What makes a house really stand out? Curb appeal is one part of the formula, but there are other factors that come into play. Learn about finding and selling desirable homes — and how to make listings more attractive to buyers.

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Every agent wants to list homes that receive multiple offers and ultimately sell for more than the asking price. While increased demand for housing, coupled with declining inventory across the nation, means that some buyers are willing to settle for a “less than perfect” housing situation, there is no denying that desirable homes are going to sell the fastest and at the highest price.

By understanding just what qualifies as a desirable home — as well as how you can maximize its appeal — you will be well on your way to finding the right listings.

What makes a home desirable in the first place?

Ultimately, a desirable home depends on the perspective of the buyer. An unconventional client may ask for niche amenities that are hard to come by but that they are willing to pay a premium for. In general, however, most buyers are looking for a similar set of features — and these aren’t necessarily luxury items.

A 2020 survey from Kiplinger found that the most desirable features for homebuyers include a laundry room, energy efficient windows and appliances, a patio, ceiling fans, garage storage space and exterior lighting. Each of these features was wanted by 85 percent or more of buyers.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for areas that can be used as a home-office space has also increased. Of course, an appropriate ratio of bedrooms and bathrooms also remains a must — though the “desirable” amount will vary based on the size of the family of the prospective buyer.

The importance of curb appeal

A home could have the perfect layout, but if its curb appeal isn’t up to par, buyers are going to pass it by. A desirable home looks the part — and that means that its design lives up to the standards of the area.

Generally speaking, a desirable home is going to match the architectural style of the region. An adobe-style home won’t look out of place in the Southwest, but it would seem odd and undesirable in an East Coast neighborhood dominated by colonial-style architecture. Most buyers aren’t going to want to live in the “oddball” house.

For older structures, enhancing curb appeal (and interior aesthetics) means making strategic updates that preserve history while embracing modern needs. 

In an interview with Big Time Daily, Costas Polycarpou, founder of Polyteck, explained, “We have many buildings in London that are absolutely amazing and full of history — but they don’t fully meet the needs of our modern world. Fortunately, it’s not an either/or proposition. We don’t have to tear down these gorgeous structures. Instead, we can restore their most defining features and refurbish them to account for updated electrical support, access control, HVAC, plumbing and more.”

Working with sellers to make needed aesthetic or functional improvements will go a long way in making a home desirable to the local market.

Maximizing desirability during the listing process

Selling a home often comes down to presentation. The same property can look extremely desirable or not desirable at all depending on how it is presented to potential buyers.

This process should start with staging the home. Agents often need to work with buyers to declutter and depersonalize the space to make it easier for prospective buyers to imagine how their own possessions would look inside the home.

This process also makes it easier to uncover small imperfections (such as scratches or nicks in the walls) that should be repaired before listing a home for sale. Rearrange furniture to create more walking space, giving extra emphasis to the master bedroom, living room and kitchen.

Finally, open up the blinds to let in as much natural light as possible. The added light will help the home feel larger and ensure that photos you take for the listing present the home in the most attractive manner.

With the right presentation, a desirable home’s listing will get much more interest from buyers, resulting in more requests for showings and more offers.

Finding and selling desirable homes

As with so many other aspects of real estate, finding desirable homes to sell comes down to knowing your market. 

When you understand the tastes and budget of the market you serve, you will know which homes will be the most appealing to them. You will have a better understanding of any curb-appeal updates that need to be made, or staging and presentation techniques that will help the home sell faster.

Not all buyers are created equal. But when you know what is desirable for your unique market, you can have confidence that every home you list will sell.

Imran Tariq is the CEO with Webmetrix Group in Florida. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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