by Cheryl Spangler
Ever wonder why your home is not selling, even though your price is clearly at or below market value, your marketing is spot on, your Realtor is actively pursuing buyers and communicating great with you weekly, but still NO OFFERS! Yes, there are many other factors, such as location, time of year, features of your home, uniqueness of your home, price range in general, but there is something else that is in high demand and increasing across the country especially in urban cities such as Alexandria, VA.
Gen Y, Millennials (born between 1982-2001) about 80 million of the US population AND Aging Boomers (Born between 1945-1964) about 80 million also of the US population have begun setting the standard on what is being purchased. Of course there is always plenty in demand for the middle group consisting of families with 2 children, large families and multi-family dwellings, but with almost half of the US population fitting into the first two categories, developers are taking note and building according to these new living trends. No matter what you are selling, it is important to be aware of these trends and see where you fit in. Below is a list of things that you may or may not consider an “Amenity” but buyers do.
Go Green: (i.e. Conscience living) a home that does not negatively impact the community is more attractive to buyers. The demand for more sustainable and healthier environments is seen across the U.S. and in Alexandria VA. There is a reason the Chinese are buying luxury homes in large cities, Washington DC and surrounding areas being one of the them, clean air, environmentally friendly, energy efficient and healthy living compared to the well-known hard to breath polluted air that China deals with on a daily basis. Buyers want to live healthier now and in the future, so beyond personal choices such as food and exercise, the home they live in is just as important.
Experiential Homes: New wealthy consumers are more informed, more globally exposed, and more sophisticated than previous generations. Baby boomers are for example now less materialistic and more experiential. This means that developments, communities and neighborhoods that provide a type of concierge service, meditation gardens, convenience features, and homes with family spaces such as guesthouse for elderly parent. Last but certainly not least, ultimate privacy and seclusion are in high demand.
Dog Park: Practically an essential amenity for all ages if buyers are not purchasing a home with a yard. Dogs and pets in general are the new children for millennials, middle age and older homeowners, they provide another type of friend. If your community doesn’t have a dog park, no worries just play up your proximity to any area dog parks or other pet friendly venues. Builders and developers are putting dog parks on the roof, in garage spaces as well in between floors in some condos.
Movie rooms: Having a space where friends and family can visit and watch and entertain each other, i.e. a movie room is a feature that buyers are looking for. While this may seem like an overrated amenity, it is something that is considered when buying.
Fitness Center: If there is a fitness facility in your neighborhood or development it may just be what tips the scales for buyers to make a move on your home. If there is a fitness facility, it needs to be top notch, meaning have more than one treadmill and elliptical, a room that is large and spacious, modern equipment, personal TV screens on each piece and the ability to plug in I-pods and other media devices. If your home does not have this amenity, then play up how close you are to the nearest gym or fitness facility to bring in those buyers.
Flex Space: Having a flexible space within the community amenities or development allows for things such as Yoga or Tae Bow, stretching classes. In general this allows residents to have more choices in activities without driving too far and allows for a more community feel so that people can get to know their neighbors.
Premium Parking: In some areas of the state and country this may seem like a given that parking would be included in the purchase of a new home, however when living in the city parking is a premium amenity. Convenient parking and having enough for each owner is essential and one of the most desirable amenities when buyers are searching and comparing homes to purchase. Right alongside this is the desire for elevators, with regards to condos and luxury homes over 7,500 square feet.
Walkability: Yes this is an amenity. Go to www.walkscore.com to check your home’s walkability. Access to public transportation, good schools and parks go along with this topic when finding selling points your home might have. Many people would even consider giving up their car as long as there was enough public transportation options and it was close enough to get to. Alexandria knows this and has made efforts with the coming Potomac Station to extend and increase metro stop options to homeowners.
Electric charging station: Both homes and condos that have this amenity have a leg up on their competition.
FIOS/WIFI: If selling a single family home, this is a must that the home and area has high speed internet. Depending on when your home was built, sometimes the walls prevent good internet connectivity. Know the limitations of your home if any and make up for them in other ways. When selling a condo in the city make sure and find out of the common areas have FREE WIFI. More people are working remotely, condos have rooftop and outdoor terraces, with WIFI available people can grab a laptop and work in any area of building without being confined to their rooms/condos/houses. Making sure that cell service works all the way into the garage is another overlooked feature. WIFI, cell service and being connected digitally in all areas of the building including indoor and outdoor flexible spaces.
Technology IN the architecture: This will minimize the number of gadgets you will see in the homes and home design. Meaning, the future of architecture may look like the past. With a touch of a button, you can lock your doors with your iPhone, control your home’s climate, control lights and your alarm system. (all from the other side of the country).
Outdoor Living: Rooftop Pools and decks as well as large outdoor terrace attached to the home, townhome or condo are practically essential for grabbing the attention of buyers in today’s market. If you don’t have any of these features/amenities, locate the nearest outdoor space such as coffee shop with plenty of seating or park and highlight it when selling your home.
Commercial grade kitchen: Especially in the high end luxury homes including warming drawers, wine fridges, restaurant quality appliances, and plenty of storage with a walk-in pantry.
Outdoor kitchen & pool: Built-in gas grill, a sink and stainless food prep area outdoors, along with plenty of lavish stone patio seating for entertaining. Large pools, hot tubs, changing cabanas, expansive pools with waterfalls and plenty of privacy are on demand when it comes to luxury homes. The leisure life is moving outdoors and those homes that embrace these features will sell quickly to the highest bidder and in most cases for cash.
Floor to ceiling windows: This amenity suggest that luxury buyers are more interested in what is outside the property than what is inside. This is also in demand when purchasing a smaller place such as condo or micro unit, to give the feel of large and open.
Storage Space: Mostly in demand when speaking of condos, having an extra storage is a valuable asset and in high demand when selling a smaller square foot property.
Trophy real estate: Just like you would acquire and hold collectibles, Trophy Real Estate is the ultimate collectible treasure. Like buying a prized sports team or high value artwork, trophy residences can ignite the passions of the ultra-high net worth individuals. Limited-edition structures and one-off creations, highly regarded international architects and designers, homes that become works of art. If your home fits into this category or you are not sure, talk to a real estate professional who specializes in international clientele to get a feel of where to market these kinds of properties.