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Features today's home buyers crave

Posted by Leslie Mann on Fri, Apr 12, 2013 @ 09:31 AM

kitchen   Robin Wilson Home resized 600

Should I choose a Jacuzzi tub or a shower? Do buyers still want granite counters in the kitchen? Is carpeting a turnoff to home buyers? These are the types of questions I was recently discussing with a client who was planning a new construction in Hopkinton. She wanted to ensure that the house she was buying not only met her “wish list” of features but included the best choices for future resale value. Today, I thought I’d highlight some of the most popular features home buyers are requesting. Interestingly, we’re seeing a move toward more practical tastes in home features.

Function over fashion. Although today’s home buyers certainly want a stylish kitchen, they are focusing more on the function of the kitchen more than the look. Six-burner gas ranges and quiet, high efficiency exhaust fans are high on many people’s wish list. We’re also seeing homeowners look beyond granite for counters. “Many homeowners are now opting for Silestone (natural quartz) due to the material’s extremely resiliency and the bacteriostatic protection not found in other materials,” said Robin Wilson of Robin Wilson Home.

kitchen cabinets   Robin Wilson resized 600
Designed by Robin Wilson Home

Healthy choices. “One of the biggest trends in kitchens today is eco-friendly cabinetry because it has no formaldehyde adhesives and is made with low VOC (volatile organic compound) stains,” Wilson said. Using low VOC paint reduces the amount of harmful fumes in your home.

living room with coffered ceiling   courtesy of ASKDecor resized 600
Designed by AskDECOR

Family time. “Another big interior design trend is the creation of a communal ‘group’ atmosphere, which is something families are sure to appreciate,” says interior designer Estelle Page. “We’re creating different seating areas within open rooms to accommodate more intimate conversations where the whole family can gather,” says Nancy Del Santo of AskDECOR.

Creature comforts. Today’s home styles have less formality. “Comfort reigns supreme,” Del Santo says. “The new definition of luxury is personal comfort. We’re using lots of plush pillows as well as fabrics that are soft to the touch.”

Mixing and matching. “We’re seeing a trend in two-tone cabinet colors, with the upper cabinets in a lighter color then the lower or the island in a different color than the cabinets,” says Anne Dotson of Kitchen Resource Direct. “Lighter colors make the space feel larger, and pair well with a variety of countertops, paint colors, and floor colors.”

Asian influenced transitional bath shower seat   designed by Leslie Cohen resized 600
Designed by Leslie Cohen Design


Private sanctuary. Today’s home buyers seek master baths that are peaceful and uncluttered. “Homeowners want features that make life easier—from treated glass shower surrounds that are easy to clean, to remote controls for difficult-to-reach window treatments,” said Leslie Cohen of Leslie Cohen Design. “People want simplicity. This could be little things like adding a raised footrest in the shower for shaving, or installing convenient pullout storage so they don’t have to dig around for personal care items.”

Cohen also dispelled one myth about water features. “People don’t want all sorts of crazy water features in the shower like product manufacturers want us to believe,” she says. “They want good water pressure, but don’t want long-term plumbing maintenance and lots of items to clean.”

Extended families. An increasing number of home buyers are seeking first floor master suites, or better yet, dual master suites (one on each living level) to accommodate their extended family or to adapt as their future needs change. We’re also seeing an increased demand for first floor in-law suites.

Watermill White Oak floors   courtesy of Carlisle Wood Plank Floors resized 600
Flooring by Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

An organic feel. Very few homeowners we encounter these days want carpeting, even in the bedrooms. Sometimes it’s an aesthetic preference but often it’s due to increased concerns about allergies. Most people want flooring made of hardwood or, better yet, a sustainable material such as bamboo or cork. “Clients are opting for floors with an organic, natural feel, with low sheen,” said Chris Sy of Carlisle Wide Plank Floors. “Gray tones like driftwood and charcoal as well as light neutrals are expected to be the predominant color themes this spring.” 

Consistency. “Clients want a seamless look in flooring,” said Sy. “This includes bathrooms and even the basement. We’re also seeing an increase in the length and width of floorboards. This reduces the number of visible joints, creating a richer, more luxurious look.”

Orderliness. “Homeowners want sensibly organized storage,” says Cohen. “There’s no more big, unorganized cabinets and closets; people want organizational accessories that eliminate clutter and provide simple access.”

Reprinted from my MetroWest Daily News column in the Metrowest Homes publication, a real estate resource for residents of Dover, Holliston, Hopkinton, Sherborn, Southborough, Sudbury, Wayland, Westborough, Weston & beyond.

Topics: Wellesley real estate, Wellesley realtor