What features and amenities are buyer looking for in your home and price range?
As Central Indiana real estate booms, the market tends to favor sellers. Record low housing inventory means homes sell quickly and buyers should prioritize their preferences. However, sellers can make the most of the market if they know what prospective buyers are looking for. Everybody’s looking for something a little different in their dream home, but knowledgeable real estate agents can help their clients identify and highlight a property’s most appealing selling points. Carpenter Realty Broker Associate Mark Coffey talks about the must-have features at each price point.
First Tier Homes
In much of the Indianapolis area, homes selling for $250,000 or less are starter homes for young families and fledgling professionals. Though these are the properties with the lowest supply relative to demand, but they’ll sell best if they’re up-to-date on aesthetics and service.
“A lot of homebuyers go in not having a lot of money to put into the house,” said Coffey. “They’re starting their lives. If they’ve got to walk into a house and totally need to repaint, that’s a cost they don’t have, because they’re spending what they can to get into their home. And they want to be really proud of it.”
Choosing the right colors and updating appliances can go a long way toward making a home feel modern. These days, shades of grey trump the taupe and beige walls that were all the rage five years ago, white trim beats stain trim, and black or slate colored appliances are more popular than a stainless finish.
“Maintenance costs scare a lot of buyers,” said Coffey. Showing that a home has been well cared for goes a long way toward easing that anxiety and helping a buyer make the leap. Coffey recommends cleaning up the landscaping or applying a fresh coat of paint if necessary.
And keeping the home clean and clutter-free makes it warm and inviting. “You want people to come in and see themselves in your home,” said Coffey.
At the next level — typically above $250,000 — it’s all about the details. These homes can take from a few weeks to a couple of months to sell, giving buyers the time to be selective and discriminating. “People start to expect more. They’ve put ten plus years into their career, they’re looking for that house to raise their family in, they’re planning to be there for 20 or 25 years,” said Coffey.
This is when higher end features stop being bonuses. They’re expected.
Granite countertops, hardwood, and tile become mainstays, while things like laminate or vinyl are exceptions. “These buyers want to see higher grade fixtures, high end carpeting. Those are the things that really help set a house apart,” said Coffey.
Executive homes take the longest to sell, said Coffey. Instead of fifty buyers per property, there’s likely one or two, so, “It’s really about finding the right buyer.”
However, these buyers tend to be a lot pickier than those purchasing first and second tier homes. “This isn’t their first or second home, often not even their third. This is what they’ve worked for, sometimes for 30 years. If everything isn’t right, they see that.”
With extensive home-owning experience and the funds to be particular, executive buyers will want to know not only that the furnace is the best available but that it has been serviced regularly.
Features that set these homes apart lend a feeling of luxury and personalized exclusivity. “Often, having a nice office helps, usually with built-in bookshelves or a sound system. A lot of people like a very nice outdoor area in the back, maybe with an in-ground pool, pergola, stamped concrete patio. It’s not just about the square footage,” said Coffey.
Despite the popularity of certain features, Coffey urges realtors and sellers not to make assumptions or follow trends that don’t suit the home, regardless of tier. “If your house is unique, sell the unique features. Instead of trying to hide all that character, highlight it,” he said.