Maybe you’ve always dreamed of having an intimate dining room with built-ins. Or maybe you’re fine with borrowing space from an expansive bathroom to build a reading nook. If you never plan to move, go right ahead and remodel your home in a uniquely personal way. If you plan to move within five years however, you may want to pay closer attention to what homebuyers want in your area.What features are “must-haves” for homebuyers? Are there features that are likely to be deal breakers? To find out, we’ll be interviewing realtors throughout greater Boston to get their take on “hot” home features in specific areas. We’re kicking off the series with a conversation with Kelly Bruno, a broker with RE/MAX Leading Edge, to talk about what homebuyers want in Somerville and Cambridge properties.
Q: If you were going to renovate in Somerville or Cambridge, where would you invest your money to increase your home’s market value?
A: The kitchen is key. Buyers are looking for function, luxury and a great layout for the kitchen. They definitely want an open floor plan with natural light. They also love high ceilings with recessed lighting and are looking for quality in their cabinetry and appliances. Black or white appliances are seen as low end – they want stainless steel.
Bathrooms are the next most important. Bathrooms adjacent to kitchens are very common in older homes in Somerville and Cambridge, but this layout is not desirable for todays' buyers. However, buyers do want a second bath on the main floor. A master suite with an en-suite bath is the preferred layout. As for bath features, buyers really respond to European fixtures, Italian marble, rainfall shower heads, and radiant heating in the floors. Walk-in showers provide a real “wow” factor.
Q: Are there certain floor plans that resonate best with your buyers?
A: My buyers are looking for flexible floor plans and plenty of closet space. A multifunction living/family room is more important than separate rooms. Buyers also don’t need – or even want – a separate dining room. A kitchen island with stools and an open dining area is popular. Buyers are also looking for at least two bedrooms with a flex room to use for a study, den or home office.
Q: Are there features that older homeowners often overlook but that are very important to current buyers?
A: Smart-home technology! Built-in sound systems, NEST thermostats, and automated lighting systems such as Lutron are all in demand.
Q: Do buyers care about “green” features?
A: Buyers love green features! Materials that are healthier and environmentally sensitive are quite popular. Anything that is easier on the environment and costs less in the long run is desirable. High efficiency heating and cooling, tank-less water heaters and energy star appliances are really important.
Q: Are there any real turn-offs for buyers?
A: Anything that seems really dated. Wood paneling, carpeting, wallpaper, pastel colors, glazed tile in the kitchen, popcorn ceilings, outdated appliances…. many of these are cosmetic but have a big impact.
Home design preferences may come and go, but the importance of up-to-date kitchens, baths and a great floorplan will never diminish. It is no surprise that nearly a third of current projects at Morse Constructions include a kitchen or bath renovation. To find out more, please give us a call at 617-666-4460 or use our online contact form.