The National Association of Realtors® 2013 Profile of Buyers’ Home Feature Preferences is a list of features buyers prefer when purchasing a home. It also takes a look a such factors as demographics, region and household composition.

“Deciding where to live comes with a lot of options, but buyers quickly realize that some features are more important than others when it comes to choosing the right house for them,” said NAR President Gary Thomas, broker-owner of Evergreen Realty, in Villa Park, Calif. “Buyers need to have a clear idea of what features are important to them and know where they are willing to compromise; in this respect, Realtors® can bring buyers home. Realtors® visit hundreds of homes with buyers each year, and have a unique understanding of what buyers value in their local markets.”

Geographical location and demographics greatly influence what is valued in a home by buyers. Repeat buyers, buyers of new homes, married couples and families with children typically purchased larger homes. First-time buyers and single women tended to buy older homes. The typical buyer purchased a home with three bedrooms and two full bathrooms. Slightly over half of the homes purchased were on a single level.

Southerners tend to buy newer homes and place a higher importance on air conditioning. They also tend to buy the largest homes. Among midwesterners and suburbanites, a home with a garage was valued high. Homes with basements were more popular in the Midwest and Northeast. Hardwood floors were valued higher by buyers in the Northeast than in other regions.

The age of the home buyer is also a factor. 42% of those 55 and older prefer a single-level home as well as single women. Single men preferred a finished basement. Among the features that were listed in the survey, the top 5 features that buyers look for are:

  • air conditioning
  • walk-in closet in master bedroom
  • cable, satelliteTV and internet ready
  • en-suite master bathroom
  • eat-in kitchen

The rooms that buyers were willing to pay the most for were a basement and an in-law suite, followed by laundry room and a den/study/home office/library.

Although 97 percent of recent buyers were satisfied with their home purchase, there are always features buyers would like that they don’t have, said NAR Vice President of Research Paul Bishop. “Most satisfied homeowners still said they would like more or larger closets and storage space. In addition, nearly half of recent buyers would prefer a larger kitchen, and two out of five would prefer a larger home overall.”

The 2013 Profile of Buyers’ Home Feature Preferences can be ordered by calling 800-874-6500, or online at www.realtor.org/prodser.nsf/Research.  The study costs $14.95 for NAR members and $49.95 for non-members.