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These Are the Top Features Homebuyers Are Looking for in 2020

[Updated: Jan 21, 2021 ] Apr 24, 2020 by Aly J. Yale
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Our spring 2020 homebuyer and seller survey revealed some interesting findings -- particularly on the buyer side.

For one, space and location are apparently top of mind for today's homebuyers. According to respondents, a desire for more room or a better locale are the main reasons people want to buy a home this year. They're also looking to stop renting, build their own equity, and start families.

If you're a home flipper, these details can certainly help inform future investments. Choose your location carefully, add space or open up floor plans when possible, and make your properties family- and kid-friendly.

Beyond that, though, you can also plan your amenities wisely. We asked potential buyers about their must-have home features, too. Here's what 2020 buyers say they prefer:

Air conditioning

With air conditioning ranking No. 1 in terms of home features, it's clear that Americans like their creature comforts. Nearly 42% say air conditioning is one of their top three must-haves, and another 47%? They say they wouldn't buy a home at all if it lacked A/C. Naturally, it's most important in warmer climates (I can't imagine living here in Texas without a working A/C), but pretty much everyone would rather have one than not.

Hardwood floors

This one shouldn't be a huge surprise. Carpets have been out for a while, and hardwood floors have become the gold standard in real estate. They look great, they're easy to clean, and they stand up well to messy toddlers and rambunctious dogs (i.e., they're family-friendly).

A garage

Considering many people are buying homes to get out of the rent race, which often comes with no more than a parking spot, this one's a given, too. Buyers want spacious garages where they can stow their cars, set up a workbench, or just stow away their holiday decorations.

An eat-in kitchen

Formal dining rooms are out. Instead, homebuyers want large kitchens with built-in breakfast nooks, bars, and islands. These are great for households with kids, offering a place to cook, eat, do homework, and entertain all at the same time -- and as a family.

A fenced yard

It's also no surprise that those coming from cramped rentals want a nice, roomy yard to enjoy the outdoors in. The fenced part is important, too, as many plan to have children or bring their pets along for the ride.

A family room

Here's another one of those family-friendly amenities we were talking about. About a fifth of all respondents ranked a family room as one of their most desired features. With today's open floor plans, that family room may very well flow right into the eat-in kitchen, too.

A basement

Basements go back to that need for more room. With a basement on the property, homeowners enjoy significantly more space -- for entertaining, for working out, or even just for storage. (Just keep in mind that you probably won't be able to add a basement where there's not one -- at least not cheaply).

Lots of windows and light

It's funny to go from a dark, dank basement to this one, but really, who doesn't want lots of natural light and plenty of sweeping views? If they come with quality wood blinds and window treatments, even better.

A separate laundry room

Full-size laundry rooms are huge these days, making it easier to deal with those endless loads of laundry that children, pets, and a household of people come with. A recent survey from the National Association of Home Builders backs up this finding, showing laundry rooms as the No. 1 preferred feature for move-up buyers and the No. 2 preference for first-timers.

What doesn't matter to 2020 homebuyers

Knowing what buyers want is important, but so is knowing what they don't. The following items fell toward the bottom of the list when buyers were asked to name their most desired home features:

  • Community clubhouses.
  • Fireplaces.
  • Formal living rooms.
  • Gated communities.
  • In-law suites.

Separate dining rooms, patios, and landscaping are other features buyers aren't prioritizing.

The bottom line

Trends are always in flux. And if you're flipping houses, staying on top of those changing trends -- market-related ones, too -- is critical.

Need more help on your flipping journey? These books on home flipping can help.

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