If You Were Selling Today, Would You Have the Home That Buyers Want?

Patio set in back yard of house next to tall privacy fenceA privacy fence was a great investment for this  homeowner (and any future buyers), considering her safety-minded neighbor loves  mounted outdoor cameras. Image: Lee Niata Johnson from Little Bitty Damn Houze blog

Two new surveys about what homebuyers want have me feeling pretty smug about  my own home choices. Maybe you’ll feel the same.
Privacy from neighbors remains at the top of the most-wanted list (important  to 86% of buyers), according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS’® “2013  Community Preference Survey.” Privacy is no doubt the best feature of my  mid-century ranch home, since I can only see one neighbor’s house and it’s a  couple hundred feet down my driveway.
It may not be practical to move your neighbors farther away (although I’m  sure many people wish they had that superpower), but you can increase your  home’s privacy (and therefore its resale value) by planting a living  privacy screen of trees and shrubs or by physically screening  off your patio.
Related: Trees  Contribute to Property Value, Energy Savings, and More
3 More Takeaways for the Next Time You Remodel
1. More and more generations are living together. Another  NAR survey, the “2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers,” found 14% of buyers  purchased a home suited to a multigenerational household due to children over  the age of 18 moving back into the house, cost savings, and the health and  caretaking of aging parents.
I did that back when my parents were still alive, and it worked out great for  everyone. I didn’t have time to let my infant daughter nap on my shoulder all  afternoon, but my mom did. She couldn’t drive to church meetings at night, but I  could take her. And neither of us liked cleaning the gutters, but my husband  didn’t mind that chore.
Even if you’d rather live in a cardboard box than with your mother, you might  want to consider the multigenerational  living trend when you’re remodeling. For instance, opting for a full bath  when finishing the basement could offer more convenience for you now and boost  your home’s resale value by making it more appealing to a multigenerational  family.
2.  On average, homeowners live in their home for nine  years. That’s up from six years in 2007. Since you’ll be in your home  for a long time, it makes sense to remodel to suit your taste but also with  long-lasting marketability in mind. After all, you don’t want to have to redo  stuff. For instance, you can go for trend-defying kitchen  features, like white overtones and Shaker-style cabinets, which work with a  variety of styles.
I feel compelled to caution against going so far out of the norm for your  neighborhood that it’ll turn off potential buyers even nine years from now. (It  never hurts to get your REALTOR®’s opinion on your remodeling plans.)
Related: Home  Upgrades with the Lowest ROI
3.  Homebuyers love energy efficiency. Heating and  cooling costs were “somewhat” or “very important” to a whopping 85% of buyers.  If your home could use an energy-efficiency upgrade, go with projects that have  a solid return on investment, like sealing your air  leaks and adding attic insulation.  You’ll save money on your utility bills now and when you’re ready to sell, your  home will appeal to buyers looking for efficiency.
By the way, to take  back your energy bills, you need to do at least four things. One to two  fixes won’t cut it, thanks to rising energy costs.
About two-thirds of survey respondents also thought energy-efficient  appliances and energy-efficient lighting were important. Tuck away your manuals  and energy-efficiency information when you buy new appliances and lighting. When  you’re ready to sell (in nine years) you can pull those out and display them  where buyers will see them.

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