What Los Angeles Home Buyers Want
According to an article in the Washington Post, experts at the International Building Show in Las Vegas say American home buyers want smaller homes that are in step with changing lifestyles.
Buyers want “cost effective architecture” and homes that are “designed ‘green’ from the outset,” according to said Carol Lavender, president of the Lavender Design Group in San Antonio, TX.
Whether you are selling a new construction home or a 1920’s Pasadena Spanish Revival home, there are some features that many home buyers find appealing.
While I’m not advocating tearing out a wall to add a center island in your kitchen just to make your home more desirable to buyers, if you have the space, its not a bad idea to add one.
Following is a list of the top 10 most desirable features in new construction homes compiled by Avid Ratings, which conducts an annual survey of buyer preferences:
- Kitchens with center islands – Granite counters top the list. Here in the Los Angeles area, acceptable solid surface alternatives are Ceasarstone and Silestone. I have Ceasarstone counters in my kitchen and I LOVE them because they are so low maintenance.
- Energy Efficiency – Energy-efficient appliances, insulation and windows top the list. The use of recycled materials is valued more highly here in Los Angeles than in many other parts of the country.
- Home Office or Study -Buyers are willing to trade, say, a formal dining room or home theater to have a home office or study.
- Main-floor master suite – This is a very desirable feature for empty-nesters and for certain cultural groups. Many home buyers are thinking about “aging in place” and eliminating the need to climb stairs to the master bedroom is an important consideration.
- Outdoor living room –According to the report the popularity of outdoor living spaces is on the rise. In Los Angeles or Pasadena, many homeowners are adding outdoor kitchens or food prep areas to take advantage of our beautiful weather.
- Ceiling fans – While not always on the top of many Los Angeles and Pasadena home buyer’s list, newer models are very energy efficient.
- Master-suite soaker tubs – Whirlpools are desirable for many home buyers, according to the report. Here in the Los Angeles area, I see many large or double showers in new construction luxury homes as well. Personally, I prefer an air-jet soaking tub, like those made by Bain Ultra, over the traditional whirlpool tub. More sanitary.
- Stone and brick exteriors – Stucco and vinyl aren’t at the top of the list. Don’t forget this is a national survey and may not reflect Los Angeles home buyers’ taste. I agree with the low rating for vinyl siding, but stucco continues to be a very popular finish here in Los Angeles. I also see a lot of homes with full stone or partial stone facades. Brick, not so much.
- Community landscaping – “Preferably it includes walking paths and playgrounds.” This applies mainly to new, very large “communities” aka tracts. In any case, being able to walk to services like the post office, shops and restaurants is very desirable for most Pasadena and Los Angeles residents.
- Two-car garage – This would be much further up the list for me. I live in a home with no garage. Our garage was converted into a legal guest house in the 1940’s. While I’m happy for the extra income the guest house brings in, my next home will definitely have a 2 car garage.
I’d add the following to the “must have” list:
11. Walk in closets – Closet space is at a premium in most homes. I’d rather have slightly smaller rooms and more closet space.
12. Laundry room near the bedrooms – Since most of our dirty laundry is generated near the bedrooms, having a laundry room near- by would be a dream
13. Family room or great room off the kitchen – This is one of the most requested rooms for Los Angeles & Pasadena home buyers, whether they are buying a new construction home or an older home