What Buyers Want!
Christine Rae, CSPM
Even though there are oodles of TV shows illustrating what buyers expect today for their money, many sellers and real estate agents are reluctant to embrace the advice of knowledgeable staging professionals. Curb appeal starts on the internet today. According to the National Association of Realtors at least 88% of buyers use the internet to search for property and a whopping 94% of millennials! What that means folks is that you must have GREAT photographs, and have them professionally done to capturethe interest of buyers or they will move on before ever stepping foot in the door. The trend for move in ready, turn key property is driven by three demographics: women, millennials and baby boomers. Paying attention to these key features can make a huge difference in selling property and securing the equity.
Half of all property buyers are under 36 yrs. old. Meaning a new generation, the Millennials are shaping the future of real estate. They leapfrog the traditional “starter home” and jump right into the higher end market by choosing larger properties with higher prices. They believe in the power of a home as a financial investment just as much as older generations do.They are also putting every cent to the purchase price of property, &they don’t have extra cash to start making renovations. Retiring boomers are also looking for turnkey properties because they want to enjoy life more than retile bathrooms!
Buyers today are not as handy as people were in past generations. They don’t see a “fixer upper” as an opportunity, they see it as a money drain and time suck. In fact, seven out of ten buyers want turn-key, move in ready so much, that they are willing to pay more money for it!
Updated: Bathrooms, Kitchens, Fixture’s and Appliances
Buyers want well-designed, eat in kitchens with plenty of organized storage. Ideally a pantry rather than endless cupboards. If there are cupboards they prefer drawers’ vs shelves. For bathrooms, the “must have” look has clean lines, with a walk-in shower and as little grout as possible. They no longer thrill to see a jetted tub, they want free standing (easier to replace if they ever want to do an update. Easy care flooring and quartz counters in both locations.
They are everywhere, but no one likes them; while few people are prepared to do the work to remove it, it can play a role in the final selling price. If the property is over $500,000 the ceilings are best smooth.
Office Space, High Speed Connectivity
More than 13 million people work from home and all signs point to this trend increasing. Technology increasingly makes us more mobile and efficient young buyers often have the option of working at home. Even though laptops, tablets and phones make work life simpler, having a dedicated space is important as it helps keep you organized, focussed and concentrating on work while at home perhaps on a Skype call, planning a presentation or simply paying bills. Homes are rapidly becoming sanctuaries, so the office space should NOT be the first room you see upon entering the property…always reminding them of work.
Technology/connectivity doesn’t just mean high speed internet anymore. A good mobile signal, wireless router means access for entertainment, information, home security, nanny cam for baby and pets and of course banking.
Open plan, good flow and use of space.
Younger buyers are more attracted to an open plan, rather than a compartmentalized layout. This has a lot to do with how they entertain. Smart layout also means plenty of outlets and located where you use items like hairdryers, shavers.
Women make the majority of renovation decisions, less than 44% are interested in DIY. 50% of women say they want more green choices. 37% are more likely to pay attention to brands committed to environmental causes, 25% of all products in their shopping carts are environmentally friendly. Younger buyers are also environmentally conscious so energy efficiencies affect their life after purchase of property. These simple things can transfer buyer loyalty.
The 55-75 yr. old boomer female has seen her role change from homemaker to purchaser of security, convenience and luxury. 2017 is the year women control two thirds of all consumer wealth and they are beneficiaries of the largest transference of wealth in history. Estimates range between $12 to $40 TRLLION. Many boomer women will experience a double inheritance windfall from both parents and husband; they make 95% of all purchasing decisions for the household. Men state it makes life easier if the woman is happy. Women’s lives are fast and full. Most work outside the home so with jobs, commuting, running errands, chauffeuring kids, tracking everyone’s stuff it isn’t surprising that women want organized storage. Open plans are fabulous but typically rob storage space because few interior walls. Great, spacious and functional closets are a high priority.
Are becoming coveted spaces. Filled with cupboards for organization and Energy star rated appliances these rooms need counter space, utility sink and they don’t want to see the laundry when they come in..it’s like coming home to a second job. Trouping down to the basement is a huge turn off so best locate in a closet near the bedrooms or off the kitchen is best.
Lots of natural light, well done skylights and expansive doors to bring the outdoors in. Reality TV shows have also shown how important having excellent storage spaces in the garage too. Dedicated spaces for tools, outdoor equipment and other odds/ends helps also leave room for cars! One in four people have so much stuff in the garage they can’t park a car.
Everyone agrees once you have heated floors you never go back. Bathrooms are a perfect place to start, hallways, kitchens are good seconds. The bottom line is this: when we talk trends, we are not talking most popular color; demographics are changing the way business in general is being done and real estate in particular. Not paying attention, working with stagers who are not “on trend” with what buyers want can seriously jeopardize the sale of property.