What Homebuyers Want

Buying a new home is an exciting endeavor. Most buyers think about the house as a whole when they start looking, but it turns out that particular home features exert a big influence on the final decision.

The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® 2013 Profile of Buyers’ Home Feature Preferences examined which features buyers prefer when purchasing a new home and includes preferences for different age groups and areas of the country.

Spoiler alert: Southerners value air conditioning.

The Typical Home Buyer
Overall, the typical, recently purchased home was 1,860 square feet and built in 1996. Average buyers also purchased three-bedroom, two-bath homes. Slightly over half of the homes purchased were on a single level.

Seventy-eight percent of all buyers surveyed purchased a home with a garage.

Central air-conditioning was the most important feature out of all 33 features in the survey. Second most important was a walk-in closet in the master bedroom. Close behind was the desire for a home that was cable-, satellite TV-, and/or Internet ready as well as an en suite master bedroom.

When it came to the actual home purchase, 94 percent of buyers who thought air-conditioning, walk-in closets and cable-ready homes were important bought a home with the above-mentioned features.

Area of the country strongly influenced what buyers valued in a home.

Southerners tended to buy newer homes, and would like one less than five years old, preferably in a wooded lot. In addition to desiring air conditioning, it’s a safe bet that the wooded lot is also necessary for keeping the home cool. Southerners tended to buy bigger homes at 2,000 square feet.

Midwesterners want garages and basements. Protection from snow and tornadoes perhaps?

Northeasterners also want basements and highly value hardwood floors. They also placed more importance on having a dining room.

Age and Marital Status
Buyers 55 and older wanted single-level homes, as did single women.

Single women also tended to buy older homes.

Single men and married couples wanted new kitchen appliances.

Single men wanted finished basements.

Buyers aged 35 to 54 placed great importance on having a laundry room.

We’ll Pay More!
Sixty-nine percent of buyers who didn’t purchase a home with air conditioning would be willing to pay $2520 more for a home with this feature.

Sixty-nine percent of buyers also would pay more for a home with new kitchen appliances–$1840 more.

Sixty percent of buyers without a walk-in closet would pay $1350 more for a home with this feature.

Thirty-two percent of buyers were willing to pay $5420 more for a home on the water.

Forty percent of buyers would pay $5020 more for a home that was less than five years old.

Sixty-three percent of buyers would pay $1590 more for a home with a laundry room.

Forty-four percent would pay $1920 more for a home with a den/study/home office/library.

Within three months of buying their new homes, many buyers were hard at work making changes—53% undertook a home improvement project within this time frame.

The typical buyer spent $4550 on various projects. Kitchen remodels were the most common and bathrooms were a close second. Two other common improvements were replacing lighting and kitchen appliances.

Despite the satisfaction level of all new home owners, there were usually features buyers still desired such as larger closets, more storage, a larger kitchen and a larger home in general.

Happiness levels aside, the bigger home down the block is always appealing. That’s just human nature.

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