Sarasota Realtors Robert and Valerie Orr
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Features Buyers Most Want In A Home

If you're a homeowner who is seriously considering putting your property on the market, you ought to know the features which buyers most want. Sure, location is always a big factor, but with today's technologies, more and more people are working from home and commute, while still part of the equation, do not have as much impact as they did in the past. Consumers have become accustomed to better living, so it should come as no surprise, that's what's most sought.

Now is a great time to sell because the market here in Sarasota, as well as across Florida, and the nation, are experiencing some of the lowest interest rates in history. What's more, while home values have been recovering nicely over the past few years, prices are still affordable. Economists are expecting interest rates to fall further, decreasing from the current 4 percent 30-year loan and the 3.16 percent 15-year loan. In addition, those rates, while likely to go down, will begin to rise as the months tick off the calendar in the new year.

Not only is the timing right, but so is the overall trend in home purchases, which strongly favors homes with great, up-to-date features, especially those which deliver a better quality of life and save money every month. The fix-up home craze which came on strong during the first year and after following the housing market collapse is long gone. Buyers now want move-in ready.

Home Improvements with Poor Return on Investment

If you are going to sell your home, you should not only know what buyers most want, but what they don't place high on their must-have list. There are some things which turn-off buyers and for those who are willing to accept them, bring a poor return on investment. If these exist in your home, you would do very well to change them now, before you list your home for sale.
You've heard the real estate adage 'location, location, location' as the golden rule of a home's desirability. But today, homebuyers are thinking 'features, features, features' -- ones that add 'convenience, livability and energy efficiency' to a home, according to a recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders. Inspired by HGTV real estate shows and by images of gorgeous home designs on Pinterest, buyers -- especially younger buyers who want a home to be turnkey, not needing upgrades or repairs. --Daily

Let's look at the home improvements which bring the least return on investment and topping the list, is generally an easy fix: a bedroom that's been converted to be something other than a bedroom. Surprisingly, one of the least desired is something that's counterintuitive, is a sunroom. Sure, we're located in the Sunshine State, but an all-out sunroom brings back just 48 cents on the dollar. The reason is these additions tend to be an energy drain and buyers are leery of higher monthly costs. Hot tubs and spas also don't perform in stellar fashion when it comes to ROI, as well as home office remodels.

Top Features Buyers Most Want in a Home

The features which buyers most want probably won't come as a surprise, especially if you put yourself in a buyer's shoes. If you're home is missing these, it's at a disadvantage, and, unfortunately, some of these you can't control. The Demand Institute, a non-profit organization run by the Conference Board and Nielsen surveyed 10,000 people and found the most wanted features buyers put at the top of their list:

  • Energy efficiency. Since the year 2000, home utility costs have increased by a stunning 56 percent. A full 71 percent of participants in the study put energy efficiency at the very top of their must-have list. Window replacement and new insulation does the trick nicely.

  • Up-to-date houses. Of those in the survey, 67 percent stated a home which is up-to-date is high on their list when considering potential homes they would ultimately purchase.

  • High-end kitchens. What will come as a bit of a shock is that while 62 percent of buyers do prefer kitchens with high-end features, total kitchen remodels don't perform as well.

  • Safe neighborhoods. Also making the list is a safe neighborhood, which a whopping 83 percent want most. Here again, not much of a surprise.

  • Privacy. For 63 percent of the respondents, privacy was a big concern and homes that offer it fared best.

  • Plenty of space. Since acquiring stuff and then storing it is a reality in so many homes, 55 percent said that space is a huge factor in their decision to buy a particular home.

Also making the top of the list is a home which will grow its equity and its overall value for a good return on investment when it comes time to sell in the future. Though that goes into the "obvious" category, what's surprising is that 76 percent want a home they can stay in after retirement.