10 Things Today’s Buyers Look for in a Home

  1. Quality of the neighborhood. While neighborhood choice varies by household, almost all homebuyers are interested in hearing their agent’s ideas about the neighborhood and surrounding houses they consider. If you’re a buyer using a company with multiple agents, do not hesitate to ask for multiple opinions if you feel that will make you more confident in your decisions. 
  2.  Convenience to job. Homes that are close to work enhance work-life balance; however, a short distance does not automatically mean a short amount of time. Be sure to discuss traffic with your agent if you’re planning to buy a home in a suburb and drive into a nearby city for work each day. Your agent is likely to have good insight on the easiest/quickest routes to take as well as estimated travel time to reach your destination. 
  3.  Overall affordability of a home. Job markets are tight right now, and many retirement funds have been eroded due to the Great Recession. Ideally, it is important to keep housing related costs at no more than 1/3 of your pre-tax income. 
  4.  Quality of schools. Nearly 45% of buyers today are willing to pay a premium for quality schools. Don’t hesitate to ask your realtor and his colleagues for their opinions on surrounding schools.  
  5. Homes suited for the next 15 years. Five years ago, buyers were looking for homes to live in for 10 years. Today, buyers are more often looking for homes to live in for 15 years. This aspect is where a thorough home inspection comes into play. Know what will need to be replaced and how soon before you commit to buying a home.
  6.  A mortgage. Getting a mortgage can be a challenge in today’s tight credit environment. Talk to your agent about potentially considering homes below what you may qualify for in order to bump up your loan to value ratio. 
  7.  Energy efficiency. This has become increasingly important to buyers as the economy has weakened over the past years. Recent surveys by the National Association of Homebuilders indicate that 94% of home buyers want energy-star rated appliances, 91% want energy-star rating for the whole home, 89% want energy-star rated windows, and 88% want ceiling fans. 
  8.  Open floor plans. The newest generation of homeowners especially puts emphasis on the ability to host and entertain within their homes. More space means more room for friends and family to enjoy themselves. 
  9.  High ceilings. They not only look better, but also function better than lower ceilings. Aesthetically, they give the home a more grandeur appearance; and functionally, they promote better air circulation and allow more natural light to occupy the room. 
  10.  Technology. The newest generation of homeowners might value technology and syncing of home electronics to smartphones even more so than the traditional important aspect of curb appeal.