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On the Priority List

In late January, Better Homes & Gardens shared proprietary research at the NAHB International Builders Show in Las Vegas. Their survey results revealed what home buyers want in their next home and which home improvement projects are at the top of the priority list.

Home Buyers: The Survey Shows
Downsizing is still a trend. 36% of home buyers were interested in smaller and more energy efficient homes. I think it is important not to ignore the remainder of the 64% who are comfortable with larger homes to meet their personal needs.

Largely, people aren’t blue over their desire to have a greener home. I wasn’t surprised that 87% are planning to have energy efficient heating and cooling systems in their next home. Regardless of the square footage, I am hearing more and more from homeowners who want to save money on energy costs. I have even noticed an increase in permits for solar panels in Anne Arundel County.

Home buyers are also seeking homes that can multi-task and have less wasted space. 59% have a home office as a top priority. 28% prefer a room that can be used for office space and for other activities like arts and crafts, and hobbies; outranking the desire for dedicated office space.

Next on the list were separate laundry rooms (85%), and outdoor grilling and living areas (68%), kitchen with eating area (67%) and an extra bedroom with a bath (65%).

Large garages are still popular, with more wanting 3 car garages.

Home buyers are expressing more interest in family rooms that are partially separated from the kitchen. Still almost half (49%) like the kitchen and family room combined in one area.

Wall mounted flat screen (51%) TV’s are gaining in popularity. Plus, people also want their TV’s networked with computers.

Home Improvers: The Survey Shows
The economy is much on everyone’s mind–this is still a major concern. No secret here. You can hardly pick up a paper or magazine and not read something about our economy issues.

People are looking for lower cost improvements that will “pack a big punch” and making the ‘got to’ improvement more important than the ‘want to’ improvement.

16% of home improvers feel this is the “right time to spend”, while 38% say it is not, and 52% are concentrating on home repairs and maintenance issues.

There is no mistaking that the economy has altered homeowners’ plans for improving their homes. And, the results of this survey support my notion. 76% surveyed says “yes” the economy has impacted their home improvement plans, and 50% have changed their plans.

Smaller projects like painting, replacing flooring, re-decorating, landscaping are very popular.

Last but not least is the energy efficiency component. Over a third thinks Energy Star windows and doors, high efficiency heating and cooling systems, and Energy Star appliances are important.

As important as trends are, I think it’s important to emphasize it’s your money, it’s your home. Do the improvements that will bring you joy and are at the top of your priority list.

As always, please email your questions or comments to

Thanks for reading,