What’s Hot/What’s Not for Homebuyers in 2012

By
Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Real Estate - Montgomeryville

The “Great Recession” has brought a wave of practicality to home buying.  Smaller homes and “Green” homes are hugely popular.  As the cost of living seems to be soaring, buyers are looking for affordability and want lower mortgage payments, lower utility bills, and less maintenance/upkeep. 

Functionality is still key as buyers adapt to smaller homes.  And outdoor living/entertaining spaces are more popular than ever.

Here is a sampling of what will be popular with homebuyers in the coming year:

WHAT'S HOT

>  Spaces, Not Rooms:  Buyers still love open floor plans and spaces that can serve multiple purposes, especially since smaller houses are “in” right now.  It all boils down to being able to optimize the use of each and every space.

>  Walk-in Closets, Linen Closets, and Pantries: This is becoming increasingly important to buyers and walk-in storage areas are a must-have for many.  Considering the popularity of warehouse stores and how large quantities = great savings, it should come as no surprise that consumers need areas to store the bulk items they bring home.

>  Home Office/Technology Areas:  More and more people are working from home and spending countless hours in front of a computer and on the internet.  Great home office areas will appeal to most buyers, especially those that are well designed for more than one person, wired for technology and well designed to accommodate charging stations and scanners/printer/fax machines.

>  Large Kitchens with Big, Quiet, Energy-Efficient Appliances:  The kitchen always has and continues to be the heart of the home.  As people eat in and entertain at home, everything these days revolves around the kitchen.  Large islands for preparing food, doing homework, and casual dining are immensely popular.

Buyers are also realizing the savings of energy efficient appliances but they want the professional grade 6-burner stoves, ultra quiet exhaust hoods and dishwashers, large built-in refrigerators (again for warehouse size purchases), built-in ice makers and wine chillers.

>  Overall Energy Efficiency: This includes higher SEER HVAC units, higher R-value insulation in the attic and walls, and energy efficient windows and doors.  Reviled by interior decorators of the last decade, ceiling fans are making a comeback as they help to circulate the air and improve energy efficiency.

Plus any home utilizing “green” features such as solar energy, geothermal heating, or tank less hot water heaters would strongly appeal to a homebuyer in today’s market.

>  Air Quality:  Whole house filters, humidifiers, low VOC paint and flooring, and the absence of visible mold/moisture are pretty important to homebuyers as more families suffer from asthma and allergies.

>  2+ Car Attached Garages:  Despite the movement to smaller homes, garage space is becoming increasingly important to homebuyers.  A large garage offers additional storage, personal protection, safety, and ease of getting in and out in bad weather.  Plus as homeowners hold on to their cars longer, garages offer a place to shelter cars from the elements.

>  Updated Bathrooms with Trendy Features:  Of course every homebuyer loves updated bathrooms, but there are a few design features that buyers find particularly appealing these days:  vessel sinks mounted into antique cabinets, wall mounted faucets with dual handles, dual shower heads, hand-held sprayers for ease of cleaning tubs and showers, and lots of glass, stone and brushed nickel.  Any departure from “builder” grade fixtures is hugely popular.

WHAT'S NOT

>  Laminate Cabinets: Nearly 8 out of 10 homebuyers prefer solid wood cabinets particularly with some glass panel doors mixed in.

>  Formica or Tile Countertops: Formica has no “wow” factor and tile (namely the grout) is too hard to keep clean.  Three out of four homebuyers prefer granite, stone, or poured cement countertops.

>  Vinyl Siding: Buyers are trending toward other low-maintenance products that add more character and curb appeal such as manufactured stone, natural stone, and fiber-cement siding. 

>  Wallpaper and Wallpaper Borders:  Too many people have gone through the aggravation of removing wallpaper.  It is now a huge turnoff to buyers everywhere.

>  Wall to Wall Carpeting:  Homebuyers love the cleaner, sleeker look of hardwood and tile floors.  Plus they don’t want carpeting that will trap dust mites, pet dander, and such.  Bamboo, cork, Brazilian cherry and travertine tile are popular choices. 

Feel free to comment below and tell us what would be important to you if you were looking to buy a new home. 

 

Contact Scott Loper, Associate Broker, Realtor®, RE/MAX Realty Group at 215-513-1333 for help buying or selling a home in Lansdale, Harleysville, Hatfield, Souderton, Skippack, Collegeville, North Wales and the surrounding areas of Montgomery County of Pennsylvania. To Search for Homes For Sale in Montgomery County Click Here.

What’s Hot/What’s Not for Homebuyers in 2012 - Copyright © 2012, The Scott Loper Team, All rights reserved.

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Re-Blogged 2 times:

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  1. Praful Thakkar 01/29/2012 11:28 PM
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Rainmaker
598,882
Donne Knudsen
Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA - Simi Valley, CA
CalState Realty Services

Lisa - GREAT LIST!!!  As someone who has spent the last nine years working with primarily first time buyers, so many of these things have become must haves (especially lots of storage spaces) or have nots (especially wallpaper and popcorn ceilings).

Jan 26, 2012 12:34 PM #1
Rainmaker
414,563
The Scott Loper Team Lansdale & Harleysville PA Homes
Keller Williams Real Estate - Montgomeryville - Lansdale, PA

Thanks Donne!  Buyers needs do change over time.  It is interesting to see how tastes and wants/needs evolve.

Lisa

Jan 26, 2012 04:41 PM #2
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Patricia Kennedy
Evers & Company Real Estate, Inc. - Washington, DC
For Your Home in the Capital

Scott, this is a really great list.  It reflects exactly what my buyers are looking for - or not!

Jan 26, 2012 09:12 PM #3
Rainmaker
1,198,635
Tony & Darcy Cannon
Keller Williams Legacy - Woods Cross, UT
The C Team

Lisa, This is an interesting list.  It is great information to have especially to those who are building spec homes.  We have several builders who are building spec homes, so this is good information to pass along to them.

 

Jan 27, 2012 03:42 PM #4
Rainmaker
1,293,928
Carla Muss-Jacobs, Principal Broker/Owner
BuyersAgentPortland.com | (503) 810-7192 Portland Metro Exclusive Buyers Agent | 100% Buyer Representation ~ 100% o... - Portland, OR
Buyer Focused ~ Buyer Results

A great post and yes the tastes are different now.  But the homes and inventory might not be.  To each buyer with a lot on their laundry list, they have to be matched with inventory that is within their price points.  A lot of the older properties in my market area need a littile updating to match the wants. Sometimes buyers get a jolt of reality.

Jan 29, 2012 01:51 PM #5
Rainmaker
482,961
Jan Green
Scottsdale, Phoenix, Cave Creek, Carefree, Fountain Hills - Scottsdale, AZ
RE/MAX Excalibur Scottsdale REALTOR®, GREEN

Great list, and especially including green items.  As a green realtor I can tell you that the buying public is geared more than ever to indoor air quality for asthma and allergies, so lose the carpet, tighten up the house, and add new AC's.  Thanks for sharing!

Jan 29, 2012 02:10 PM #6
Rainmaker
549,152
Gretchen & Mel Ahrens
ColumbiaGorgeFSBO.com - Hood River, OR

Great list of what's in and what's not. I agree completely! I actually don't really like granite myself... cold and hard and busy... but when we were looking at homes, all the good ones had it so now we do, too.

Gretchen

Jan 29, 2012 06:25 PM #7
Rainmaker
525,059
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. "Said and Done!" - Merrick, NY
Long Island's South Shore Real Estate Agent

Suggested. I'd say you've hit it on the head with these lists. That's exactly what's turning buyers on and off.

Jan 29, 2012 07:50 PM #8
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Patricia Kennedy
Evers & Company Real Estate, Inc. - Washington, DC
For Your Home in the Capital

Hey,Scott!

I included this post in Last Week's Favorites.  Have a great week.

Jan 29, 2012 08:57 PM #9
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Ellie McIntire
Ellicott City Clarksville Howard County Maryland Real Estate - Ellicott City, MD
CDPE, Howard County Homes for Sale

I think it's generational. Our parents loved wallpaper and shag carpets, the buyers today want nothing to do with that.

Jan 29, 2012 09:25 PM #10
Rainmaker
583,220
Susan Neal
RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker

Hi Lisa - I remember when ads would shout "Wall-to-wall carpeting!!"  And now when I show homes with carpeting they want to know if there is hardwood underneath so they can rip out the carpet.

Jan 29, 2012 10:38 PM #11
Rainmaker
609,866
Joy Daniels
Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd. - Harrisburg, PA

In my experience - I would have to agree!  Great list - thanks for putting it together and sharing!

Jan 29, 2012 11:09 PM #12
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Praful Thakkar
Keller Williams Realty - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Scott, Lisa - nice observation. In fact, I check with my buyers on what they want in their home --- and the list is no different than this one!

Jan 29, 2012 11:26 PM #13
Rainer
177,469
Rosalie Evans
Meritus Group Real Estate - Sioux Falls, SD
The Evans Group, Sioux Falls, SD Homes For Sale

Well this list applies very well to here too! The one thing I am surprised about in my market is that it is so hard to find a house without carpet. You are almost assured that if you do find one that the owner has major allergies! I also do not see as much air purification products as you would think. You would think people would be more concerned considering that indoor air quality is so toxic!

Jan 30, 2012 02:46 AM #14
Rainmaker
1,649,436
Debbie Gartner
Floor Coverings International Westchester NY & Stamford CT - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl - Westchester hardwood flooring

Scott - What a great list!  I came here via Pat's blog.  I will definitely reblog this as it applies to my readers.

Jan 30, 2012 05:53 AM #15
Rainmaker
1,411,946
Anita Clark
ColdwellBanker SSK Realtors ~ 478.960.8055 - Warner Robins, GA
Realtor - Homes for Sale in Warner Robins GA

This is a good list of what works and what doesn't in today's real estate markets...good re-blog choice Debbie.

Jan 30, 2012 05:57 AM #16
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Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Scott-I love this list... very practical and eco-friendly reflecting what's going on with our economy and the state of mind of the public.   I'm all for getting rid of so much carpeting!

Jan 30, 2012 06:23 AM #17
Rainmaker
313,710
Sandy Acevedo
951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

This is a really great list. It is always good to know what the trends are. We can pass this info on to clients when they renovate.

Jan 30, 2012 11:26 AM #18
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