What do buyers want?

Realtors in Greenwich continue to report buyers seeking new or renovated homes. Buyers also are preferring well-decorated homes in today’s styles.

What does this mean? Well, these anecdotal findings are showing a trend that buyers want to just move in and enjoy their new homes.

The National Association of Home Builders recently released the findings of a study about what buyers seek in a home. Among buyers’ top preferences is energy-efficiency. Of the home buyers surveyed, 94% said they want Energy Star-rated appliances, 91% want an Energy Star rating for the entire home, 89% want Energy Star-rated windows, and 88% want ceiling fans.

Many buyers (coming in at 43%) do not want a two-story family room and a two-story foyer (38% of buyers). Why? Because high spaces require more energy to heat and cool.

Another top preference is that buyers want ways to keep their home organized. Many will contend that an organized house is comforting as well as efficient. A walk-in pantry in the kitchen is sought by 85% of buyers. Warehouse stores have driven the increasing size of pantries given the size and amount of household products and groceries they sell.

A separate laundry room is desired by 93%, and 57% require it to purchase a home. The reason being, buyers want a room to contain or hide their laundry.

Also, 90% of buyers want a linen closet in the bathroom to keep towels and toiletries readily accessible and orderly. With respect to the garages, 86% want them to have space for sports equipment, bikes, gardening equipment, and tools.

A new trend is that buyers (31% of them at least) no longer have a high priority for outside kitchens, whereas 62% of buyers are satisfied with having just an outside grill.

As buyers become practical about their home requirements, banks are starting to make credit available. The reason is the recovery of the housing market. The nation is experiencing increasing house prices, and that gives the banks more incentive to extend credit. Another reason is that mortgage delinquencies have decreased to pre-recession rates.

Moody’s reported that 2012 was the best year for housing since 2005. But while the demand for homes is strong, the number of housing starts is weak. Negative home equity continues to impact many households. Some households are starting to see home values increase over the value of their mortgage. This improves credit ratings, decreases the risks of defaults and increases a household’s ability to trade up in a home.

Consumer Finance Protection Bureau rules (i.e., qualified mortgage and ability-to-repay rules) will keep mortgage standards as well as credit tight, since banks will be required to fully document borrowers regardless of their credit rating. Improved consumer credit ratings, steady job growth, low interest rates, and rising house prices will help buyers to qualify and further strengthen the real estate market.


Mary Ann Clark is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker at 177 West Putnam Avenue in Greenwich. Questions or comments may be emailed to [email protected] or she may be reached directly at 203-249-2244.

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