The Covid pandemic has reshaped the housing market with a migration from cities to suburbs and a supply/demand shift that has quickly driven up prices in many areas. But while today’s buyers may be looking in different places and in greater numbers, some things haven’t changed. They are still prioritizing many of the same features as their predecessors.
“Location, location, location” is the mantra many homebuyers live by. According to a Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report, buyers look for these neighborhood characteristics:
- 82% wanted a safe neighborhood.
- 60% wanted to be able to walk around in the neighborhood.
- 53% wanted to be near shopping, services and leisure activities.
- 52% wanted a short commute to schools or work.
- 48% said a sense of community was very, or extremely important.
- 46% wanted to be near family and friends.
- 43% said being in a preferred school district was very, or extremely important.
Finding a house that is affordable is still a priority. While low interest rates have made borrowing terms more attractive, the price of housing has increased. The net result is that those shopping for a new house might have to search for a longer period of time. This just emphasizes the need for patience.
As for amenities, here are the top 12 that are still important to today’s homebuyers.
1. Updated Kitchens and Baths
People spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and updated baths have always been important. According to a recent survey conducted by the Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc., 81% of respondents pointed to updated kitchens and baths as the most important feature when deciding whether or not to buy a home.
2. Open Floor Plans
Open floor plans offer a less confined living environment that facilitates functionality. For those looking to entertain, open floor plans encourage mingling and party flow. As more people work from home though, his and her Zoom rooms are rising in popularity.
3. Air Conditioning
Whether you live in a warm climate or one that has a change of seasons, air conditioning is nice on those hot days. Central systems make it easier to maintain and control and are more aesthetically appealing than window units.
4. Energy Efficiency
The green movement is here to stay, and energy efficient windows, insulation, heating systems or solar panels are all things that can help not only the planet but your personal energy costs as well. After paying up for a house, buyers are looking for sustainable ways to keep other costs down.
5. Low Maintenance Features
A low maintenance home goes hand in hand with energy efficiency. For first time homebuyers, it’s hard enough to come up with the down payment and the monthly mortgage payment. Many just don’t have the extra money to care for a lot of after purchase costs.
The search for more tech-friendly residences is one of the things driving people out of New York City. With record numbers of people working from home, buyers are looking for a strong, dependable Wi-Fi connection and good cell service. It is easier to look for this in another house than to try to retrofit the old house.
7. Curb Appeal
This goes to the old adage “You never get a second chance to make another first impression.” Homebuyers want to have a certain “wow factor,” a sense that their house is something special. Things like plantings, landscaping, a new front door, new stonework, a new portico or even outdoor lighting that can enhance the view from the street.
8. Bringing the Outdoors In
Examples of this would be open porches where you can sit and have breakfast or have a cocktail party – or stone patios with grills and outdoor furniture. Another nicety that buyers want is natural light that comes in from above.
9. Laundry Rooms
With two income families, the laundry can pile up. In many cases people are just too busy to do laundry every day. A laundry room gives you a place to store the laundry in between runs so the house stays clean. Many buyers specifically look for a laundry room on the first or second floor so they don’t have to carry bins down to the basement and back up.
10. Garage Area That Can Work as Storage
The house can get cluttered up pretty quickly. Having a garage, preferably an attached garage, that can store your items is a big attraction.
11. Walk-In Pantry
For homebuyers that shop for food at Costco, BJ’s or some other co-op that sells food in large quantities, having a large pantry to store the large purchases is a plus. Also, today’s lifestyle doesn’t lend itself to frequent shopping. Households where two people work are likely to show more sporadically and need room to store the food for a longer period of time.
12. General Suitability
This category includes things like neutral coloring, high ceilings for air flow, lots of natural light and an entranceway that makes a good first impression.
It isn’t likely that you will find a house with all these criteria, but this list can serve as a starting point. It is important to prioritize what is important to your family before you go out looking. A lot of negotiation goes into buying a house. Some of that negotiation is between spouses or even between oneself. Having things pre-prioritized can make these negotiations easier.
Contact EMM Loans for a Mortgage Loan
Once you have an idea of what you want in a home, it’s a good idea to also think about how to finance the purchase. If you are looking for a home loan, the experts at EMM Loans can make the process easy for you. Contact us today.