What are Tuscaloosa Home Buyers Looking for?

Young Couple moving into new home

Photo Courtesy of IStockPhoto.com

Gen Y/millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, now make up the largest percentage of today’s buyers at 31 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors®, followed by Gen X buyers at 30 percent and younger boomers at 16 percent.  In order to successfully market your home to these buyers you and your agent must first understand what they are looking for in a new home.

All markets are a little different but these are the trends we are seeing in Tuscaloosa.

  1.  Kitchens and Baths

Updated Bathroom

Today’s buyers are seeking updated kitchens and baths due to their limited budgets.  A majority of their savings will go toward the down payment and furnishings and kitchens and baths are some of the most expensive parts of a home to update.

Buyers are also looking for a spacious kitchen with an open floor plan.  A generation ago, formal dining rooms were on everyone’s wish list, but today there isn’t as much appeal to a true formal dining room.  The reason is how today’s home buyers entertain, they want people to flow through the home during a gathering rather than be closed off in rooms.  The kitchen, especially one with a bar area, has become the hangout room along with the family room.  An open floor plan that can easily transition from the kitchen to the TV/Family room is very high on the list.  Is some aspects the kitchen is the new living room.

2.  Low Maintenance

Buyers today are looking for homes that have low maintenance features such as wood floors (as opposed to carpet) and granite as well as other solid surface countertops because they are both hassle-free and attractive.  This goes along to the outside of the home as well. These homebuyers grew up watching their parents spend their weekends painting, cutting the grass, and cleaning gutters.  Today’s homebuyers don’t want to do those things! They want their weekends to themselves.

3.  The Home Office

Home Office

Did you know that over 13 million Americans work from home?  With that trend continuing home offices have great appeal.  Home offices are not just for those who work full time at home.  As technology advances more and more people will have the options to work from home at least part of the time.  This dedicated space is very important because it can help them keep focused and to concentrate while working or simply paying bills. An office room doesn’t have to be used as an office. They make a great play room or a home gym, but remember if it doesn’t have a window and a closet it is NOT an extra bedroom.

4.  Location, Location, Location

Home buyers today, especially younger buyers tend to see location differently than their parents.  Young buyer are looking for properties that are close to their work or their favorite locations to hang out.  Many home buyers in Tuscaloosa have a certain area of town they would like to live in, especially those with children, others are looking for the right amount of space. With private schools and home schooling being as popular as they are in Tuscaloosa a great location to some buyers doesn’t mean being in the most popular public school zone.  Make sure your agent is aware what is around your home in terms of restaurants, coffee shops, parks, private schools, etc.

There are always other factors that affect what buyers are looking for in Tuscaloosa.  While this isn’t usually a main selling point, the energy efficiency of a home is not far from a buyers mind.  Many times they will figure these costs into their budget so they can make upgrades to improve efficiency after closing, this will affect their offer price.

Another factor many buyers are looking at is the homes technology appeal. Questions that will have to be addressed when selling your home will include, what internet service providers are available?, do you get good mobile phone service inside the home?  These are very important things to the younger generation of home buyers and this is even more true in rural areas of Tuscaloosa.

Everyone watches real estate shows on TV and these have impacted the ways buyers look and perceive a home. People will comment on how a home is or isn’t staged.  A staged home can make a huge difference to a sellers bottom line.  People generally make up their mind about a home as soon as they walk through the door, the expectations must be met or exceeded in order to bring good offers.  In addition to staging a home, make sure there are lots of HD photos which are professional quality.  It is hard to underestimate the importance of the quality of the photography on your online listing.  Many buyers will not even schedule a showing if there are not many photos or if the photos are not good.

Chris Lee   –  RealtySouth  –  Tuscaloosa, AL           205-233-5183          www.chriswlee.com      clee@realtysouth.com

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