Recently, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) surveyed 2,000 households that bought a home between 2010 and 2012 to find out what they valued in a home and how it affected their purchase. From that, NAR was able to pick out the most popular home features that buyers are looking for. 24/7 Wall St. furthered the study of those results and determined which features buyers are willing to pay more for and, on average, how much more.
Before I move on to share the results, I believe a study like this needs a disclaimer. All real estate is LOCAL. No matter what the national news reports about the real estate market, results are dependent on what buyers need and want in a particular region and city. The features buyers in Wilmington want doesn't necessarily match up with what buyers want in the Midwest, because they have different living needs. Also, the sum cost that buyers are willing to spend extra doesn’t necessarily cover the cost of a feature. However, studies like this can give an overview of how needs and desires are shifting, and may help home owners decide which home improvement projects they take on. Saying that, let me move on…
Here is the list of features that home buyers are willing to pay more for (according to the NAR):
Home buyers who purchased a home with a fireplace: 57%
Amount buyers are willing to pay extra: $1,400
- Eat-in Kitchen
Home buyers who purchased a home with an eat-in kitchen: 40%
Amount buyers are willing to pay extra: $1,770
- Home Less Than 5 Years Old
Home buyers who purchased a newer home: 40%
Amount buyers are willing to pay extra: $5,020
**NAR found that single males were more likely to purchase a home less than 5 years old. Singlewomen and first-time buyers tended to be big purchasers of older homes.
- Kitchen Island
Home buyers who purchased a kitchen island: 48%
Amount buyers are willing to pay extra: $1,370
- Ensuite Master
BathHome buyers who purchased an ensuite master bath: 49%
Amount buyers are willing to pay extra: $2,030
- Hardwood Floors
Home buyers who purchased hardwood floors: 54%
Amount buyers are willing to pay extra: $2,080
- Granite Countertops
Home buyers who purchased granite countertops: 55%
Amount buyers are willing to pay extra: $1,620
- Walk-in Closet in Master Bedroom
Home buyers who purchased a walk-in closet: 60%
Amount buyers are willing to pay extra: $1,350
- New Kitchen Appliances
Home buyers who purchased new kitchen appliances: 69%
Amount buyers are willing to pay extra: $1,840
**Stainless steel appliances were the most sought-after. Single men and married couples placed the most significance on new appliances.
- Central Air Conditioning
Home buyers who purchased central air conditioning: 69%
Amount buyers are willing to pay extra: $2,520
Other important tidbits from the survey:
- Buyers over the age of 55 (most of all) and single women desired single-level homes more than others.
- Single men were more likely to buy high/cathedral ceilings.
- 53% of buyers completed a renovation project shortly after buying. Most of those projects were centered on the kitchen and the average cost was $4,550. 41% replaced lighting and 53% replaced or added new appliances.
- In-law suites and basements captured the most extra dollars. In Wilmington, basements aren’t common features, because many homes are at sea level. However, bonus rooms or FROGs (finished room over garage) have taken their place.
- 47% of home buyers thought laundry rooms were important. 89% of them bought a laundry room.
- 78% chose a house with a garage.
- 32% of buyers were willing to pay more for waterfront property; however, the median amount they would pay extra was only $5,420. In the Wilmington Real Estate Market, this wouldn’t fly, because the difference can be hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on if it’s oceanfront, riverfront, pond front, canal front, etc.
As you can see, a lot of the features desired center on the kitchen. This is not a surprise as increasingly more buyers are looking for open floor plans that allow the kitchen to overlook a family or entertainment room, so they can socialize or monitor children while they cook. They’ve even started adding televisions and computers to the kitchen, to increase the room's diversity.
Interestingly, some of the desired features also varied according to age. Features important to couples, like new appliances and eat-in kitchens, weren’t necessarily of interest to younger, single individuals. This may be attributed to changing values as people age. For many, life becomes more home-centered as they grow older, so the extra features that improve the experience of living in a home become more important.
Despite what features a home has, location still wins out as the most important factor in choosing home. Buyers will pay more for a home with fewer of the features they desire if it's in a great location. Schools, water access, community amenities, nearby conveniences, public transportation, and more are location features that buyers will often choose over other home features.
If you have any questions about how these results apply to Wilmington area homes, please feel free to give us a call at 910.202.2546 or send us a message through our Contact form. We’re always happy to answer questions!