No matter the generation, first-time buyers know what they want when it comes to home features. But just as importantly, they know what they don't want.
Here's what you might want to skip in your next project if you want to appeal to first-time buyers:
Instead of a bigger house with a few amenities …
Think smaller with high-quality amenities. Last year, the average size of newly built homes was the smallest it's been in eight years, and this was no coincidence. First-time home buyers, who made up 38%2 of all home buyers in 2019, are demanding smaller homes3 that are an average of 1,977 square feet. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), about 62%4 of first-time home buyers value quality amenities over the size of a home. When it comes to selecting kitchen appliances, you can't go wrong with stainless steel, which nearly 70%5 of home buyers prefer.
Instead of cork flooring …
Opt for hardwood. Cork flooring might be durable and aesthetically pleasing, but hardwood still reigns6 as the most popular flooring choice. Warm wood tones offer a nice balance against the popular modern farmhouse7 style that prioritizes a combination of neutrals like whites and grays. Hardwood also gives buyers the natural look they want. First-time buyers tend to seek out natural-looking surfaces8 such as stone countertops and wood dining tables. Also gaining traction with buyers is luxury vinyl flooring9, a popular alternative to hardwood. It's extremely durable and offers a cost-effective way to mimic the natural, high-end look of wood.
Instead of a traditional, closed floor plan …
Keep layouts open. About 76%10 of first-time home buyers want the kitchen and the family room to be either partly or completely open instead of clearly defined. This allows for more multifunctional spaces that can be customized as needed. Buyers are looking for flexibility in their home layouts, and versatile spaces like bonus rooms fill that need. Bonus rooms11, which are sought-after by first-time buyers, are areas of the home that can be used for a kid's playroom, a home office, a home gym, a study space and more.
Instead of a formal living room ...
Incorporate a laundry room. Home buyers aren't prioritizing a formal gathering space12. Instead, an area for laundry is much more practical and sought-after. It also tops buyers' lists as the most-wanted13 new home feature.
The location of the laundry room is important, with 57%14 of first-time buyers preferring laundry on the first floor. With homes getting smaller in size, it's important to be mindful of designing a laundry area that is as discreet as it is functional. Stackable washers and dryers as well as all-in-one washers and dryers offer a compact, space-saving solution with maximum cleaning power.