While David Letterman’s Top 10 lists generally culminate in a No. 1 ranking, the following list includes in no particular order 10 things that important to buyers today, especially Millennials who represent a significant buyer segment in today’s market.
1. Quality of the neighborhood — Neighborhoods are really important to buyers, however, neighborhood choice varies by household composition.
2. Convenience to Job — Commuting is a necessary evil, but homes that are close to work enhance work-life balance, a growing priority for many Americans, especially Millennials.
3. Overall affordability of homes — With job markets tight and retirement funds eroded thanks to the great Recession, it has never been more important to keep housing related costs as low as possible, ideally no more than one third of pre-tax income.
4. Quality of Schools — A recent survey revealed that nearly 45 percent of today’s buyers are willing to pay a premium for quality schools.
5. Homes suited for the next 15 years — Just five years ago, buyers were looking to stay in their home about 10 years. Today, buyers expect to stay closer to 15, so buyers are looking for a home that can support their lifestyle as they evolve through that time period.
6. The mortgage — In today’s tight credit environment, getting a mortgage can be a challenge. Buyers may have to consider homes below what they desire in order to get an acceptable loan to value ratio. They may need the sellers help to financially qualify.
7. Energy efficiency — The National Association of Homebuilders surveyed buyers to see what was most important to them in new home construction and energy efficiency topped the list. Four of the top most wanted features involve saving energy: 94 percent of home buyers want energy-star rated appliances, 91 percent want an energy-star rating for the whole home, 89 percent want energy-star rated windows, and 88 percent want ceiling fans.
8. Open floor plans — Spaces that are great for entertaining mean quality time with friends and family, something especially important to Gen Y.
9. High ceilings — Taller ceilings are not only aesthetically pleasing in that they impart grandness to the home, they also promote greater air circulation and more natural light than lower ceilings.
10. Technology — Can you run your home from a cell phone? Then market to a Millennial who prizes a homes’ technological amenities. They will be prized over curb appeal.
Again, the above 10 items are in no particular order but the are all are in play in today’s market. All real estate is local. Listen to your Realtor. Remember, the person buying your house is most likely younger than you are. They are evaluating your house according to their needs.