What Are Buyers Looking For?

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What Are Buyers Looking For?
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The biggest challenge facing home sellers is how to meet the needs and wants of buyers without breaking the bank. “It’s a beauty contest and a price war,” says Jackie Voit, a Milwaukee-based real estate agent with Shorewest Realtors. “Buyers will continue looking until they find the best one, and it has to be better than the competition in both price and condition.”

Updated Kitchen
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Updated Kitchen

Because most people spend countless hours in the kitchen preparing food and gathering for meals, buyers flock to this room when viewing a home. “Kitchens very often sell a home, and it is probably the most important room in the house,” Voit notes. Make sure the kitchen cabinets, countertops and flooring are modern. Items such as stainless steel appliances, hardwood or ceramic tile flooring or solid-surface countertops may entice the buyer.

Open Floor Plan
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Open Floor Plan

Buyers often look for open and spacious living areas to maximize efficiency and comfort in a new home. Make the layout of your home more roomy by rearranging the furniture so areas such as living and dining rooms naturally flow into one another. “Moms want to be able to be in the kitchen and keep an eye on their children in another room,” Voit says. She explains that an open floor plan is a desirable “layout for entertaining and also makes the home appear more spacious.”

Spacious Closets
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Spacious Closets

Buyers will be looking at storage space, and an open-concept closet in the master suite and bedrooms is an attractive element. “A spacious walk-in closet is a big plus for women and for men if they don’t want their clothes to end up in a closet in another room,” Voit explains.

Updated Master Bath
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Updated Master Bath

To entice even the pickiest buyer, consider making modern and practical updates to the master bathroom. Buyers are looking for a spacious master suite that includes a connected full bathroom, Voit says. “A whirlpool tub, separate shower and dual sinks are common, appealing features in a master bath.”

Finished Lower Level
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Finished Lower Level

For many buyers, a basement that offers more space for family entertainment is more than just a bonus; it’s a must-have. A clean, dry and finished lower level recreational room can be used for storage or family room space, especially appealing for buyers with children. “This provides extra living space for an office, theater room, family room or children’s play area,” Voit says.

Updated Lighting
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Updated Lighting

No one wants to walk into a home with dull lighting or outdated brass light fixtures, says Wendy Slaughter, president of the Wendy Slaughter Team at REMAX Advantage Realty in Fulton, Maryland. Sellers can improve their home's look by updating the fixtures or adding track lighting to a few rooms. “Many buyers aren’t in the market for new construction, but all buyers want that super-clean, bright new-home feel,” Slaughter notes.

Neutral Paint
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Neutral Paint

An overly decorated home with wallpaper and bright red paint is not for everyone. Slaughter recommends that sellers refresh their walls and décor, keeping them neutral with classic, warm colors. “When the paint is new, it makes the buyer feel that the house has not been lived in, and it allows them to more easily see themselves living in the space,” she says. “Neutral is still in, but current neutrals are important.”

Uncluttered Space
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Uncluttered Space

Buyers spend more time touring uncluttered homes, Slaughter says, so it’s important for sellers to declutter and remove excess furniture and items they don’t need while the home is on the market. “A streamlined, staged home gives them space to breathe and space in their minds to soak in the home and imagine themselves living in it,” Slaughter explains. “Open, bright, clean and uncluttered spaces are what buyers are seeking today.”

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