What Buyers Want in a House in 2022 (And What It Means For You)

Updated April 04, 2022 12:23 PM

Since most homebuyers and homeowners have strong opinions about design, it's easy to assume that you know what increases the value of a home. However, when it's time to sell, don't make decisions based on your own opinion or what you've seen online. Instead, use real data about what buyers want in their homes in 2022.

We researched what homebuyers and home experts had to say, and compiled data about:

The Top 12 Most-Wanted Home Features in 2022

Through the most thorough and up-to-date data sources, we've put together this list of the most popular and sought-after home features for 2022 buyers. Thousands of people were surveyed to get these results, and we combined data from multiple reliable sources to get the most accurate understanding of what homebuyers are looking for.

However, your local real estate market could have very different home features that are highly sought after. If you are selling your own home, consult with a local home professional before doing any remodels or renovations.

That being said, there are simple, dependable ways to help your home appeal to more buyers in almost every part of the US.

1. 87% of Buyers Want a Laundry Room

If your washer and dryer sit alone in the corner of your basement, it's time for an upgrade--or at least a rearrangement.

In addition to wanting a room dedicated to laundry, 63% of people also specified that the best place for the laundry room is on the first floor. It's clear that today's buyers want laundry to be easily accessible from the main living space.

Here are some simple ways to increase the value of a laundry room:

  • Paint the walls
  • Add storage solutions like shelving, cabinets or a rack to the back of your laundry room door
  • Install a built-in ironing board on a wall, which can be easily stored away when its not in use
  • Buy a stackable washer and dryer to create space for a folding table or additional storage
Stuccco virtually staged laundry room

Virtually staged laundry room by Stuccco

2. 87% of Buyers Want Exterior Lighting

Exterior lighting is generally not something that people like to search for on Pinterest or gush over during open houses. However, it adds massive value to the home in terms of security and curb appeal. Potential buyers aren't going to be satisfied with one dim light by the front door.

Start improving this by considering what exterior lighting you already have. You may not need to hire an electrician to wire new lights--simply upgrading your light bulbs or repairing lights may make all the difference.

Another way to add value to your home is by adding landscape lighting. While this may require more than a DIY project, outdoor lighting will not go unnoticed.

Top home features for buyers: exterior lighting with virtual staging

Highlight exterior home features with Stuccco Virtual Staging

3. 83% of Buyers Want Ceiling Fans

If you asked all your friends what they wanted in a home, you probably wouldn't hear a large number of them gushing over ceiling fans. However, 83% of people chose this home feature over hundreds of other choices, so this is a home feature that shouldn't be ignored.

Ceiling fans are relatively cheap and easy to install, so this is a home improvement that could significantly improve the perceived value of your home. Another way to upgrade the look of ceiling fans and make your space feel much more luxurious is by installing a fan-delier. These light fixtures look like chandeliers and include the functionality of a ceiling fan. They're growing quickly in popularity and could be a highlight that will help you sell your home for the most money.

Fandelier for 2022 homebuyers

Chandelier ceiling fan from Wayfair

4. 83% of Buyers Want ENERGY STAR-rated Windows

Home features with energy efficiency are increasingly important to today's buyers. A home with ENERGY STAR windows will regulate the home's temperature and save money for the homeowners, so it's pretty obvious why this is something buyers look for.

Unfortunately, windows are not a simple or cheap home improvement. However, it's helpful to know the importance of ENERGY STAR windows and appliances if you're planning a remodel. If you already have certified windows, be sure to include this as one of the features when marketing your real estate listing.

5. 82% of Buyers Want a Patio

While patios have been a highly desirable home feature for many years, the pandemic increased this value of it even more. Homebuyers are looking for a place where they can sit outside, drink coffee, entertain guests, or watch their kids and pets play. If you want to increase the value of a single family home, building a patio should be high on your priority list.

Homebuyers rated patios even higher than rear porches, decks, and even front porches. In fact, 82% of construction and home building experts noted that hardscaping is the most important exterior project of 2022.

Fortunately, patios can also be simpler to build because they are on the ground, not raised above the ground like decks. If you're looking to make significant improvements to your home, creating a patio could add massive value. If your home has a scenic view or a cozy cranny that a patio can be in harmony with, your patio will be especially desirable and therefore valuable to you and your home's eventual buyers.

Stuccco virtual landscaping
virtual landscaping for 2022 homebuyers

Stuccco virtual landscaping

6. 81% of Buyers Want a Side-by-Side Kitchen Sink

Although large farmhouse sinks can be seen all over DIY channels and design magazines, it doesn't mean that it's what buyers actually want. This is exactly why you should always look at the facts when you're evaluating what improvements will sell your home--side-by-side sinks were rated as one of the top features homebuyers want.

As always, there are exceptions when a farmhouse sink may be the best choice for your kitchen design. However, the function of a double basin sink is much more likely to appeal to the most buyers.
 

Most wanted kitchen features, side by side sink

Virtually staged kitchen via Stuccco

7. 81% of Buyers Want a Walk-in Pantry

It's no surprise that having a designated, spacious area to store food and kitchen supplies is extremely valuable to homebuyers. If you talk to your friends and family about what they want in a house, this is something that's almost guaranteed to come up over and over again.

If your home wasn't originally built with a walk-in pantry, it may be a challenge to add one to your kitchen layout. Even if you or the current homeowners are able to fit all of your kitchen supplies without a pantry, buyers viewing your home might need more storage. Since this is a priority, designate a space for pantry items if possible so buyers can see how to maximize kitchen storage.

8. 81% of Buyers Want a Front Porch

Front porches have returned in popularity, and likely because they add functionality, design, and curb appeal to a home. However, since this is an exterior home feature, the actual value of it may vary depending on the climate in your location. The best way to learn 'whether' (terrible pun) or not a front porch is a home feature desired by local homebuyers is to look at your local real estate market.

Search for homes that have been recently built and recently sold around the price that you want to list. Do these houses have front porches? Do the marketing notes emphasize this feature as a valuable asset?

If you are selling an apartment instead of a single family home, you're in good company. While you won't have a front porch to manage, that doesn't mean you should forget about the exterior of the apartment. Read more about how to stage an apartment in our guide.

9. 81% of Buyers Want ENERGY STAR-Rated Appliances

ENERGY STAR appliances are particularly appealing to buyers because they'll save money in utility bills and maintenance over time. However, homeowners generally don't want to buy all new appliances right before selling their home. This would be a massive out-of-pocket expense that's unlikely to earn an immediate return on investment.

However, knowing the importance of ENERGY STAR certified appliances is important to keep in mind if you plan on selling your home eventually. As you invest in your home, the energy rating of each appliance should be a vital part of your decisions.

10. 81% of Buyers Want Hardwood Floors in the Living Areas

The days when carpet was the most-desired floor type are long gone. The majority of homebuyers want hardwood flooring in living areas, and having the same flooring in multiple rooms is another benefit. If you already have wood flooring, be sure to feature that in your listing photos and description.

It's hard to determine exactly why buyers prefer hardwood over all other types of flooring. There are many buyers who truly want the real thing, but there are also plenty of buyers who want the look of wood without having to commit to the maintenance. If you don't already have hardwood but want to upgrade the home's flooring, laminate, vinyl, or wood-look tile may be the best choice.

Hardwood flooring in the main living space

Virtually staged living room via Stuccco

11. 80% of Buyers Want a Full Bath In Main Living Area

It's very common for older homes to have a half bathroom or powder room near the main living areas of a home. However, 2022 buyers want full bathrooms close to the busiest areas of the home. There are many possible reasons for this real estate trend, but it's likely that it makes it easier for guests to be comfortable without having to go into every room of the home.

If you have a full bathroom in your main living area, it's a good space to make some home improvements to maximize its appeal. Since bathrooms can be pricey to renovate, focusing on the one closest to the living area will bring you the highest return on your investment.

If you don't want to get your hands dirty or spend tens of thousands of dollars on a full bathroom renovation, just do it virtually. Virtual staging can give prospective buyers a clear visual of the room's potential, and it only takes 24 hours to complete.

virtual renovation in bathroom via Stuccco

Example of a virtual renovation with Stuccco

No matter how dated or worn a space may be, virtual staging can help sell an ugly house without renovations.

12. 80% of Buyers Want Energy Efficient Lighting

Our designers and photographers will tell you that the lighting of a home is an extremely important factor in the overall feel and design of any space. Homes with lots of bright, natural lighting feel bigger, more open, and ultimately appeal to more prospective buyers. However, 90% of the energy produced by traditional incandescent bulbs generates heat, which increases costs and is unnecessarily wasteful.

Luckily, upgrading the lights in your home is extremely simple and affordable. You can find energy-efficient LED bulbs at most hardware or big box stores, and simply replace the energy-burning lights you currently have. Although LED bulbs will be slightly more expensive up front, they'll save you money (and help the planet) over the long haul.

The Most Popular Floor Plans

Stuccco online interior design open floor plan

Open floor plan by Stuccco online interior design

According to Fixr, a massive 90% of homebuyers want an open floor plan. While it's pretty undeniable that this is the most highly sought-after home style in 2022, there are different areas that buyers most want openness:
  • Between kitchen and dining room (85%)
  • Between kitchen and family room (79%)
  • Between dining and family room (70%)

In addition, 94% of home builders believe that buyers will continue to seek multi-purpose spaces. This is most commonly a guest room and home office, but can also mean a garage and workshop or home gym, a family room with an office or gym space, or so many other combinations. Open floor plans tend to support this type of multi-purpose spacing, which could be a good reason for its popularity.

Buyers also want a median of 2,022 square feet of finished space, and that size has been increasing since the pandemic hit. Building experts say that 51% of new houses are bigger and 43% are about the same size as they have been, so it's unlikely that small homes will be gaining popularity in the near future.

With the ideal floor plans and sizes in mind, home buyers also rated the most wanted specialty rooms:

  1. Laundry room
  2. Dining room
  3. Great room
  4. Home office
  5. Separate living room

Instead of having walls separate each room in a house, buyers prefer large, open spaces that can be used for a variety of purposes along with smaller rooms that serve a more specific purpose, like bedrooms and laundry rooms.

Top 5 Most Wanted Kitchen Features

2022 Homebuyers want open floor plans in the kitchen and main living spaces

Virtually staged kitchen via Stuccco

After double basin sinks and walk-in pantries, the most desirable kitchen features are:
  • Table space for eating
  • Central island
  • Drinking water filtration

Kitchen layouts in 2022 look extremely different than they did about 30 years ago. The most popular kitchens have an open floor plan with an island for additional storage and counter space. In addition, dining tables distinguish the kitchen from the dining area instead of walls.

Without doing any kind of remodeling, you can still include a few of the most sought-after home features by installing a side-by-side sink, adding water filtration, and adding even a small dining table near your kitchen.

The Top 5 Most Wanted Outdoor Features

Functional outdoor features buyers look for

Virtually staged patio space via Stuccco

The three most desired outdoor features are included in the top 12 most-wanted home features; exterior lighting (87%), patio (82%) and a front porch (81%). The two other highly rated features are:
  • Rear porch - 75%
  • Deck - 75%

It would probably surprise most homeowners to know that buyers rated exterior lighting more highly than any other exterior home feature! Given this data, if you haven't updated your home's exterior lighting or outdoor living areas lately, it would be a bright idea to do so.

However, as mentioned above, hardscaping was the top exterior project done in 2021 and is expected to continue. In fact, the percentage of single-family homes with patios has risen to 63%. Having an outdoor living space is much more important to homeowners and buyers across every generation.

The Top 5 Most Wanted Green Features

ENERGY STAR windows (83%), appliances (81%), and efficient lighting (80%) are three of the top 12 most desired features. After that, the most wanted green features are:

  • ENERGY STAR rating for the entire home - 79%
  • Triple-pane insulating glass windows - 73%

In a large survey of home builders and construction experts, 62% of respondents believed that energy efficiency is going to be the most desirable green technology for homeowners and future buyers.

Not only are they better for the environment, low-energy homes also benefit the owners by minimizing their energy bills. In a housing market where affordability is a continual concern, energy efficiency becomes more of a priority for homeowners. After all, no one wants to spend their hard-earned money on wasted energy.

If you're planning to sell your home in the next five to ten years, these factors should impact what you choose to invest in.

The 10 Home Features Buyers Hate

  1. Elevator
  2. Glass walls
  3. Daycare center
  4. Wine cellar
  5. Pet washing station
  6. Roof covered by plants
  7. Golf course
  8. In-law suite
  9. Cork flooring
  10. Dual toilets

You're probably not surprised that the average American buyer doesn't want an elevator, dual toilets, or a daycare center in their home (!!). But there may be a few items on the list that do surprise you--for instance, pet washing stations are trendy on Instagram and Pinterest, and an in-law suite is a must-have for certain buyers.

These most-hated features in homes prove that you should know your local real estate market before investing your time or money into a big home improvement project. Talk to a real estate agent or appraiser to get the most accurate information about what features buyers in your area want most.

More Interesting Statistics about What Buyers Look For in 2022

  • 67% of buyers want a single-family home
  • 60% of buyers prefer a new home
  • 85% want an open concept kitchen and dining room
  • Buyers look for an average of 2,022 square feet of finished space (an appropriate number!)
  • 40% of buyers think about accessibility when shopping for homes
  • 42% of recent and prospective home buyers want a two-car garage
  • 75% of real estate agents still say that stainless steel is the most popular appliance finish, but it's now available in different colors
  • The median cost of a home in the US is $374,900, which increased by 16.2% from 2020-2021
  • Exterior design style preferences varied; 32% of buyers prefer a traditional design style, 24% want contemporary, 16% want transitional, and 14% want a modern style.
  • 50% of construction and remodeling experts say that the biggest reason for moving or buying a new home is because of work flexibility
  • The most popular home features are sought by homebuyers of all ages and generations, (laundry rooms, exterior lighting, ceiling fans, patios, and walk-in pantries) (NAHB)
  • 87.5 million households (approximately 69% of all U.S. households) are unable to afford a new median priced home
  • Ventilation and water quality are the two biggest concerns for homeowners wanting a healthy home

How to Sell Your Home for the Most Money

Although you can't control the state of the real estate market, you can control some elements of a home's value and appeal to potential. When it's time to sell a house, whether it's a home for a client or a home you own, making strategic improvements can significantly increase your success.

The best way to help sell your house quickly, easily and for the most money is by putting a strategic marketing plan in place. In 2022, buyers are searching for homes online more than ever and the photos of your house is what will make the first impression on today's buyers.

In recognition of this reality, you should have high quality photos taken of your home. If your home is vacant or full of outdated furniture that is too inconvenient to move, virtual staging offers an ideal solution. At a fraction of the cost of traditional home staging, virtual staging can show prospective buyers the full potential of the home. It makes a positive first impression on buyers, which will help drive more buyer traffic to your property and increase the perceived value of your home.

Virtual staging is one of the best investments that a seller or real estate agent can make when marketing a home. Try it today and get your virtually staged photos back in less than 24 hours.

Home before and after virtual staging

Living space before and after Stuccco virtual staging

Sources

The 2022 homebuyer data in this article is compiled from two of the most reputable sources:

Fixr's 2021 Single Family Home Construction and Remodeling Trends
March 2021 Special Study for Housing Economics from The National Association of Home Builders
Top Features and Design Trends for 2022 Across Generations from The National Association of Home Builders
Nearly 7 out of 10 Households Can't Afford a New Median Priced Home from The National Association of Home Builders
Average House Price by State in 2021 by The Ascent

Also read:

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