After “location, location, location,” floor-plan is the next on a buyer’s list of priorities. In 2013, the size of a typical new single-family home increased, a continuing post-recession trend. The use and purpose of a home has evolved over the decades along with lifestyles and family size. In the 1950’s and into the mid-1960’s the American home had a large percentage of stay-at-home women. Formal entertaining in what was once called a parlor evolved into a formal living room that children were rarely allowed to be seen in. Frequent and formal dining room entertaining was a weekly event linked to that era and lifestyle. As more and more women found careers and economic demands required families with two working parents, the use of a formal living room or dining room became less and less necessary. Today many dining rooms double as libraries or home offices.
Are buyers looking for the most square footage for their dollar or is it something more? Based on personal experience, buyers are more interested in use of space, rather than just size. One of the most important things I’ve learned as a Realtor is that floor-plan is more important than square footage – a smart layout can make all the difference. Reducing excess or unused space and learning to live large in smaller homes has become popular. Buyers have become more concerned with “purpose of space.” Formal living rooms and dining rooms are no longer essential in today’s busy life, and are often times looked upon as unnecessary space that must be heated, cooled and cleaned, particularly by the millennial age group. Instead, other spaces have gained in popularity – an office, a mudroom, spacious family or great room, and a large laundry room are often found on most “must have” lists. Abundant storage is another sought after element. Buyers tour listings and look to see if there’s a place for everything, and everything in its place. Larger homes are still sought by families who need space for children, pets, in-laws and all the belongings that come along with them. Regardless of house size, buyers want to see that they can live clutter-free in their new home and be assured that their family’s belongings will be stored easily.
In addition to efficiency of space, buyers are concerned with costs of maintenance and utilities. On-demand hot water heaters always draw an enthusiastic response, and new generation solar panels, geo-thermal heat or any other green features will often relieve buyers’ concern about cost of energy bills.
Shopping for your new home is similar to dating – it’s the search for the “right one!” Each person’s lifestyle is unique, so look for the features that are most important to you. If every holiday is held at your house, then a dining room and large entertaining space might be at the top of the list. If you work from home, then the home offer will be important. Make a list of what you need and then compare each house you tour to the list. Before you know it, you’ll find the home of your dreams that best enhances the life you live.