What homebuyers want: Top 5 must-haves for 2023

Bainbridge Island real estate expert shares essential tips for sellers

As we head into spring – real estate’s ‘busy season’ – home sellers may want to know what today’s buyers are looking for most.

“Peak selling season typically falls from March to June, when both inventory and the buyer pool are high,” says Crystal Hill, of Chill Homes. “I show homes on Bainbridge Island, all over the Puget Sound and Seattle, giving me a great idea of what buyers are looking for most in 2023.”

Here’s Hill’s top 5 must-haves:

1. Neutral Colors

Bright colors and statement wallpaper are trendy, but when selling you need to appeal to the largest audience possible in order to get top dollar – so it’s all about neutrals. Think light color palettes like white, gray, sage green, and light-colored wood. Although light surfaces have been a popular option for a while now, black is definitely making a comeback!

“When prepping your home for the market, sparkling up the floors, walls, fixtures, and cabinetry can easily be done with minimal expense and a high return on investment,” Hill says.

Hill advises homes sellers to create or increase storage in their kitchen and bathroom.

Hill advises homes sellers to create or increase storage in their kitchen and bathroom.

2. Storage

Storage is often a major concern with homebuyers, especially in the kitchen.

“Walk-in pantries, coat closets and mud rooms all add value because they hide away the daily clutter we all like to pretend doesn’t exist.” Hill says. “If creating or expanding these spaces isn’t an option, clearing out clutter and installing plenty of shelving, cabinets, hooks, etc is a great place to start.”

3. Energy-efficient Features

Whether for the environment or to avoid high electricity bills, buyers today love energy-efficient features!

Install energy-efficient appliances, LED bulbs, dimmer switches and motion sensors to curb energy use. While double or triple pane windows are always preferred, you should at least check and replace any weather strips and sealing as needed to prevent heat escape.

“An attached garage may also leak warm (or cool) air from your home. There are a few ways to combat this – one of the most effective is installing new garage doors,” Hill says. “And speaking of garages, 2023 buyers love a place to charge an electric vehicle – it’s the wave of the future!”

4. Room to Breathe

Homebuyers are looking for a relaxing space to unwind, a productive place to do work, and a great space for entertaining. With home offices in peak demand from 2020 to 2022, many people are still working from home or at least in a hybrid arrangement.

“They’ve also picked up new hobbies or purchased new at-home equipment,” Hill says. “Today’s buyers are looking for flex-rooms that serve multiple functions, so define those spaces that can be used as a combination guest room, office and man-den.

“Also high in demand is a covered back patio, porch or deck and outdoor entertainment features like outdoor kitchens, barbecue equipment and fire pits. Bonus points if your home is on a quiet road or private drive!”

5. Affordability

The median distance buyers moved from one house to the next increased last year from 15 miles to 50!

“As prices continue going up, buyers continue moving out,” Hill says, “Seattleites looking to move into the ‘burbs are arriving in droves to Kitsap county.”

She points out that although many sellers are sitting on a lot of equity, first time homebuyers are likely to be left relying heavily on loans to come up with the funds for their purchase.

“Despite all the buzz about today’s ‘high’ interest rates, a lot of buyers are surprised to hear that interest rates are actually still considered pretty low historically speaking. None of us know what the future will hold, but if rates go down, buyers who financed their home at the current rate may still qualify to refinance at a lower rate in the future. And if rates continue rising, buyers today will be happy they locked down these rates when they did!”

“The bottom line is, if you’re selling or buying a home this year, let a professional help you with the heavy lifting…and I don’t just mean hiring a moving company! Let’s talk about your life, your investment, and your dreams and figure out a strategy that works best for you.”

Learn more about Crystal Hill and Chill Homes on Facebook and Instagram, or give her a call at 206-683-2805.

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