Thinking about listing your home for sale? Do you wonder if your home has what it takes to attract today’s buyer and be competitive on the market? Are you guessing that you may need to add some upgrades before you list?
Homeowners struggle with this kind of problem all the time. On one hand, sellers usually only recoup somewhere between 51%-78% on most of their renovations, so they don’t want to sink a lot of money into upgrades they’ll never enjoy. On the other, you don’t want your house to sit on the market longer than necessary because it’s missing a few critical amenities that are on everybody’s wishlist. Plus, in a competitive market, having the right amenities can open the door to multiple bids on a home — which translates to more cash for the seller.
Whether you’re getting ready to list or you’re just thinking ahead as you decide what upgrades are worth your money in the long run, here are the top five amenities that homebuyers are looking for today:
1. A Home Office
Long before the COVID-19 pandemic forced many people to master working from home, the home office was already gaining in importance. With so many people working remotely at least part of the time these days, it’s no longer enough to offer a corner nook in the kitchen or a converted closet where a desk can be set. People are looking for home offices with all the bells and whistles that will make their lives easier.
A home office should be dedicated space that’s designed for a mix of efficiency and comfort. For top marks, make sure that it’s equipped with cable access and has plenty of outlets for electronics. Built-in shelving for books or storage could also be a bonus.
2. Smart Features
Technology is becoming ever more deeply integrated into everyday life all the time. Young buyers, who have mostly never lived in a time when they weren’t using the latest technology, are increasingly likely to want homes that have all the latest smart upgrades.
Integrated technology and the “internet of things” can make it possible for a homeowner to control everything from their home security and their curtains to temperature settings and appliances with voice commands or a touch on their smartphones. The more that your home is wired into the web or otherwise technologically enhanced, the better. If you want to scale things up a bit, consider adding things like automated sprinklers for the yard and lighting features (both indoors and out) that can also be controlled by voice commands.
3. Energy Efficiency
There’s no way to overstate how important energy efficiency is to today’s homebuyer. Partially, homebuyers want to find ways to limit their utility costs as much as possible. Savvy buyers have long looked for energy-efficient windows and plenty of insulation when they’re searching for a home, as well as things like programmable thermostats for winter and ceiling fans that improve air circulation in the summer. Energy-efficient air conditioning is also a must.
However, today’s buyer is also much more environmentally conscious than buyers were in the past. They want homes that have Energy Star-rated kitchen appliances and bathroom fixtures that conserve water. They’re also looking for homes with high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, energy-efficient lighting and sources of renewable energy, like solar panels. These kinds of upgrades may not be flashy, but they won’t disappoint you.
4. Game and Theater Rooms
Forget about a “she-shed” or a “man-cave” that’s geared around one person. Today’s home hunters are really looking for houses with a room that the whole family can enjoy — and they don’t mean the living room. Game and movie rooms may become even more important in a post-pandemic world as families spend more time hunkered down at home during the cold and flu seasons.
You really can’t go wrong, as long as you end up with a space that makes people look forward to staying home. Given the number of young would-be homeowners out there, you may want to skip the wet bar and focus on creating a space that’s designed with kids (or kids-at-heart) in mind. A wide-screen television, theater-style seats, lots of storage space and easy access to power sources and the internet are “must-haves” in today’s game room.
5. Outdoor Living Space
Some homebuyers want a fenced-in yard where the kids can play with the dogs. Others are looking for enough space for a koi pond and a small vegetable garden. Some just want a spot on a patio where they can cook on the grill or read a book. Whatever their particular vision, homebuyers today see the area around a home as extended living space — and they want it to be both comfortable and functional.
If you’re aiming for something that will definitely take the appeal of your home up a notch, go beyond a simple patio and add some amenities that feel truly luxurious, like an outdoor kitchen or a stone fireplace with seating for guests. Fencing in your yard is also a simple way to make your home more attractive — especially to young buyers who are starting families or buyers with pets.
Remember: When people see your home, you want them to be able to picture themselves living in it. That means keeping pace with the way that modern times have changed how families live, work and play when they’re at home and reflecting those changes as you make your upgrades.