house plans

The 5 Most Wanted Features in a New Home

Desirable home features have changed over time and home design continues to evolve, reflecting current preferences. While once considered important, a formal living room today is typically viewed as unnecessary, if not a downright waste of square footage that can be used in better ways. Today's home buyers are not shy about what they want.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, buyer requests focus on the following features:

  • A Separate Laundry Room: Homeowners overwhelmingly request a space that does not serve a dual function as a corridor from the garage to the kitchen or exists only as an afterthought tucked into a small closet. Homemakers want the ability to sort dirty laundry and fold clean clothes; amenities like a soaking sink, a drip-dry closet or a built-in ironing board are often requested. Storage and light, preferably daylight, are considered necessities, and custom home plans might include specialized features like a dog shower and abundant cabinets. Second-floor laundry rooms offer added convenience, as would a laundry chute from an upstairs bathroom to a main level laundry center.
  • Lots of Storage: The belief that a house can never have too much storage applies, expecially to bedrooms where walk-in closets win raves. A convenient guest closet as well as a separate family closet near the back door or the garage are appreciated, as is an organized "drop and gather" alcove near the back door. Walk-in kitchen pantries high on the wish list for most home buyers and garage storage is frequently mentioned, whether it takes the form of built in cabinetry and a work bench, or a separate storage room. Convenient attic access is also important to most buyers, especially for homes without basements. 
  • Outdoor Living Space: Today the lines between indoor and outdoor living space have become somewhat blurred. With a growing focus on healthy living, and custom home designs that access to the outdoors from multiple interior rooms, it's natural that outdoor space becomes an extension of indoor living space. Homeowners want large private patios that are at least partially covered and function as additional "rooms." Outdoor kitchens and fireplaces, ceiling fans and built-in seating are common. Good exterior lighting is also a demand, for both safety and ambience. 
  • Energy Efficiency: Efficiency doesn't stop with purchasing Energy Star appliances. Design features such as natural lighting, high insulation, home orientation and thermal mass are desirable, as well as energy producing technologies (geo-thermal or photovoltaic). Hand-in-hand with energy efficiency is environmental concern, so home design that respects natural environments and preserves resources is fully appreciated by a majority of buyers.
  • Flex Spaces or Bonus Rooms: Family Needs Change. The playroom that seemed so important to a young family can easily be transformed into a teen center, game room or study nook when toddlers become teenagers. Or, depending on its location, it might fulfill the need for a home office, art studio, library, indoor potting shed, or adult playroom once the kids have other interests or homes of their own.

Although these 5 requests lead in the polls, it's always important to remember that custom home design should cater to individual wants and needs above all.