It’s a nice problem to have if money is no object when you are looking at real estate listings in Windsor Ontario. A recent survey indicated that buyers with unlimited financial resources wanted the following when buying a property:
1. A “wired” home
2. Outdoor, garden oasis, including fireplace, kitchen and separate guest home
3. Two story foyer
4. Kitchen with wine cooler and “warming drawer”
5. Wet bar
6. Exercise/game room
This study also indicated that many wealthy buyers would give up square footage in order to have a home that has more character, land, shorter commute and easier access to shopping and dining. Once again, all buyers, regardless of income, want location, location, location!
But what does the “average” buyer want in a home? Many of the above amenities are not included in this buyer’s “must have” list, but rather in their “wish” list or not at all. What is similar: again, location. Let me repeat that living in a good, safe, respectable neighbourhood with good schools and close proximity to entertainment and shopping is usually the number one item on every buyer’s list. But for buyers looking at more mid-range homes, the following is usually on their list after location:
Walk-in closets, ample cabinets, linen closets, kitchen pantries are what buyers like to see. They want to move into a home that provides them the opportunity to get organized.
2. Nice appliances:
Mid-range buyers don’t expect top of the line appliances or a cook’s kitchen, but they do want nice, newer models, preferably in stainless steel or a look that compliments the kitchen.
3. Dual bathroom sinks: Average home buyers don’t demand a spa-like bathroom, but they almost all want dual sinks and modern faucets and fixtures.
4. Quality flooring:
This includes hardwood, nice carpeting (neutral colours) and nicer tile. It is one of the very first things a buyers notice. If flooring needs to be changed, buyers see dollar signs.
5. Earth tone colours:
Again, buyers want to see rooms that flow together with nice paint colours. Tan, off whites, grays and other neutral colours are very, very popular with buyers.
6. Open kitchen/family rooms:
Even in older, more traditional homes, buyers still want an open floor plan, one that combines the family room and kitchen together. The reasons are obvious as families like to entertain, keep in closer contact and spend the majority of their time in a central location.
7. Play room:
Having said that open floor plans are more popular with today’s buyer, a separate play room is also on most lists that we see today. Family togetherness is a good thing, but so is a little bit of privacy.
8. Recessed lighting/pendant:
Let’s put it this way, buyers don’t like anything that looks too dated, especially with older lighting, such as flourescent and track lighting that was popular in the 70’s and 80’s. Sconces are also popular as our dimmer switches.
9. Natural light:
And the most popular lighting of all is a home that is filled with natural light. Homes that are dark are huge turn-offs to buyers. This is why we strongly suggest that sellers open windows and leave every light on before every a showing.
10. Curb appeal:
Finally, buyers like to see curb appeal. They don’t demand high-end landscaping, but rather, mid-range buyers want to see a home that is well-kept. That means a mowed lawn, pulled weeds, shrubs and bushes that are neatly cut back, seasonal flowers and mulch. Believe it or not, mulch makes a huge impression on buyers because it pulls together the landscaping.
What are the items that immediately make a buyer, in any price range, cringe?
Anything that looks like the 70’s, such as avocado appliances, shag carpeting, formica countertops, gold-toned trim, older faucets, dark wood paneling, over-the-top window treatments, ugly wallpaper, bright, bold paint colours in yellow, pinks and blues and walnut cabinets.
If your home is filled with all of the above, then be prepared to lower the price of your property or, at the very least, make some home improvements. A gallon of paint works wonders and removing wallpaper can be the best home improvement you can make.
Again, buyers who are getting ready to look for a home, should always make a list about what home features are important to them. But almost always, based on trends today, professional real estate agents know what is popular and what is not with buyers. The good news is that sellers are educated and if they can, they will make the improvements before listing their home.