6 Things Buyers Want in a New Home


Thinking about putting your home on the market? You’ve undoubtedly thought about how you can get top-dollar for it, but you don’t want to shell out a ton of dough for something you can’t enjoy. With that being said, know that buyers can spot cheap finishes, and finding a good balance between high-quality and affordable will always be the best approach. The market is on the up-and-up, with a higher demand and lower inventory across the country, so it’s definitely a good time to make some easy upgrades and get your home listed!

Remember: Not all buyers want or need their home to be move-in ready, but if your area’s housing market is particularly competitive, you have to do whatever you can to appeal to a wide pool of buyers. If you put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and try to understand what would have the most value for them, you’ll be halfway to a marketable property that will sell fast. Here are six of the simplest, highest return things you can do to ready your home for market.

  1. New Light Fixtures—There’s nothing worse than doing a walk-through of a home and seeing the space plastered with those unmistakably 1990s brass-and-glass light fixtures. To a buyer, that signifies one thing, and one thing only: “I will have to replace those.” And the last thing you want to do when you’re showing your home is to leave the buyer feeling like their new home will be a never-ending project.

New light fixtures, on the other hand, have the power to illuminate a space in more ways than one. They show that the homeowner is keen on keeping things well-maintained and fresh, and that they care about the little details. They also add style, warmth and texture to un-staged homes. Updating to LED lights is the best approach in 2018, but we’ll talk more about that below.

  1. A Little Curb Appeal—There’s a reason why your realtor is probably pushing you to tear down that rickety old fence and plant some fresh, new perennials. Landscaping can boost a home’s value by up to 12 percent, which could add a hefty chunk to the sale price. The key here, say the experts, is to focus on infusing color and large plants into the front landscape.

Another thing to consider is that, while many buyers will appreciate a big lawn for the dogs and kids, there’s a bigger demand for sustainable, low-maintenance yards now more than ever. Do your best to give your market both—maybe a grass-free front yard and a little bit of lawn for the kids in the back—so buyers don’t look at the space and immediately feel stressed about lawn chores.

  1. Updated Appliances—It goes without saying, but that shiny new washer and dryer could fetch you a pretty penny when you put your home on the market! You don’t have to go all-out with top-of-the-line appliances but know that buyers are turned off by mismatched appliances and those that are old and inefficient. With that being said, the experts caution against luxury appliances in middle-ground areas and standard appliances in high-end areas.


  1. Energy Efficiency—Perhaps one of the simplest things you can do to make your home more appealing to your area’s market is to lower its overall operating and maintenance costs. Naturally, if a home’s heating, cooling and energy bill is lower, it’s going to draw buyers from a wider budget range.

First things first: Upgrade to energy efficient lighting, and if you’ve done a whole-house upgrade from incandescent to LEDs, make sure to market that to your buyer—those bulbs will last for years! Making small improvements to relieve your home’s heating and cooling systems, like upgrading to more efficient ceiling fans, can also help boost the sale price of your home.

  1. Updated Finishes—If you’re struggling with where to funnel the funds for upgrades, know that your biggest price boosts will undoubtedly come out of an updated kitchen, but you’ll have to shell out some serious dough to see a high return. On the other hand, you’ll get the biggest return on your investment from affordable finishes, like a new front door, deck or garage door.

Although bathrooms have a lower return on investment than kitchens–one study showed that kitchens add 82.7 percent of the project’s cost back to the home’s value—you can still earn a profit when you upgrade the bathroom. The same study showed that adding a bathroom can yield a return of about 60 percent. When choosing new finishes for the kitchen or bathroom, follow the same rule as you would when buying appliances: Choose high-end finishes in high-end neighborhoods and budget finishes in more middle-ground areas.


  1. A Fresh Coat of Paint

And, of course, you can’t go wrong when you give your home a fresh coat of paint! There’s something about newly painted walls that makes a home feel fresh, clean and well-cared-for. But it’s a debate as old as time—what color should you paint a house you’re trying to sell? According to Zillow’s 2017 Paint Color Analysis, homes with shades of blue and light gray yielded $5,400 more! So, there you have it…stick to the cool tones!

More Things to Consider

Because every market is different, it’s important to talk with an experienced real estate agent to get some insight on what sells best where. In some markets, it might be well worth your while to make bigger investments—such as a new garage, a converted attic or basement or even a pool—while in others, making very few upgrades might be more appealing to a broader base of buyers. To keep above water, make sure that you’re using market research and putting yourself in the buyer’s shoes in order to make the right decisions on updates.

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