Since I started this blog, I have been talking to people about the real estate market, where it is going, what buyers are looking for, what sellers need to do to sell, etc. etc. Sometimes I feel I am guilty of talking at you and not to you.
But recently, I started mixing things up a bit by asking people what they were looking for in home. About what they like about where they live etc. This week, with the help of some FB friends from the Moms of White Plains, NY group, I asked the following question:
What is the one amenity that you would love to have in your current home, but don’t?
The response was wonderful and the answers were varied and detailed. I want to really thank those who took the time to answer. It gave me a lot of insight into what families in our area want and need. Yes, there are plenty of surveys of this sort, but most of them are national. I think that this purely local response is great. Its a reflection of our local housing stock (which is probably older than in a lot of other areas of the country) our climate, and general lifestyle.
So, without further ado, here is the generous response from the Moms of White Plains and some locally canvassed friends.
The Kitchen – 12 – responses. Yes, everyone has one, but the wish list for improvements ranged from, gut renovation, eat-in capacity, a center island addition and granite counters.
Mudroom – 9 responses. This was a bit of a surprise. I didn’t expect this to be such a close second. This may have a lot to do with the amount of precipitation our area gets and the age of the homes here. A mudroom tends to be a more recent innovation. But many people seem to want one!
Bathrooms – 7 responses. These ranged from wanting an extra bath, to a specific master bath. One respondent mentioned a jacuzzi, and another specifically had double sinks on her wish list. The most surprising thing about this response was that it was edged out by mudrooms.
These upgrades are separate from upgrades that are dedicated to specific rooms of a home and involve major systems that impact the entire home and its efficiency.
Central AC – 3 responses. This is indeed a growing trend and since we have a lot of older housing stock, a significant number of homes lack central air. Also, our summers are getting hotter more humid, so AC is no longer considered a luxury.
Solar Panels – 1 response
Insulation – 1 response
New Windows – 1 response
New Siding – 1 response
These responses may be partially cosmetic, New windows can add a dramatic touch and so can new siding. But all of them have the capacity to lower heating and cooling costs. Solar panels with tax rebates have become very popular throughout the county.
First Floor Master Suite – 2 responses. I get requests for homes with this specific feature all the time. Empty nesters and extended families are particularly interested in this amenity.
Larger Closets – 2 responses. Another amenity buyers ask about all the time. It seems we can never have enough storage, particularly organized storage.
Two Car Garage or Attached Garage – 2 responses. Garages can be used for cars, but often are used for storage as well. So this type of amenity serves double or even triple-duty.
Attic – 1 response. This goes with the need for more storage. An attic can either be a bonus room or additional storage space.
Home Office – 1 response. Its no surprise that this is on people’s wish list since more and more of us work from home, or at least take work home with us!
Finished Basement – 1 response. This adds usable square footage to your home and is a great place for a bonus room and for a special place for the kids to play. One word of warning: This can be an expensive upgrade and unless there is a separate walkout as well as windows, it can not be added as usable square footage to the home. The result, as many of my home clients have found, is that it does not add significant value to the home.
Window Seat – 1 response. This is a great addition if it fits in with other major work being done on your home. It really can be a value-add.
Upstairs Washer Dryer – 1 response. Most older homes have the laundry in the basement. But that’s not where your cloths are! So this is a really nice amenity.
Landscaping – 2 responses. The days of the simple yard with green grass are done. More and more people are looking to create outdoor “rooms” where family life can extend to the great outdoors three seasons of the year. Landscaping can actually define this space and its purpose.
Outdoor Fire Pit – 2 responses. Nice amenity that more and more people are attracted to. It can make outdoor space more usable into the colder months of the year.
Front Porch – 2 responses. Another way to bring the outdoors in, or the indoors out. A nice front porch can be great for outdoor seating as well as dining.
Deck – 1 response. Decks are the backyard version of the front porch. Often they are easier to execute on most home styles than a front porch.
Outdoor Kitchen – 1 response. We are seeing more outdoor kitchens in our area. Once again, it creates three season living space and is almost an extension of the actual home.
Finally, the greatest amenity of them all was a contractor to do all the work that looked like Colin Firth! Don’t know if I can help much there, but I loved the input.
So, I hope everyone enjoyed the results of this informal survey and I have tons of thanks to those who took the time to respond. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
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