Meeting buyer demands in a seller’s market: Top trends for 2014

With many real estate industry watchers predicting 2014 will be a seller’s market, you may think you
won’t need to do much to sell your home this spring.
Not so fast – while more buyers are likely to be competing for homes, that doesn’t mean they’re willing
to settle for less than perfect. In fact, coming out of the real estate crash of a few years ago, buyers
have learned the importance of getting the maximum value for their home investment.
While home prices are expected to rise in 2014, buyers continue to have high expectations.
Homes that meet buyers’ lists of "must-haves" and "would-love-to-have" features will
be positioned to sell more quickly and closer to or above -list price, experts say. So what are
homebuyers looking for in 2014?
Whole-home energy efficient features
In the earliest days of the efficiency trend, many buyers would have settled for a house that reduced
heating and cooling costs through insulation, or cut electricity bills with energy-sipping appliances.
Modern buyers, however, are interested in homes that take a holistic approach to energy efficiency.
That means supplementing energy savings with more features like daylighting and natural ventilation
through skylights, using solar-powered water heaters, and employing intelligent controls for lighting
and heating/cooling.
Buyers want energy-efficient upgrades that also offer high aesthetic appeal in addition to functionality,
making features like ENERGY STAR-qualified skylights particularly popular.
Smarter size, space
While buyers will always look to get the most bang for their buck, many are deciding that
"bang" does not necessarily mean "bigger."
The great recession saw many families downsize into smaller homes – with more manageable mortgages. Even
with the economy moving again, many homeowners have found they like the efficiency and utility of
smaller, more purposeful spaces.
The functionality of a room is now as important as size. Buyers will continue to embrace rooms that make
the most of the space available, such as compact kitchens that maximize storage and smaller bathrooms
that optimize lighting efficiency and privacy.
Aging-in-place potential
As more baby boomers approach and enter their golden years, homebuyers are looking toward the future and
seeking homes that offer the potential of allowing them to age in place. In demand are home features
that not only look good now (such as an open floor plan or larger bathroom) but that can be easily
adapted for older occupants who may face challenges with mobility, vision and other age-related issues.

A range of home features fit the bill, including ground-floor bedrooms, ample natural lighting to enhance
vision, open floor plans that minimize obstacles to mobility, larger bathrooms that can easily be fitted
with grab bars, kitchens with age-friendly features such as touch faucets, and smaller yards with lower
maintenance requirements.
(Courtesy of Brandpoint)