In the National Association of House Builders' 2006 consumer survey, "What 21st Century House Buyers Want," prospective homebuyers offered their opinions on what they most look for in a new house. You may want to see if you can accommodate their desires.
• They want larger houses with a great deal of open space; they specially favor large, open kitchens and family rooms that flow seamlessly together without any walls or doors separating them.
• Upscale features like high ceilings and kitchen islands are popular.
• A front porch, deck or patio adds to a house's marketability.
• Laundry rooms are considered essential in new houses.
• Nearly 40 percent of the respondents said they would like a minimum of four bedrooms, though 49 percent would accept three (This is of particular note if you are thinking about turning a den or study into a bedroom!).
• Twenty-five percent of respondents said they wanted at least a three-car garage, despite the cost.
• Walk-in pantries and light wood cabinets are more desirable in kitchens.
• New bathrooms with fancier features are popular. A separate shower enclosure, water temperature control, a whirlpool tub and dressing room were features respondents positively ranked.
• Forty-six percent want a sunroom.
Perhaps most telling is that respondents feel spaciousness is highly desirable; therefore, in decorating your house for walkthroughs, remember to keep everything open.
Buyers also like a well-lit and bright-looking houses, as well as distinctive features, such as sun rooms and bathrooms with separate shower enclosures, that can still be decorated beautifully with less expensive fixtures.
In case you were wondering, as sellers, how to improve or redecorate, those are good pointers to take.