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Top Home Features Buyers Want In 2024

March 20, 2024 4-minute read

Author: Melissa Aliotta

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When it comes to buying a home, there’s a lot more to it than just picking a house. With the heat of the housing market season starting to ramp up, understanding what buyers are looking for in a home can be helpful to potential sellers looking to market their property.  

To understand what aspects of a home are driving market appeal, Rocket Mortgage® surveyed 1,500 U.S. home buyers on which home features they prefer most and least in categorized lists of different features. To gather this data, Rocket Mortgage asked survey respondents about their home feature preferences in four categories: exterior, interior, technology and community.

Home Feature Preferences: Exterior

Almost Half Of Home Buyers Prefer Attached Garages

Attached garages are a convenient and ideal solution for some home buyers who are looking to buy in colder regions, especially in areas with heavy snowfall and extreme cold temperatures. It can save time and effort when walking in and out of the home and is beneficial in avoiding hazardous weather conditions. Approximately 66% of homes in the U.S. have an attached garage, according to the Census Bureau. And, according to this study, almost half of buyers would prefer having one.

Exterior Feature Preferences bar graph.
  • 65.8% of buyers who are baby boomers have a preference for an attached garage, which is almost 18% higher than the general population.

  • Preference for an attached garage decreases by 26% when a buyer is Gen Z.

  • Compared to other regions in the U.S., home buyers in the Midwest and Northeast have an approximately 6% higher preference likelihood for an attached garage.

Home Feature Preferences: Interior

Top On The Wishlist For Home Buyers: An Upgraded Kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of the home and is well-known as one of the most important features to home buyers. It could be what makes or breaks their decision to buy a home, which is important for home sellers to note. For home sellers, a kitchen remodel can be a smart investment to increase the value of the home. The average homeowner spends around $45,000 for a kitchen upgrade and up to $80,000 for a full renovation. According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), home sellers can recover 67% of money spent on a kitchen upgrade and 75% of a full kitchen renovation when the home is sold.

Interior Feature Preferences bar graph.
  • Preference for an upgraded kitchen is lower (10% decrease) among buyers actively looking for a home in the market and higher (9% increase) among buyers who are not currently in the market.

  • Preference likelihood for an upgraded kitchen decreases by 23% when a buyer is Gen Z.

  • Around 60% of buyers who are baby boomers have a preference for an upgraded kitchen, which is almost 10% higher than the general population.

Home Feature Preferences: Technology

Energy-Efficient Features Are High On Buyers’ Lists For 2024

Energy-efficient homes are appealing to buyers in efforts to contribute to a healthier environment while lowering the costs of utilities in a home. Along with contributing to a lower carbon footprint, homes with energy efficient features can increase home value and earn up to 8% more in resale value, according to EnergyStar. One update, energy efficient windows, is a popular preference among buyers. Luckily, for them, over 57% of American households already include energy efficient windows, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Technology Feature Preferences bar graph.
  • Preference likelihood for energy-efficient windows increases by 32% when a buyer is a baby boomer and by 10% when a buyer is Gen X.

  • 33.1% of buyers in the West prefer solar panels, which is almost 8% higher than the general population. Solar popularity in this region is consistent with the favorable sunlight conditions and high cost of energy.

  • Home buyers’ likelihood to prefer solar panels decreases by 16% in the Midwest.

  • The preference likelihood for a greywater system (water from showers, bathtubs, sinks, washers and dishwashers to be reused for irrigation, etc.).in their home increases by 49% when a buyer is Gen Z - a possible indicator of their environmental awareness on water conservation.

Home Feature Preferences: Community

Community Features Are A Top Priority For Home Buyers

Features of where a home is located can be especially relevant to the buyer’s future quality of life and home value. Having access to a walkable neighborhood, downtown and recreational activities could be a priority to many buyers who are spending more time in their home. While much of the workforce is returning to office, a recent poll by Gallup revealed that 52% of U.S. remote-capable employees are working in a hybrid environment. In terms of home value, a home located in a neighborhood with growing amenities will drive demand and thus increase home property values all around.

Community Feature Preferences bar graph.
  • 51.3% of buyers who are baby boomers prefer a walkable neighborhood, which is 11% higher than the general population.

  • Preference likelihood to buy a home where there is a good public school district increases by 28% when a buyer is a millennial and by 15% when a buyer is Gen Z.

  • Preference likelihood for a home nearby a downtown/village with shopping and dining options increases by 41% when a buyer is a baby boomer.

  • Preference likelihood to buy a home that is nearby a downtown/village with shopping and dining options increases by 14% in the Northeast and decreases by 15% in the Midwest.

Bottom Line: Understanding Today’s Buyers Preferences Can Help Future Sellers

Whether looking to understand what home improvements to make to increase the value of a home’s future sale or actively looking to market a home soon, it’s beneficial for a homeowner to understand today’s market of buyers’ preferences and priorities. The data shows that buyers’ preferences range depending on geographic region, generation and whether it’s a buyer’s/seller’s market.

Methodology

To understand more about home buyer preferences, Rocket Mortgage surveyed 1,500 U.S. adults looking to buy a home in the next 5 years. Respondents were also segmented on whether they are currently a homeowner and if they are currently in the market to buy a home.

Respondents were taken through a series of four MaxDiff tests. The four MaxDiff tests were used to determine the relative preference of different home features and upgrades to a buyer within the following categories: exterior, interior, technology and community.

This survey was U.S. Census balanced on gender, age, region of the United States, ethnicity/race, and household income. This survey was completed on December 19, 2023.

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Melissa Aliotta

Melissa holds a degree in Advertising Management from Michigan State University. Her writing focuses on consumer housing trends to better inform both current and prospective homebuyers and homeowners. Melissa’s commitment to service led her to serve in the Air National Guard, where she developed a deep sense of discipline and commitment to community. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys cooking, traveling, reading and volunteering in her community.