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The Most Desirable Home Features for 2013

Nice kitchens and bathrooms may sell houses, but today’s buyers want even more. In the study What Home Buyers Really Want, released by the National Association of Home Builders, buyers reveal what features are on their must-have lists―and what features would make them think twice about making an offer.

Green Homes Budget-conscious buyers are taking a long-term approach to saving money, choosing to spend a little extra on the purchase price of a home to lower their monthly energy bills. For these buyers, energy efficiency is in demand. Ninety-four percent of buyers cite energy-star rated appliances as the feature they most desire, while 89 percent want their future homes to have energy-star rated windows. An energy-star rating for the whole house would impress 91 percent of all buyers. However, one of the key ways to please budget-conscious buyers is also one of the most affordable; ceiling fans are a minor investment, but 88 percent of buyers want them in their future homes.

Chores and Storage Utilitarian spaces are neglected by sellers but coveted by buyers. A laundry room is on the wish list of 93 percent of buyers in the study; 57 percent wouldn’t buy a house unless it has a room dedicated to washing and folding clothes. Storage is also a coveted commodity. Ninety percent of buyers want linen closets in their bathrooms, while 85 percent want walk-in pantries in their kitchens. Large garages, meanwhile, are seen as more than just parking spots. Eighty-six percent of buyers want storage space in their garages.

It’s the Small Things that Count Many sellers think extravagant upgrades will get their house sold, but the study found that buyers are focused on the practical. Seventy percent of buyers think an elevator in the home is more of a hindrance than a convenience. An outdoor kitchen also fails to wow buyers, with 31 percent saying they prefer their home to have only one indoor kitchen. But a simple bathroom fan makes the study’s most-wanted list; 53 percent of buyers think a bathroom fan is essential, while 37 percent think it is desirable.

Smart Renovations Forty percent of buyers dislike laminate countertops in the kitchen, and 30 percent are against ceramic tile counters, making quartz or granite work surfaces a wise investment. A little bit of nighttime curb appeal also goes a long way; 90 percent of buyers want exterior lighting to brighten up the front and back yards of their future home. Walk-in showers are considered a luxury; no homeowner should rip out a tub to make room for a walk-in shower, since 51 percent of buyers won’t buy a home if the master bathroom is missing a tub. By renovating with home buyers’ wants in mind, sellers can improve their odds of getting an acceptable offer.

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