What Home Buyers Want Most in Their New Homes

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine

During the housing boom days, media rooms, wine cellars, and large expansive bonus rooms were all the rage. But ask today’s home shopper what they want most from their home and their wish-lists have gotten much more practical.

Today, it’s all about energy efficiency.

In fact, four of the top most desired home features center around saving energy, according to a new study released by the National Association of Home Builders, “What Home Buyers Really Want.”

With rising utility costs, more home buyers are thinking not just about the price of buying a home — but also how are they going to maintain it and keep it affordable once they move in?

Ninety-four percent of home buyers say they want energy-rated appliances; 91 percent want an energy-star rating for the entire home, 89 percent say they want energy-star related windows, and 88 percent want ceiling fans, according to the NAHB study.

They want the floorplan of the home to be energy efficient too. More buyers are showing less desire for a two-story entry foyer, the study finds. These large, open spaces are known as being less energy efficient.

So while energy efficiency seems to be chief on buyers’ minds these days, they’re also devoting a lot of time to sizing up the home’s storage space. Ninety percent of buyers say they want a linen closet in the bathroom to store towels and toiletries. Eighty-six percent say they also want space in the garage to store sports equipment and gardening and yard tools. And 85 percent say they want a walk-in pantry in the kitchen.

Melissa Tracey

Melissa Dittmann Tracey is a contributing editor for REALTOR® Magazine, writing about home & design trends, technology, and sales and marketing. She manages the magazine's award-winning Styled, Staged & Sold blog.

More Posts - Website

  1. Laurie

    I agree that energy efficiency is important, but here are the top things buyers in my area really want:
    1. Hardwood floors
    2. Granite counters/stainless steel appliances
    3. Finished basements
    4. Updated kitchens/baths

    This list isn’t unusual, but I’ve done dozens of open houses and it’s always the same questions and lists of desires in a home. So something to share with potential sellers.

  2. In our markets here on the Seacoast of NH & ME, it’s a market expectation that the home of today will be updated (as Laurie says above). Energy efficiency is rapidly becoming a key concern for buyers as well as sellers who are also facing those same rising costs for utilities. We see more and more buyers who want 1 floor living, or with the majority of living space on the first floor. There is a market for every home it just depends on how big that market is and working with professionals that know their market and what’s available.

  3. Me personally would look into energy efficiency, but Laurie is right. I work in Northern New Jersey, and buyers in this area are looking for updated kitchen, bathrooms, more and more hardwood floors, granite, stainless steel, nice yard.

  4. This is great insight to what a lot of potential buyers are looking for. Helps with where to make updates and where to highlight a showing.

  5. People are looking for updated homes with granite, stainless steel appliance, etc. They are also looking for energy efficient homes as stated. With rising costs, having an energy efficient AC, that could save 30% or more off the electricity costs, is a priority for some buyers.

  6. I agree with the comments above in regards to home efficiency. There are a good amount of older homes in Charleston and I always stress to buyers the importance of an efficient home.

    In the Charleston SC market, inventory is down so buyers are sometimes having to settle with certain homes and add the “bells and whistles” later on. I would rank buyer importance as:
    1. updated kitchens (stainless, granite, gas)
    2. open floor plan concept
    3. hardwood floors
    4. master bath
    5. outdoor entertaining area

  7. Homes that are energy efficient are key and one way to make sure the home is energy efficient is by checking the insulation.

  8. Great post.. it’s very useful to all of us. This article is so important for me. I agree with Larry that buyers search energy, efficient home at stated with rising cost. Thanks a lot for the posting such a nice article.

  9. A very nice and informative post! Thanks for the information!

  10. Home Buyer is getting very careful while investing in real estate. He sees all the possible benefits in the future. Great Post. Thank You.