What does today's home buyer want?

Yesterday I was having a conversation with a reader from this blog.  We were talking about property improvements that can help a properties appeal to potential buyers.  It got me thinking, there are a lot of generic articles out there about what buyers want.  However, what someone wants in California, or Massachusetts, isn't necessarily going to be applicable to Fort Lauderdale.  Today I'd like to share my thoughts, based on my experience, on what buyers really want in a Fort Lauderdale home.  If you're considering renovating your home I think this could be useful information as you always need to keep your eye on an exit strategy.  You also need to be sure you're not over improving your property.

Everyone wants a waterfront property regardless of price point.  However, it's not always possible depending on your price bracket.  Everyone wants recently renovated kitchens and bathrooms.  So let's get those out of the way as they're on just about everyone's wish list.  Standard in South Florida is also central air conditioning and hurricane impact glass.  The rest of these items I'll put in bullet point format, for sake of ease, and in no particular order.

  • Open floor plans.  I haven't worked with a buyer in the last year that didn't want an open floor plan.  This may mean opening up a dining room wall to expand the kitchen/ living room area.  Today's buyer wants to see less walls in a home and more open space.  Along the same lines would be an eat in kitchen which buyers seem to be favoring.
  • Natural light.  Dark and dingy never sold well.  Here in South Florida a flood of natural light, through large windows, seems to be highly coveted by buyers.
  • Well built closets!  The closets don't necessarily have to be custom built, but they need to be functionalbe.  Buyers aren't interested in bedrooms with closets that are 2 feet wide.  You find that in some of the older homes in Fort Lauderdale and they immediately turn buyers away.
  • Live/ work space.  There is a huge movement towards people working from home, I'm one of them!  Almost all of the buyers I've been showing homes to recently plan on taking one of the bedrooms in a home and turning it into an office.  This is really a growing trend and I see no signs of it slowing down.
  • Use of natural materials.  Laminate is out!  It looks cheap, it sounds cheap when you step on it.  Today's buyer wants a home to have wood and stone accents.  I like terrazzo flooring because it's practically indestructible and polishes well.  Sellers don't cover, or rip up, your hard wood or terrazzo floors, they have value.  Natural stone in bathrooms, showers, or floors, also have a huge appeal to buyers.
  • Indoor/ Outdoor living space.  This does not mean a grill on a patio.  Think of sliding glass doors that open away from one another and create a 30 foot opening from the kitchen to the back yard.  Buyers looking to entertain will absolutely require indoor/ outdoor space.  My opinion is that these designs add tremendous value and cannot be understated.
  • WiFi enabled and pre wired smart systems.  Essential to younger buyers is that the home can easily be set up to handle computers, tablets, routers, and smart home systems.  Buyers want the ability to control their air conditioner at home, from their IPhone at work.
  • Storage or garage space.  This is a bit odd.  Buyers used to want tons of garage space.  My feeling is that they're moving away from this.  Most buyers I work with are asking for a 1 car garage, or storage space.  As with everything written here this is specific to what I'm seeing buyers ask for.  The reasons they give me for wanting a smaller garage vary.  The most common reason is because they would rather use what would be garage space, as more livable, usable, space.

As far as things I've heard from a few people that I think I'll hear more in the future, Green Built!  Buyers are asking here and there about a homes energy efficiency.  Whether it's appliances, tank less water systems, or green friendly building supplies, buyers are becoming more green conscious.

What am I hearing fewer buyers ask for?  You would think everyone wants a pool.  However, those that have paid the electric bill to run one, or paid the insurance premiums, aren't always so quick to want another home with one.  Given our proximity to the ocean it's not shocking that a pool isn't on some buyers list of must haves.  Also not big like they once were, media rooms and built in surround sound stereo.

Subscribe to this blog

I work as a Realtor in Southeast Fort Lauderdale. If you’re interested in buying or selling a home, condominium, or townhouse (townhome) in: Rio Vista, Victoria Park, Downtown Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale Beach, Harbor Beach, Lauderdale Harbors, Sailboat Bend, Tarpon River, Croissant Park, Collee Hammock, Seven Isles, Nurmi Isles, Idlewyld, or Las Olas Isles, please feel free to contact me at (786)443-7203 or through my email caseyprindle@gmail.com. I am a Realtor that works on Saturdays to accommodate those with busy schedules.

Veniceofamericahomes.com is a trusted source for real estate trends, statistics, and data, as well as aesthetics.

Written By Casey Prindle