What do home buyers want?

There’s an old adage in real estate that suggests buyers want “Location, Location, Location”. But once a buyer settles on location, what are some of the key characteristics they’re looking for in a home?

It’s important for a seller to look at this from the buyer’s perspective. While you may be selling your HOME, the buyer is evaluating a number of HOUSES. All buyers keep a kind of ledger in their minds about the houses they see. They mentally tick off the amenities that they are looking for on one side of that ledger. On the other side of the ledger, they jot down the cost of missing amenities. Buyers will always compare houses, and do the mental calculations regarding particular features. As they work through each property, buyers start to see a HOUSE becoming their HOME.

As you think about selling your home, here are 7 things to consider from the buyers perspective…

1. Neutral décor

A potential buyer will likely see many houses on their journey to their next home. As a starting point, think in terms of the colour palette of your home, and whether it will appeal to a broad cross-section of buyers. If your home is ‘personally’ decorated, perhaps with rich and vibrant colours, it will be more difficult for potential buyers to see themselves in your space. It’s been said that, “Colour is for living, and neutral is for selling”. Often buyers are willing to pay more for a home with a well co-ordinated, but neutral, colour scheme.

2. Upgraded modern kitchen

The heart of the home has always been the kitchen. This is even truer today, where the kitchen is the epicenter of both daily living and entertaining. Buyers will be looking for high-end countertops (one study reported 55% of buyers would pay more for a house with granite countertops), stainless steel appliances, and perhaps an island. For the buyer, houses with newer and more feature laden kitchens rank higher on the list of possible homes.

3. Hardwood floors

Many buyers are specifically searching for houses with hardwood floors, and generally expect to pay more for them. Their preference is driven by the rich look, cleanliness and reduced allergens.

4. Open concept living

Frank Lloyd Wright was an early advocate of open concept living; his designs were based on a centralized kitchen, which opened to other spaces of the home. Todays’ buyers are searching for the same thing…. an updated kitchen open to the dining room and living space. Not only does the open concept make a smaller house feel larger, it also makes for ease of entertaining, and for keeping an eye on the kids.

5. Home office

Buyers in our ‘always-on’ culture often seek a dedicated space for a home office. Even if they don’t work from home on an ongoing basis, they may place a high value on a room or an area where they can work in relative solitude, while dedicating space to a computer and printer. Depending on the number of bedrooms and the house layout, it may be worthwhile to stage a usable space as a possible home office.

6. Energy efficiency, including home automation

In keeping with the green movement, buyers are seeking ways to conserve both energy and cost. Upgrades such as high efficiency furnaces and air conditioners, energy efficient appliances and windows, and low flow toilets will touch a responsive chord with buyers. A recycling centre in the kitchen or mudroom, and home automation will further showcase home efficiency.

7. Smart storage options

Buyers really love smarter spaces in the home that promote organization and reduce clutter. Custom cupboards in the laundry room, a pantry in the kitchen, and/ or well-designed walk-in closets (particularly in the master bedroom) are key selling features. Homebuyers want help with organization, so highlight your storage space by keeping it free of clutter.

As you step back and put yourself in the buyer’s shoes, consider their journey from seeing a house to seeing a home. If you would like to chat about bringing the vision to reality, I’d be happy to do so. I can be reached at 905-467-0830, or john.slauenwhite@century21.ca

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John Slauenwhite

John Slauenwhite

Sales Representative
CENTURY 21 Miller Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage*
Contact Me