What Homebuyers Want Today

September 18th 2002
What Homebuyers Want Today

According to a new survey, today's homebuyers want:

- At least one fireplace

- Central air conditioning.  83% of respondents want central air conditioning in their home

- High ceilings. Some homebuyers want ceilings as high as 11 feet. First-floor ceiling homes built 10 years ago average eight feet.

- Home offices. Homebuyers want bigger and better-wired home Offices.

- Open space.

- Larger kitchens. Homebuyers want more counter space, table space, central islands, walk-in pantries and double sinks.

- More bathrooms. Thirty years ago, the average home had 1.5 baths. Today it has 2.5 to 3. Homes-built in the 21st century should come with plenty of bathrooms. Buyers want linen closets, exhaust fans, separate shower enclosures, whirlpool tubs, water temperature controls, dressing/make-up areas and private toilet compartment in their baths

- Two storeys. Increasingly over the past two decades, homebuyers have shifted toward a preference for two-storey homes, In 1971, only 17% of new homes built had two storeys. By 1995, 48* of new homes built had two storeys.

- High-tech security systems.

- Media rooms.

- Two- or three-car garages.

- Sunrooms.

- Exercise rooms.

- Laundry rooms.

- Communications ports. upgraded and improved wiring systems provide better access to the internet and cable TV stations.

- Multi-purpose rooms. In some homes, the traditional kitchen and family rooms will melt into one larger, now, multi-purpose room, either divided by a half wall or left completely open.

- More storage space. In some bedrooms, closets will cover an entire wall. Most master bedrooms will include his and her walk-in closets.

- Energy management systems.

- Lighting controls. Homes built in the 21st century will suit individual lifestyles, providing havens in which homeowners can live comfortable and convenient lives. And again we will wonder, as a new amenity becomes commonplace in the average home, "how did we ever live without it?"

COMPOSITE HOME (Based on homebuyers preferences)

  • -Single-family detached, two-storey with basement
  • -Median size: 2,196 sq. ft.
  • -Bedrooms 4
  • -Bathrooms: 2.5
  • -Parking: 2 car garage
  • -Extra bedroom: Guest room/Home office
  • -Kitchen: large counter space, place for table and chair, double sink, walk-in pantry, island work area, Corian counter top
  • -Bath: white toilet tub & sink, separate shower enclosure, private toilet compartment, linen closet, exhaust fan
  • -Security system: Internal security system
  • -Kitchen-family room: visually open, with a half wall/completely open
  • -Specialty areas: laundry near kitchen or bedroom, dining room, home office, den/library, sound proofing
  • -Double pane windows
  • -Built-in shelving
  • -Fireplace in: family room
  • -Skylights in: bathroom/kitchen
  • -Bay windows in: living/dining room
  • -Cathedral ceiling in: living room
  • -Front exterior material: brick
  • -Outdoor features: lot with trees, exterior lighting
  • -Ceiling height: 9 feet on first floor


Homeowners who participated in a survey at a recent parade of renovated homes sponsored by the Greater Vancouver Home Builders' Association Renovation Council cited experience, reliability, quality and honesty as their four most important considerations when choosing a home renovator. "The survey answers helped us to determine trends in preferences and expectations. For example, the vast majority of respondents indicated that they would be willing to pay for a third-party warranty on their home renovations, that they would prefer to hire a professional renovator rather than try to tackle the job themselves, and that kitchen and bathroom renovations continue to top the list," said Renovation Council Chair Ralph Belisle. Belisle said more than $1 billion will be spent on home renovations in 1999 throughout the Lower Mainland, so it is crucial that homeowners do their homework before they sign on the bottom line. "Three years ago the cost of the renovation was the number one priority on the survey respondents' list of key considerations. The issue of cost this year was rated seventh as more value was placed on experience, reliability, quality and honesty," said Belisle.

SURVEY FINDINGS (rounded to the nearest percentage):

What type of renovation are you planning?
Kitchen 28%
Bathroom 23%
Finish basement 11%
Major addition 10%
Family room 7%
Energy retrofit 5%
Home office 4%
Special needs 1%
Variety of other projects 10%

How much money are you planning to spend on your renovation?

$1,000-$5,000 6%
$5,000-$10,000 12%
$10,000-$20,000 33%
$20,000-$30,000 16%
$30,000-$50,000 13%
$50,000-$100,000 13%
$100,000-$150,000 6%
$150,000+ 1%

Do you plan to hire a contractor for your renovation project?

Yes 62%
Maybe 26%
No 12%

What are your most important considerations when choosing a contractor?

Experience 16%
Reliability 14%
Quality 13%
Honesty 11%
References 10%
Ethics 8%
Cost 7%
Compatibility 5%

Would you prefer to hire a renovator who offered a third-party warranty ever a renovator who could not offer a warranty?

Yes 98%
No 2%

If you answered yes to the previous question, Would you be willing to pay a $300-minimum fee for a five-year warranty on a $40,000 renovation and a $800 minimum fee for a five-year warranty on a $100,000 renovation?

Yes 83%
No 17%

Will you need financing help to complete your renovation?

No 51%
Maybe 26%
Yes 23%

Would you be willing to spend a portion of your renovation budget to make your home more energy efficient?

Yes 65%
Maybe 29%
No 6%

Would you be willing to spend a portion of your renovation budget to improve your home's indoor air quality?

Yes 52%
No 48%

Would you be willing to renovate to make your home earthquake proof?

No 52%
Yes 48%