15 Home Features Today’s Buyers Want Most

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It’s a great time to sell your home. Demand is strong and sales are running above the pre-pandemic pace. Inventory is still historically low, but in June it began to rise as more owners listed their homes for sale. As they join the fray and builders bring more new homes to market, buyers will enjoy greater choice, and sellers will have to step up their game in a more competitive environment.

We’ve featured the top 15 features buyers surveyed by the National Association of Home Builders said they wanted in 2021. Some are small projects that you could do yourself fairly quickly and cheaply. Others require more time, money and planning to find and hire contractors and get materials, which can be a tough ask amid a remodeling boom and shortages of albor and materials.

As the housing market continues to rebound, would-be sellers should think twice before skipping out on updating areas of their home in need of serious upgrades. Home buyers are willing to spend big on homes with higher quality finishes in sought-after neighborhoods. “After sheltering in place . . . people [are] ready for change in their homes — or looking for a new one,” says Brian K. Lewis, a real estate broker with New York City-based realty firm Compass. Make sure your home is in top condition to get the most attention and the highest possible price.

However, you’re unlikely to recoup all of your cost to remodel when you sell. According to Remodeling magazine’s 2021 Cost vs. Value report, sellers were estimated to recoup 48% to 94% of the cost of the 22 projects considered. For example, the average cost of a mid-range bathroom remodel is $24,424 (up from $21,377 in October 2020). You’d recoup about $14,671 (60.1%) of that amount during a resale within a year.

However, the cost of inaction can be far greater than the small loss you’ll incur on any home-improvement projects. “Getting stuck in time with your home isn’t a smart move and is rarely rewarded financially at sale time,” Lewis adds. In fact, it may cause your house to linger on the market longer. As a result, you’ll likely have to pay ongoing mortgage, maintenance and staging costs.

If you want to get the most bang for your buck, focus on features that most home buyers really want to see and that you’ll enjoy for as long as you live in the home. Consumer tastes can vary by region, so consult with your real estate agent to find out which home features are in high demand in your area, advises Dr. Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights for the National Association of Realtors.

Published by Kiplinger

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