Why Buyers Fall in Love With a House

We all have driven by a house, or seen a magazine photo, that instantly appeals to a degree that we wish we lived there. Realtor.com recently ran a survey with 1,000 respondents that had admitted that they had experienced crushes on real estate properties. They wanted to know what factors about those houses appealed to the respondents. Curb appeal

So what observations can we make that will benefit us in our house purchases and renovations? The obvious one is that we should add these items to the list of criteria when we purchase. This gives us the enjoyment of these features while we live there and the best opportunity when it comes time to sell.

Top factor causing crush on a house (%) Women Men Combined
– outdoor living spaces 54 46 100
– open floor plans 42 30 72
– curb appeal 29 35 64
– garages 40 40
– updated appliances and fixtures 29 29
According to Realtor.com survey, Real Estate News Feb 13, 2014. Rachel Stults

But if we already own a house, what does this survey imply? The thought that comes to mind is that it turns the old wisdom of where to invest renovation dollars on its head. Conventional wisdom called for investing in the kitchen and bathrooms for best returns. This survey suggests that as long as these areas are presentable, we are better off spending to upgrade outdoor living spaces. To some degree we may get double benefit if the design adds to curb appeal as well.

Open floor plans are high on the list as well. I interpret this to mean open main floors. Most things can be achieved with enough money. The thought I would like to add is that bungalows new enough to be constructed using roof trusses have an advantage. Interior walls tend not to be load-bearing and are easier and cheaper to remove. You will still need to have approved plans before you start swing the sledgehammers but it’s a nice criteria to add to your list.

So far the top factors have appealed to both men and women. The battle of the sexes is between the appliances and fixtures versus garages. I will suggest that responses here are much lower and you won’t be getting the same bang for your buck. Tread cautiously here. It’s easy to spend more than the market is willing to pay back. On the other hand, if you are going to stay in the house for a few years a different logic may apply.

The overall conclusion is that to the degree you can create beautiful outdoor living spaces and curb appeal, the better your home is likely to appeal to buyers. Fortunately much of this work is easier to tackle as weekend do it it yourself projects than interior renovations.

Author: Rob Cornish is a Home Inspector in Ottawa, Canada. © 2014 HomeXam Inc.
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