While we can't do much to change local markets, we can offer you some advise about desirable home features. We looked to the American Institute of Architects Home Design Trends Survey to determine what features are most desirable to buyers today.
Special Function Rooms
According to the survey, special function rooms are becoming popular again. The most popular special function rooms are:
Outdoor Living Rooms: Architects indicate that outdoor living areas and rooms are gaining in popularity. When it's nice outside, people want a place to be outdoors and feel comfortable or able to entertain.
Home Offices: With the rise in telecommuting and self-employed workers, the home office in becoming a desirable feature in many homes. Remember, to get the tax write off for a home office, it must be used exclusively for work.
Mudrooms: Families find mudrooms invaluable at keeping coats, backpacks, and shoes at bay and organized. Many have additional built-in storage available and are many times partnered with a laundry area.
Au Pair/In Law Suites: Child care costs and nursing home costs are continually on the rise. Many families are opting for live-in childcare which can actually be more affordable, especially if one or both parents have to travel for work. Additionally, more and more families are opting to have grandma and grandpa live with them in a loving home environment rather than sending them to assisted living facilities.
Special Home Features
Along with special function rooms, some special home features are coming back into demand. Some of the most in demand features include:
Accessibility: Whether it's for aging in place or for disabled family members, features such as on-grade home entry, ramps and elevators and first floor master bedrooms are gaining in popularity.
Home Automation: With technology always improving and everyone having access to smart phones/tablets, it makes sense that people would want their homes to be more automated. Wireless telecommunications and data systems, long-range electrical controls/smart-home systems, automated lighting controls and central audio/video are some of the features buyers are looking for.
Energy Efficiency and Sustainability: Energy management systems, solar panels, electric docking stations for cars, back-up generators, security systems, and geothermal heating/cooling heat pumps are all on the list of popular home systems, according to residential architects.
If you already have some of these rooms or features in your home, then you're ahead of the game. Adding some of these rooms or features to your home could make it more marketable to potential buyers. And it doesn't have to cost a lot. Instead of featuring that extra bedroom as a guest room, furnish it as a home office. Take that closet by the back entry and retrofit it as mudroom lockers. Highlight any automated features of your home and at the very least consider updating to a programmable thermostat that can be controlled with your smart phone or tablet.
Give the buyers what they're looking for and you will have your home sold in no time.