As homebuyers, we seem to innately know what we desire in a home. But when it comes to selling your house, it tends to be more challenging to determine what improvements and design features will get us the biggest bang for our buck.
According to a 2019 report conducted by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, in 2017 homeowners spent an average of $12,361 on home improvements and upgrades, including kitchens and bathrooms. This was the most discretionary funds spent since 2006. But deciding exactly where and how to allocate those funds, especially to achieve the largest return on investment in the shortest amount of time when you decide to sell your home can be tricky.
Realtor.com recently conducted an in-depth study on what features were selling homes the fastest and for the most money. Their research team had a list of seventy features and amenities. They excluded amenities that were cost-prohibitive or that were difficult to achieve without a major remodel, such as vaulted ceilings.
Looking at all of the single family residences listed on their platform in February 2019, they included any home that had at least one of these coveted qualities, arriving at a final list of one million homes across the country. After calculating a national median list price and average days on market, they arrived at fifteen of the most profitable trends that help sell a home fast and for the most money.
The Top 15 Desirable Home Features
1. Gourmet kitchen
2. Theater room
3. Home gym
4. Three-car garage
5. Solar panels
6. Quartz counters
7. Exterior lighting
8. Tennis court
9. Home office
10. In-ground pool
12. Security system
14. Smart home features
15. Walk-in closet
Once upon a time, the kitchen was a purely utilitarian space. Today, it is the heart of the home showcasing high-end appliances, luxurious materials, and stunning fixtures including a large island with attractive yet low maintenance quartz counters (#6 on the list), a gas range, Sub-Zero refrigerator, and multiple sinks and ovens. The Realtor.com tam found that the brands that attract buyers include Bosch, Viking, Kohler, and Moen. An open kitchen that flows seamlessly into living and dining spaces is highly desired, and plays a starring role in the sale of a home. Chef’s kitchen often result in a sale price double that of homes lacking such a space.
Though their desirability is on the decline and these spaces were found in an average of only 1.3% of the listings studies, home theatres (#2) and dedicated fitness areas (#3) typically sold for twice that of the national median. These rooms enable homeowners to entertain and exercise in the comfort of their own home.
Making the list at #11, mudrooms have been slowing working their way up the desirability ladder. These dedicated spaces are an ideal transition from outdoors to in, especially in areas with inclimate weather. Homeowners are embracing these spaces by making them both functional and attractive, with built-in storage for coats, shoes, and bags as well as stylish benches and furnishing.
As more and more people work remotely, the home office (#9) continues its stature of a top design trend. A space filled with natural light, a pleasing view, and doors that can shut away noise when working are some of the most preferred amenities that attract buyers.
There’s been much talk about indoor-outdoor living but the top four outdoor amenities found to be the most desirable were the prestigious 3-car garage (#4), solar panels (#5), tennis courts (#8), and built-in swimming pools (#10). These home features tend to be the most costly, with solar panels running about $30,000 and tennis courts a whopping $50,000.
Buyers snapped up homes with large garages that enabled them to park multiple cars in addition to having ample storage space. Solar panels were highly valued by those looking for energy savings as well as buyers who want to reduce their carbon footprint. Solar panels were most sought after in California, Texas, and Arizona.
Buyers in warm locations either really want a pool or really don’t, so the rule of thumb for spending the money for an in-ground pool is to install it for your own enjoyment rather than as something with a huge ROI.
Potential homeowners love technology and they tend to be wowed by homes that have high-tech smart features (#14). Convenience and peace-of-mind are the drivers behind installing smart home security systems (#12). Being able to see who’s at your front door while you’re away, see inside your residence to check on pets or children, and even speaking to people remotely via technology like the Ring doorbell are techy trends buyers want. Other devices allow homeowners to control interior and exterior lighting (# 7) and thermostats, and establish interconnectivity of appliances, all with an app on their phone.
AMBIANCE & STORAGE
A fireplace (#13) was a huge draw for prospective buyers. Today’s fireplaces are easy to use, take up no interior space, and can add dramatic appeal to a living space. Spacious walk-in closets (#15) are still popular but are losing a bit of their luster as many people embrace the latest decluttering trends.
Not all renovations are created equal. If you are considering making improvements or updates to your home, The Dawn Thomas Team can assist in guiding you on which will get you the best return.