The housing market has been difficult for buyers and sellers alike in 2023, and this pattern may continue into 2024. High mortgage rates have caused home prices to remain stagnant or decline slightly, and most homeowners who locked in low rates in 2020 and 2021 are staying put. With fewer buyers in the market, sellers have to put their best foot forward by highlighting the most appealing features of their homes.
Knowing what buyers are looking for will help you gain a competitive edge if you’re planning to sell your house this year. Here are 12 qualities that are currently helping homes sell:
1. Great Outdoor Area
Homeowners began utilizing their outdoor spaces more in the pandemic, but this trend will likely continue for years to come. Buyers love to see large yards, patios, firepits, swimming pools, and other outdoor features. When staging your home, add comfortable furniture and cozy lighting features to your outdoor space to show that it’s usable and versatile. If your property has a great outdoor area, make sure it’s heavily featured in photos, videos, and other marketing.
2. Natural Lighting
Buyers love homes with large windows and abundant natural lighting. Not only does it provide great views of the outdoors, but it makes the interior of the home feel warmer and more inviting. If your home has great natural light, be sure to highlight it in photos and during open houses and showings. Use light and thin drapes to avoid blocking out any natural light, and make sure your windows are perfectly clean to let in as much light as possible. Additionally, try to schedule showings when your home gets the most light.
3. Home Office Space
Remote work has become much more common in recent years. For buyers who work from home, an office space may be just as important as the bedrooms or bathrooms. If your home has three or more bedrooms, consider staging one of them as a home office. This will showcase your home’s versatility and help buyers envision their daily lives in the house.
4. Efficient Windows and Appliances
Energy efficiency is a highly appealing quality to most buyers this year. Efficient heating and cooling systems, appliances, and windows keep your home more comfortable while using less energy. This significantly cuts down on utility costs and makes the property more environmentally friendly. Upgrading your lighting to LED bulbs is one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to promote energy efficiency in your home. You could also replace your dishwasher, washing machine, or refrigerator with an energy-efficient model. However, you should consult first with your real estate agent about whether or not you’ll get a return on this investment.
5. Kitchen Amenities
The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your home. Although not all buyers will value the kitchen equally, high-end amenities can help your home sell. For example, pizza ovens, quartz countertops, and an automatic faucet will all greatly elevate your kitchen. Investing in these upgrades isn’t always worth the cost, but it could be an effective way to attract prospective buyers and increase the value of your home. If your kitchen already has high-end features, make them a focal point during showings.
6. Kitchen Island
A kitchen island provides extra storage and counter space, and it can double as a table. Large islands may even support a sink, dishwasher, cooktop, and other features. Many buyers value a versatile kitchen island, so be sure to feature your island in your listing. It’s also usually the center of the room, so staging it effectively is critical. Remove as many items from the countertop as possible, and place a flower vase, fruit bowl, or scented candles in the center to make the island aesthetically pleasing.
7. Neutral Color Scheme
Bold and bright colors used to be a popular style, but neutral shades appeal more to buyers nowadays. Neutral colors are gentle on the eyes, and they allow buyers to project their own visions onto the space. Fortunately, painting is a fairly easy undertaking compared to most other home upgrades. As you prepare to sell your home, it may be best to cover up any bold paint colors with neutral tones.
8. Laundry Room
Functionality and organization are two key priorities for many buyers this year, so a dedicated laundry room is a highly desirable feature. If you have a laundry room, highlight this feature in your listing. Additionally, make sure it has plenty of storage and counter space. If the room is lacking storage space, consider installing shelves above the washer and dryer. You can stage the laundry room just like you stage the rest of your house, too. A fresh coat of paint and some neutral decor will help the room appeal to buyers.
9. Hardwood Floors
Most buyers today prefer hardwood, laminate, or vinyl flooring in the living areas of a home. Hard flooring is versatile, attractive, and easier to keep clean than carpeting. If your living room already has hardwood floors, feature that fact in the listing. If your home is mostly carpeted, replacing the carpeting with laminate or vinyl tiles could be a worthwhile upgrade.
10. Potential to Expand
Buyers love homes that have a possibility of expansion. An unfinished attic or basement could actually work in your favor because the buyer may have a specific vision for how they want to complete the space in the future. Large lots that allow space for expansion are a great selling feature, too.
11. Walkable Neighborhood
A walkable neighborhood is appealing to buyers for a number of reasons. It ensures that most or all necessities are nearby, and it generally means that the neighborhood and broader community is close-knit. Families with children may be especially impressed by a walkable neighborhood because their kids can easily get to school, parks, friends’ houses, and other locations. Unfortunately, if you don’t live in a walkable neighborhood, there isn’t much you can do to change the situation. If your home is in a walkable community, though, it should be highlighted in your listing.
12. Assumable Mortgage
Offering an assumable mortgage is one of the best ways to sell your home this year. An assumable mortgage allows the buyer to take over your existing mortgage with your current interest rate. Because rates are so high right now, many buyers would jump at the chance to take over your mortgage at a lower rate. With this arrangement, your buyer will offer you cash for your equity. Not all buyers have enough cash for an assumable mortgage, but when possible, this can be an appealing option for both parties in today’s tough real estate market.
It’s important to understand what buyers are looking for as you prepare your home for sale. If your home has any of these qualities, highlight them in your photos and listing description. If you’re planning to make upgrades to the property before selling, focus on adding some of these key features. The more you appeal to buyers, the faster and easier your selling experience will be.