What are 3 or 4 design features or elements buyers are looking for in newer homes these days?

Asked by David Belman, Waukesha, WI Fri Jun 11, 2010

Looking for information from buyers or Real Estate Agents on what features they would like to see in new homes or homes built within the last 5 years.

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Heather Jard…, Agent, Madison, WI
Fri Jun 11, 2010
Don’t skimp on the master bath. Not a master shower, a master bath. Unreal how many builders I have heard tell me that they do not think a master bath is high on demand. They couldn’t be more wrong. I have had several buyers pass on a new construction because it did not have a master bath.
Second, if the grading allows give it exposure in the basement. It certainly does not need to be a walk out, but a couple of windows make the difference.
Lastly the kitchen is king and the open concept of kitchen flowing into family/living room would appear to be a feature every single buyer is looking for. At least in my portfolio!
1 vote
David Belman, Agent, Waukesha, WI
Mon Jun 21, 2010
Thanks to everyone that answered. I appreciate the feedback. Good overall design, no wasted space, focus on the master bath and kitchen all make a lot of sense, especially in today's economy. One thing that I was surprised to not hear mentioned was the rear entry area. Mudd rooms, cubbies, lockers, boot benches, and drop zones are becoming much more popular and requested on newer homes. The other feature that seems to be very en-vouge these days is a walk in pantry in the kitchen. We are the generation of Sam's club, Cosco etc. People need more storage space these days.
1 vote
Brad Koenig, Agent, Brookfield, WI
Fri Jun 11, 2010
Hello David
I would agree with Heather. I would take a look at the garage as well. I realize some lots don't allow for a 3 car garage but having a garage extra wide or deep is key for most of buyers. They want the extra storage for lawnmowers, bikes and so on.
1 vote
LJ, Both Buyer And Seller, Waukesha, WI
Tue Jun 22, 2010
From a buyer's point of view, I have to agree that the mudroom entrance of a home is important. That is a main source of entry for a family every day. I would prefer the laundry facilities to be just off the mudroom with a door that can close to hide the mess. Important features for me are a kitchen that is large enough for people to gather in with a walk-in pantry, a master bedroom with a spacious private bathroom, 9 foot ceilings, a built in desk with enough outlets to power chargers and a computer, and natural materials like wood and stone. I've also seen homes that have an extra wide upper hallway which is a nice feature. Lastly, and I think most importantly, a quality built home.
0 votes
Wallace Shea…, Agent, Weaverville Asheville, NC
Fri Jun 18, 2010
With the new economic reality I think right sizing and usage is important. Asheville has a strong green building scene. One of the fundamental concepts is make good use of space. You need to think about how every foot is used. Updating kitchen, baths, and thinking about flow are key. I often ask clients how do you plan to use this space.
0 votes
Eltarpo, , 10010
Fri Jun 18, 2010
My wife and I have been looking to buy in SC and have been dismayed by bad floor plans. Many -- even the majority-- of "open" floor plans with lavish open kitchens and master suites that we have seen are quite often really bad, because the builders are cramming them in as "features" rather than looking at how people are supposed to live in the house.

We've seen at least a half dozen homes in the >500K range with windows right next to the front door that look right into the home's toilets or right into the master bathtub. We've seen first floor master suites off the kitchen where the dining room should be. We've seen 4000 square foot homes in which the front door opens right into a high-end kitchen until you realize that whenever the sink, dishwasher or stove is in use, it completely blocks the pathway to the rest of the house. These houses had the recommended "features."

Personally, I like kitchens that are not constantly in view of guests and which are at least partially screened so they don't subject the family room to noise and cooking odors. We've lived in a "too open" loft and learned that when the vent fan was on, or a food processor was in use, it's impossible to watch television or concentrate on anything else. Open plans are cheaper and more profitable for builders -- so there's been quite a lot of PR for this trend -- but can be really tricky to live with if you're not careful. The "openness" of a plan is far less important than how traffic must flow through the house. I've seen apparently large open "great rooms" that require absurd furniture placement or else one blocks a traffic path.

Storage is a huge issue. I'd rather have smaller bathrooms and more storage. Too many plans think that storage only means bedroom closets. In fact, you need other closets or cabinets. Where are you gonna store your vaccuum, where will guests hang their coats? Do you have a pantry? Where is recycling stored?

Another very basic feature upon which builders often completely miss the mark: more electical outlets. Today we live with computers, cable boxes, and everyone has cell phones that need charging, yet even new homes have rooms that seem built on the assumption that no one needs to plug in anything but a lamp.

Tall ceilings matter -- they make the rooms seem much larger and brighter.

Good windows matter -- but it matters what they face. Builders seem to forget that windows "go both ways." I love a nice view and sunlight; I don't want to BE the view for neighbors or burglars. I've seen double-height picture windows that basically put the house's occupants on stagefor the neighbors all night, then roast and blind occupants all day with western sun, and which are so large it costs a fortune to control with shades, shutters or curtains. The same house with the same huge window might be spectacular facing a pretty view, but quite awful facing a main thoroughfare. Just as bad are lots with wonderful protected views upon which absurd houses are built without any windows facing the view!

And it goes without saying that the basic infrastructure and systems must be adequate, and reasonably durable and energy-efficient..

So, my point is this:..."design features" stuffed into a house should never be confused with "good design." Homebuyers like me want to buy a good design that fundamentally works.
0 votes
Maggie Hawk, Agent, New Smyrna Beach, FL
Thu Jun 17, 2010

The Buyers I work with want good storage, an open floor plan with split bedrooms, and the younger ones with children want separate spaces for the kids to play and the grown-ups to relax.

All the best,
Maggie Hawk, REALTOR
(386) 314-1149
Watson Realty Corp.
0 votes
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