What Are You Looking For In A House by Alain Pinel

If you could build your perfect house, on a perfect lot and in a perfect location, what would that look like? Don’t worry about the annoying money aspect of the question for the time being, just focus on your dream home. Let your imagination wander.

The answer to the question is what is driving the new construction business. Have you noticed how much new homes of roughly the same sticker price look alike? Sure the style of the façade and the roof line vary, from French country, to Cape Cod, to Spanish Colonial, to Mediterranean, to Tudor…. But when you get inside, more often than not, it’s the same picture.

The reason is marketing. You want to build what you like, but only so long that…you can sell it, if you are a builder, or resell it if you are a homeowner. In other words, build a house that pleases the lion’s share of today’s buyers. Even at the top end of the market you have to be practical.

A few blogs ago, I wrote about the international Summit organized a few weeks back by our global real estate marketing partner, Luxury Portfolio. Together with the Harrison Group, they put together a great presentation, focused in part on what wealthy people are looking for in a house. It is called “The 2012 Survey of Affluent and Wealth in America.” The data pertains to 3 income groups: Upper Middle Class ($100k to $149 in discretionary income), Core Affluent (up to $450k in household income) and One Percenters (over $450k).

As we said in the previous blog, affluent and wealthy consumers have different values and mindsets. These keep on evolving through the years. Nowadays, as the survey shows, the focus is quality, irrespective as to whether the buyers belong to the “Millennials (18-33 y old), the Generation Xers (34-47) or Boomers (48-67).

The shift in priorities from what we may refer to as the “I want to make a good deal group” and the “it is expensive but it is worth it group,” explains the reinforced value of certain key amenities. Here is the top wanted list, according to the survey:

  • Designed for entertaining (1st choice for 80% of Millenials/Generation X and 83% of Boomers & Matures). As such, amenities like a fabulous kitchen area with professional-grade appliances and a non-less fabulous outdoor deck or patio ample enough for great fun with family & friends, are a must.
  • Master bedroom features (respectively 67 and 74% of the votes). The sought after amenities, aside from size & style, are of course an en-suite luxury bathroom and walk-in closets for each one of the lucky homeowners.
  • Lots of open space (respectively 60 & 65% of the votes). The key word here is privacy. The more the better, hence the desire for lots of space around the house and perhaps nice scenic views.
  • Library/Work space (respectively 50 and 57% of the votes). A lot more people occasionally work at home these days, but you don’t have to work to enjoy a nice dedicated office space/den to read, relax and escape. Not bad either for the kids’ homework.
  • Other sought after amenities include an open floor plan throughout the house (44 &51%) and a pool/spa/hot tub (44 &36%).

So now that you know what to buy, you just have to find it. In today’s market, it is NOT the easy part! Good hunting!

By Alain Pinel
General Manager of Intero Prestigio international
Intero Real Estate Services, Inc.