Thursday, June 07 2012
There is no such thing as a ‘universal trend’ when it comes to residential real estate: a quick look through the current local listings will confirm that. At the highest end, the most luxurious features will always attract some homebuyers, just as in the great majority of listings, practical value prevails. But some shifts in priorities do seem to be underway, perhaps because of today’s altered selling environment. Some features that used to help sell listings in Evansville are no longer being emphasized – a sure sign that buyers aren’t asking for them.
For anyone preparing a property for sale, the listings hold clues that can prevent wasting time and effort. Some formerly popular elements fading in today’s market:
1. Square footage and grandeur
There was a time (and recently) when people looked for the largest home they could financially support, with high-fashion accessories and embellishments that marked its expense and grandeur. The reality is people can no longer afford those luxuries, or, even if they can, are electing to shy away from some of the more showy features. Market analysts assert the home listings currently moving on and off the market with ease promote small, comfortable homes. Especially those with a high level of energy efficiency.
2. Formal Living Room
When “big” was in, so were grand formal rooms. More of today’s buyers, however, tend to seek multi-purpose rooms with an open layout and seamless flow. They don’t want a sunroom, a formal entrance, a formal dining or formal living room: they want a kitchen that is functional, built to last, easy to clean, and one that opens onto the rest of the living space. I have to confess that, even when formal living rooms were in vogue, I usually could see the question in the back of most prospects’ minds, who ever uses that ‘formal’ living room, anyway?.
3. Whirlpool Tub
Once considered the gold standard in master bathroom remodels, the jetted tub has gone the way of the other more formal features as buyers shift to a more environmentally-friendly mindset. I can’t tell you how many homes with Jacuzzi tubs I have listed where the owner tells me, “I never use it – I don’t even know if it works!” If you are considering a bathroom remodel, you might better opt for a larger shower -- currently a popular option with the baby-boomer crowd mindful of easy bathing access.
The takeaway? More of today’s homebuyers are passing up the grander features (especially energy-hoggers); instead gravitating to the listings that emphasize practicality and modern functionality. If you are preparing your own home for sale, do give me a call. I’ll be happy to offer my input on the most direct course to today’s homebuyer. You can reach me on my cell phone at 812-499-9234.
Thursday, May 03 2012
More home owners want more space in their kitchens and are expanding the kitchen’s use for more than just cooking, according to the latest findings from the American Institute of Architects’ quarterly Home Design Trends Survey. The survey, conducted in the fourth quarter of 2011, focused on kitchens and bathrooms.
“Kitchens seem to be regaining their function as the home’s ‘nerve center,’” says AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker.
During the housing downturn, kitchen design fell as a priority for home owners, Baker notes. But as the market has picked up, Americans’ interest in kitchens has been renewed.
“The last few years have seen kitchens take on new functions with dedicated computer areas and recharging stations,” Baker notes.
The kitchen products and features growing the most in popularity, according to the survey of architects, are:
1. Computer area/recharging stations
2. Integration with family space
3. Renewable flooring materials
4. Recycling centers
5. Adaptability/universal design
Home owners are also placing more emphasis on sustainability in choosing products in the kitchen, such as with renewable flooring materials and renewable countertops increasing in popularity.
Sustainability is also important in bathrooms, the survey found. One of the biggest growing concerns for home owners in designing bathrooms is finding ways to minimize utility costs, according to the architect survey. As such, products like LED lighting, dual flush, and water-saving toilets are growing in demand, Baker notes.