Before making the decision to buy, people shopping for homes must consider hundreds of factors. This includes the location of the house, the school district, the size of the lot and also the interior features. Most buyers insist on finding a house that grants most of their wishes, but shoppers often settle for a house without getting everything they want.
When it comes to certain interior features, many are willing to spend thousands of dollars above the price of the home to have them included. At least 60% of buyers said they would be willing to pay more for central air conditioning, new kitchen appliances and a walk-in closet in the master bedroom if they did not already have these features. Many of the features that homeowners desire center around the kitchen. This includes stainless steel appliances and a kitchen island. The kitchen is a major focal point for home buyers, said Errol Samuelson, president of Realtor.com.
"People, in general, have shown more interest in having big and beautiful kitchens, and the kitchen is acting as an informal gathering place," Samuelson said in an interview with 24/7 Wall St. "We have gone from the '70s where it was about Hamburger Helper … and now we've got the Food Network where people are more interested in exploring cooking."
The desirability of some characteristics vary depending on the home buyers' age. In the survey, more people aged 35 to 54 found the internal features of a house to be very important in making a decision than any other age group. When people are younger and buying their first home, they are primarily interested in jumping into the real estate market to build equity and the features are less important, Samuelson noted. "For the younger demographic, home is a place to sleep and a place to store your clothes, but you are out all the time," he said.
When people get older, settle down with a spouse and start raising a family, they still consider the home and its features as investments. However, they often start to build more of a connection with the house, and the details of the home become important to improving the quality of life in the home, and less so for long-term value investment. The house becomes a "personalized area that separates [the occupants] from the outside world," Samuelson said.
While a high percentage of people said they would pay more for some features, how much they were willing to pay was not necessarily that high. Although six in 10 home buyers without a walk-in closet said they would be willing to pay more for a house with one, those people said they would only spend an additional $1,350, much less than what a walk-in closet typically costs.
The features described are not necessarily the most important deciding factor for potential home buyers, Brendon DeSimone, a Realtor and real estate expert with Zillow, told 24/7 Wall St. When looking at house, he noted, the first things people consider are factors such as the neighborhood, the school district and the difficulty of the commute to work.
"Everything starts with location," DeSimone said in an interview. "You can have the best house in the world, but if it's not in the neighborhood and school district where everyone wants to live, you are just not going to look at it."
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