What Special Features Are Buyers Looking For?

What Special Features Are Buyers Looking For?

Systems that promote increased energy efficiency and sustainable home design continue to be popular.” – Kermit Baker

Do you ever watch those HGTV real estate shows and wonder if the show is staged? It turns out that those vapid home buyers whose budget is $150,000 and who cannot live without granite counters and separate double sinks in an ensuite might not be real after all. People Magazine reported earlier this week that the “Love It or List It” TV show on HGTV is being sued by a North Carolina couple who allege that the renovations done to their rental home while appearing as guests on the show left it “irreparably damaged”. The lawsuit claims that the show hired a contractor whom they had not given consent to do the work and that the entire show was staged. The house that they were shown to them to consider purchasing wasn’t even for sale and that designers were actually actors. The renovations were completed shabbily and the general contractor was not even licensed in the state. It seems that these type of shows are entertaining for viewers, but not an accurate reflection of how the real estate process goes. Once again, it is so critical when considering buying or selling a home, that you get the experience of a real estate professional with the expertise of a team who can ensure that your interests are always protected.

Much like the real estate market itself, interior design and home styles are cyclical in nature. One such trend that is apparent to many home buyers in Nanaimo is the surge of new homes offering legal suites. For many, this allows buyers to afford a bigger or more executive-style home as the rental income offsets the cost of the mortgage. However, suites have been popular throughout the decades for other reasons as well. Years ago, the wealthier families would hire an “au pair” or nanny for the children and if you look at old real estate ads, you might have seen the wording that a home had an “au pair suite” which was a smaller apartment-like area that the nanny lived in usually with a bathroom and small kitchen area. For many cultures, the notion of an “in-law” suite was made popular as a means of caring for relatives as they aged. Today, many families are co-habitating to reduce living expenses and address the need for in-home childcare as both parents often work outside the home. According to Kermit Baker, chief economist for the American Institute of Architects, “many households want to ensure that their homes can support the needs of aging parents who may be staying for an extended period of time and other visitors with accessibility needs.”

Outdoor living areas have also become a selling feature for a home. I recall that Hollywood stars would often own luxurious homes in places like Palm Springs that offered huge BBQ areas, swimming pool, hot tub or gazebo areas for entertaining. Today, even the most modest home can enjoy a sense of the outdoor lifestyle as gazebos and propane fire pits are commonplace at stores such as Wal-Mart and Home Depot.

Home offices are still popular in homes, even though the laptop computer has made the concept of a “home office” much smaller than previous decades whereby the fax machine, tower computer and large equipment required a great deal of space. Technology advances such as the Iphone, internet fax options, and pdf programs have really led to the demise of the big work space.

Media rooms are still in demand, but seem to be more of a “wish list” room, as opposed to a required room. I think that Netflix and flat screen television sets have brought the media room into the family room or living room as it is easy to hide the flat screen with little or no space needed and speakers can be pre-wired in a new home. I would suggest that a family room is still more popular to buyers than a media room as a result. A family room is best described as a “room where the children can enjoy themselves while adults relax”. In the early 1980’s, a family room would host the hand-me-down sofa and distressed coffee table and the video game console that often only offered games like Pac man and Donkey Kong if you were lucky. Many of us still recall playing “pong” as a family which also looked identical to the video game advertised as “tennis” in which two rectangles would push a circular object across the screen over and over again.

Baker suggests that the recovering real estate market has brought about significant changes to what homeowners are looking for in a home. “Households are responding to the ongoing recovery in the housing market by adding more space and features to their homes. Special function rooms, which often disappeared from homes during the downturn in an effort to manage housing costs and add flexibility to how households used their homes, are now reappearing. Likewise, special home features that were often eliminated during the housing downturn are now increasingly returning to home designs. Home automation features, as well as products that promote sustainability, are also showing up with increasing frequency in both new and remodeled homes.”

We advise clients to make a list of things that they need and another list of things they would like in a home and keep these lists separate from each other. Being flexible in your home search can end up helping you find the “perfect home” for your family as many rooms are able to be used for other purposes – such as a bedroom or den turned into a home office and an unfinished basement becoming an ideal location for a separate suite. We cannot stress enough to homebuyers to be realistic with their budget and try to buy a little less than what you have been pre-approved to purchase as there will always be some additional costs that you might not even consider when buying a home. Those costs might be the new outdoor patio furniture and BBQ for your outdoor living area, or brand new appliances that might be needed for the in-law suite. Owning a home can be an exciting time and having a special room in your home for your family to enjoy will bring years of joy and memories.

Let us help you get moving in the right direction this Spring. If you would like to know what the current value of your home is without any obligation, please give our McCullough Team a call today at 250-751-1223 or email us at brian@mmshomes.com.


Brian & Myles McCullough – personal real estate corporation

P.S. Click below to have a FREE Over-the-Net Home Evaluation. It only takes a minute or two.


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