Learn What Features Home Buyers Look For and What They Avoid

Whether you’re a real estate dealer or a simple homeowner whose building is up for sale, you can’t deny that understanding a buyer’s psychology is challenging.

So, what exactly does a buyer look for? It’s not like every home buyer would look for the same features in a house. Everyone has a different lifestyle that gives birth to a distinctive taste, after all.

Now, some buyers might look for a gourmet kitchen, while others are looking for a master bedroom and bath. Those who can afford a higher budget are probably looking for high-end features like swimming pools. There are so many variants that it becomes increasingly challenging for builders to get an idea of what to prioritize.

So, on that note, today, we will be digging deep into the features that buyers are currently looking for in their dream house.

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The “What Home Buyers Want” Survey

First things first: the recent “What Home Buyers Want” survey (2019) conducted by the National Association of Home Builders has helped in understanding the core features home buyers are looking for. Now, in case you haven’t heard of it, the NAHB had surveyed around 4,000 home buyers to gather relevant info related to the key features they look for in a home.

The demographic mainly consisted of people that had bought a home in the past three years and the ones who are still looking forward to buying one. The participants were asked to give their ratings to a set of 175 household features based on a four-tier scale.

The Four-Tier Scale

The survey scale had four critical degrees the respondents can select from, which categorize the household features that may likely lead to a purchase. To begin with, there are the essential elements that, if not present, may not convince the buyer to purchase the estate at all. These features hold the most value in the survey, and it’s gathered from real-time data.

Next are the desirable features, which may influence the buyers to seal the deal with its one-of-a-kind attributes. These, although found less commonly than the essential features, hold a somewhat similar importance in leading towards a potential sale.

Furthermore, there are indifferent features, which do not influence the purchase decision by any means. Last but not least, the “Do not want” features are the red-alert zones you have to avoid at any cost, as buyers may not buy the house at all if they’re present.

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The Most Wanted Features

To our greatest surprise, 54% of the buyers have confirmed laundry rooms to be the most essential feature of a desirable home, while 37% had considered it desirable. So, if you’re trying to attract a few customers to sell your property this year, don’t underestimate the impact of a first impression. Make sure that you start with a well-maintained laundry room.

Furthermore, the survey has also revealed that more and more customers are moving towards environment-friendly and energy-saving home features. It confirms that a total of 89% of the buyers are very impressed with Energy Star-rated windows. Plus, a total of 86% of the buyers are looking for a home with Energy Star-rated appliances.

Take the hint and make sure your house is covered with high Energy Star ratings, as an average of 81% buyers prioritize this advanced feature! Seriously, what can better attract the modern generation than a whole-house green certification?

The Desirable Features

Following the most wanted features, the survey has also revealed that a variety of home-storage features, like garage storage, has gained immense popularity in recent times.

Considering that more and more vehicles are being purchased on the daily, it’s not a surprise that buyers would need their garages. On that note, 49% of the respondents have classified garage storage as desirable, while 36% have considered it as a must-have feature. Storage space, in general, whether it’s a garage or a pantry, is a vital feature, and many buyers even go the extra mile to pay more to avail of a more spacious property.

However, previous data from the 2015 survey shows that garage storage ratings have gone higher by an estimate of 4 points. Plus, it’s quite amusing that exterior lighting, as a feature, has gained the same scores, so there’s that.

On the other hand, a patio is also a trending feature being desired by 87% of buyers, which has witnessed a 3-point rise since the last survey. This way, one can understand that times are changing, and buyer priorities are evolving accordingly.

Furthermore, a segment of the NAHB survey has revealed that location is one of the most important factors that influence the buyers to close a deal.

As per the results, around 64% of buyers prefer to have their house in the suburban region, while 24% would rather live in the rural outskirts. The survey has also shown that 23% of customers prefer to live in an urban hub, so you’re in luck if you have a home to sell in these regions.

On that note, the community surrounding the property is also an essential feature for homeowners to consider. Some buyers require urban communities that offer arts and sports activities near their residence, and they may end up agreeing to pay a higher price for it.

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The Features That Buyers Don’t Want

While gathering data about the necessary features, the surveyors had also acknowledged the features that buyers do not want. So, in case you were boasting of any of these features in the ad, you may lose a potential deal this year.

The feature that tops the “do not want” list is an elevator, being voted unnecessary by 66% of the respondents. Nonetheless, we’d like to remind you that despite having such a significant downvote, there is a specific niche market that may be viable for homes with elevators. The thing is, 6% of the buyers have voted it as essential while 12% voted it as desirable, so you never know.

Furthermore, 57% of the buyers have classified wine cellars as unwanted, which makes sense. It’s a luxury that isn’t the best feature to prioritize if you’re looking for a standard or compact apartment. Some other noteworthy undesirable features also include cork flooring and a golf course community, both rated equally by 47% of the respondents.

What Do Millenials Look for in Their Dream Home?

It’s evident that, nowadays, millennials are becoming one of the most significant customer segments when it comes to home buying. Now, let’s be clear: it’s futile to compare the features that millenials look for in a home with those of an average customer. The former are the fastest at keeping up with modern times and, likewise, home sellers should be updated with their requirements to seal a deal precisely.

  • Updated Bathrooms

First and foremost, surveys have claimed that the most crucial feature that millennials look for are updated baths. As this particular demographic prefers to purchase a home within an affordable budget, they don’t prefer houses that require bathroom renovations, as it leads to higher costs. So, one of the best ways to have a millennial buyer’s attention is to keep your bathroom intact and trendy.

  • Updated and Ample Kitchen Space

The same applies to the kitchens as well, only with a minor addition: millennials prefer to have ample kitchen space.

Usually, average houses used to have compact kitchen spaces. However, millennials prefer to stay updated with modern technologies that make cooking a more straightforward job, which calls for kitchens with large storage spaces.

So, before you put your property up for sale, staging the kitchen space is a smart tactic to gather more millennial buyers.

  • Workspace at Home

As the modern age creates jobs that do not necessarily require traveling, more and more employees are bestowed with the opportunity to work from their homes at their own comfort. Moreover, millennials themselves are beginning to opt for jobs that do not require traveling.

On that note, they prefer to buy houses that also consist of a dedicated personal workspace. It’s also common that not every home is built according to a plan that includes a workspace. So, if you have a spare bedroom, or maybe a specific area with little to zero utility, you can renovate it into a personal workspace to pitch your property more efficiently.

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The Benefits of Pitching a Low-Maintenance Property

Although it’s not the most talked about topic, maintenance appears to be a massive burden to home buyers, restricting them from purchasing a property. Sellers must be aware that buyers are always on the lookout for properties that come with the least maintenance shenanigans, as it results in minimal expenses. So, if you’re selling a house that’s in dire need of a complete renovation, you probably won’t have any luck selling it.

An average homeowner prefers to relax in their home after a stressful day at work. So, if the house’s maintenance keeps adding to their stress frequently, it’s apparent that customers won’t be satisfied with the purchase. With this in mind, you can quickly sell a house by maintaining your property on time while it’s yours and installing attractive yet low maintenance features such as hardwood floors.

The Seller’s Mentality

It’s quite natural that buyers are coming up with a variety of needs on the daily. Their requirements are getting higher, and it’s becoming more challenging for property sellers to keep up. On this note, the AVP of the NAHB survey said, “Builders are trying to meet demand where it’s hottest, and that is at the lower price points.”

Yes, price is also becoming a critical factor that may restrict a potential deal. And when it explicitly comes down to millennial buyers, as we already know, budget is the most imperative factor for purchasing anything, whether it’s a car or a house. That’s why builders are trying their best to fit the needs of the buyers under a reasonable deal, just to find more buyers.

However, there are various established websites that save you from the hassle of finding potential home buyers, so we’d recommend that you do your research before jumping into a deal.


Times are changing, and so are the needs of home buyers. The features that were relevant three years ago aren’t necessary at all nowadays, and the NAHB “What Home Buyers Want” survey has confirmed it over the years.

Let’s go for a quick recap: the surveys have claimed that laundry rooms and garage spaces are the most essential features for buyers. On the flip side, elevators and wine cellars fall in the least important aspect of interest for buyers, which is quite understandable.

Moving on to millennials, they’re on the lookout for low-maintenance properties that come with a personal workspace. So, overall, it’s imperative for sellers to stay updated with the recent and upcoming trends to save themselves from the hassle of hunting for potential buyers.

On that note, we hope that we have helped you understand the core features that buyers want in their dream home. What would you like us to write about next? Let us know in the comments section below!

We’ll take our leave for now, but we’ll return soon with more and more exciting articles. Till then, stay tuned, and best of luck selling your home!

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