There is no such thing as a ‘universal trend’ when it comes to residential real estate: a quick look through the current Santa Barbara listings will confirm that. At the highest end, the most luxurious features will always attract some homebuyers, just as in the great majority of listings, practical value prevails. But some shifts in priorities do seem to be underway, perhaps because of today’s altered selling environment. Some features that used to help sell listings in town are no longer being emphasized – a sure sign that buyers aren’t asking for them.
For anyone preparing a property for sale, the listings hold clues that can prevent wasting time and effort. Some formerly popular elements fading in today’s market:
1. Square footage and grandeur
There was a time (and recently) when people looked for the largest home they could financially support, with high-fashion accessories and embellishments that marked its expense and grandeur. The reality is people can no longer afford those luxuries, or, even if they can, are electing to shy away from some of the more showy features. Market analysts assert the home listings currently moving on and off the market with ease promote small, comfortable homes. Especially those with a high level of energy efficiency.
2. Formal Living Room
When “big” was in, so were grand formal rooms. More of today’s buyers, however, tend to seek multi-purpose rooms with an open layout and seamless flow. They don’t want a sunroom, a formal entrance, a formal dining or formal living room: they want a kitchen that is functional, built to last, easy to clean, and one that opens onto the rest of the living space. I have to confess that, even when formal living rooms were in vogue, I usually could see the question in the back of most prospects’ minds, whoever uses that ‘formal’ living room, anyway?.
3. Whirlpool Tub
Once considered the gold standard in master bathroom remodels, the jetted tub has gone the way of the other more formal features as buyers shift to a more environmentally-friendly mindset. I can’t tell you how many homes with Jacuzzi tubs I have listed where the owner tells me, “I never use it – I don’t even know if it works!” If you are considering a bathroom remodel, you might better opt for a larger shower -- currently a popular option with the baby-boomer crowd mindful of easy bathing access.