Top Items on a Future Home Buyer's Wish List

Granite counter tops? His-‘n-her sinks? Large backyard? Mud room? All the above? Do you know what items top a future home buyer’s wish list? Although every home buyer is different, according to a current survey by the National Association of REALTORS©, there are certain items that are in high demand from a significant number of potential buyers. Here are the findings in no particular order: 

  • Affordability: Raise your hand if you want to pay a lot of money for a property? No one ever does. But with the decrease in jobs, the higher cost of everyday items, and the relatively recent 2007 recession, in addition with the new Ability to Repay mortgage qualification rules, everyone is watching their pennies. It’s no wonder that a home’s affordability belongs on most home buyers’ wish list. 
  • Commute: Travel to work, travel home from work, drop off children, get groceries, visit your parents…the list of regular car trips that you make is endless. Therefore, the location of a home in relation to frequent commuting stops is also an important factor when deciding on a home. 
  • Won’t you be my neighbor?: As the saying goes, you can buy your home but you cannot buy your neighbors. You can, however, make sure that the neighborhood in general meets your needs – is it close to reliable services that you use on a regular basis, what is the state of the homes in the surrounding area, is the area in a state of decline or betterment? These factors can help you determine if a home meets the requirements of your home buyer’s wish list. 
  • Green is the way to go: As energy prices continue to soar and citizens become more concerned about the state of the environment, it’s no surprise that energy efficiency also makes the home buyer’s wish list. In particular, buyers have indicated that there are four main areas where energy efficiency is key: appliances, windows, home insulation, and ceiling fans. 
  • Open concept: A must-have for many families, open concept has been popular home layout for a number of years now. It provides efficient and convenient space when entertaining family and friends, lets parents keep an eye on the kids while preparing dinner, and allows people to chat much more easily. 
  • Mortgage pre-approval and financing: It’s one thing to find the home of your dreams, it’s another to be able to pay for it. Considering the new underwriting and qualifying ratio rules, it is more important than ever that any home buyer become pre-approved as soon as they can so that they know how much they are allowed to borrow. This information will let them determine if they can afford the house of their dreams. 
  • School district: Many of those future home buyers are either parents or plan on becoming parents in the near future. Consequently, the quality of the schools in the area is crucial – so crucial, in fact, that the survey mentioned above indicated that 45% of potential home buyers would be willing to pay a higher price for a property belonging to a quality school district. 
  • Long-term stay: The advent of the “starter home” idea began with buyers purchasing a smaller home, then waiting between 7-10 years to buy a larger that better suited their needs. These days, home owners are planning on staying their homes longer – now for 15 years on average. Consequently, those home buyers are wanting features that allow for a longer stay. 

No two buyers are the same, and therefore, no two home buyer’s lists will be the same. However, there are commonalities with what a large percentage of future home buyers do want. Make note of these items to help you work with your clients for personal and professional fulfillment.

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