What Home Buyers Want

Think bigger is better? Well, most of today’s home shoppers don’t. According to a new realtor.com survey, the homes that are in most demand by buyers in a hyper-competitive real estate environment have just three bedrooms and two baths.

Ranch-style homes top the wish lists of 42 percent of home seekers surveyed by realtor.com this spring. But more than half of those polled were looking for a relatively modest three-bedroom home, while 75 percent were considering a two-bathroom home.

The main idea behind the survey: to give buyers and sellers some insider guidance on rooms or features to invest in as the peak season for home purchasing gets under way. Here, some of the areas to target:

A kitchen that impresses

The kitchen continues to be a major draw for home buyers of all ages—80 percent ranked it as one of their three favorite rooms in their home. (The others were the master bedroom, at 49 percent, and the living room, with 42 percent.) There’s a strong desire among buyers for an updated kitchen, so consider investing in upgrades that will pay off down the road. Even if your budget doesn’t stretch that far, consider a less expensive project to give your kitchen a fresh look.

The great outdoors

Parents of young children are particularly excited about finding a large yard, although that feature ranked high with just about everyone. Although you can’t really make your yard bigger, you can work to maximize its usable space, and create an outdoor room that’s inviting for the entire family.

The garage is greater than the living room

In a kind of package deal with the big backyard, buyers also said they really, really want a garage. Shoppers ages 55 and older, in particular, actually preferred garages over living rooms. So, if you’re thinking of converting your garage into a man cave to impress buyers, don’t.

Not in demand

Meanwhile, the least-searched features were a guesthouse, an in-law suite and a man cave. If you have one of these, you might want to consider staging it in a way that shows off how it can be used for another purpose, such as a home office.

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