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What Are Buyers Looking for in a Home?

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Perhaps you are a homeowner preparing to sell your home and are curious what features will make your home standout to potential buyers. You wonder if things like appliance updates really will grab more attention in listing photos and if you should do a bathroom remodel instead of updating the kitchen. At realtor.com, home is everything and we can help.

Based on a recent survey by our consumer insights team, which took into account such factors as where people live by state as well as location type (urban, suburban, and rural), their age and gender, central air conditioning is one of the top-five home features that buyers look for across all regions and generations in the U.S. Not surprising, where it falls on the ranking varies by where people are located. For instance, buyers in the Midwest and South put it on the top of their list. In the Northeast it falls to No. 3 and then goes down to No. 5 for people in the West. Nationwide, central air conditioning is the top feature for baby boomers, but for millennials, the top feature is a large backyard.


Based on our research, an updated kitchen with new appliances is much more important than updated bathrooms for buyers. Twelve percent of the buyers we surveyed ranked an updated kitchen in their top-three home features, whereas only about 4 percent ranked updated bathrooms in their top three. 

Our survey found that what people want in their home does vary by age, which is most likely driven by their lifestyle and needs. Millennials (21-36 years old) may be starting families and value a large backyard more than an updated kitchen. However, those in the silent generation (72 years old and up), prefer an updated kitchen over a large backyard.

Another feature that has risen to the top of what buyers are looking for extends beyond the home and is about the community around the property. For boomers and the silent generation, proximity to healthcare facilities is essential and ranked as the No. 2 preference. In contrast, proximity to healthcare facilities came in at No. 6 for Generation X (37-52 years old) and at the bottom of the list for Millennials. Instead, given that these younger buyers may have children, having good schools in the area is imperative. Over 20 percent of millennials selected good schools as their top neighborhood feature and all groups ranked quality grocery stores at the top of their list.


Despite the generational differences, our survey found that some features are timeless. Central air conditioning, updated kitchens and appliances, and a large backyard are what buyers are looking for regardless of age. 

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