asset.

Bathrooms: Luxury baths with free-standing tubs and showers with unique water features are a big draw for home buyers. Couples with shared bathrooms are even leaning towards dual sinks, storage and counter space so they don't have to share. They also want privacy, including a separate toilet if it is within their budget.

Storage: Built-in bookshelves are out, giant master closets are in. Garage and pantry storage also are important.

Energy Efficiency: Some of the new homes being built now are 50% more efficient than those built five years ago. That could save up to $1,200 annually on utility bills. Window orientation and shading don't cost more money during building but bring huge savings. Features such as upgraded insulation cost more initially, but reduce energy costs long-term.

Outdoor Rooms: Many home buyers are trading indoor space for large outdoor living area. The slow economy has contributed to their popularity outdoor kitchens and fireplaces. Families are spending more time at home and are investing their money where it counts. Additionally, building an outdoor kitchen and entertainment space is less expensive than interior remodeling.

Flooring: Buyers are favoring tile and wood floors over carpet. There's a good reason for that! Carpet gets dirty and matted as it ages and no matter how well they're cleaned, they'll eventually have to be replaced. Wood flooring, on the other hand, can last for decades. If the bare floor isn't your style, an area rug can be put down and is much easier to replace than carpeting.

Thinking about buying a home or making upgrades to the home you reside in? Keep some of these ideas in mind, both for yourself and potential buyers if you ever have to move in the future.

Source: Home buyers change with the times

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