What Modern Home Buyers Want

Home buyers today want more than shiny accents and fittings. Young buyers today want connected devices and high technology built in. Paul Etherington weighs in.

Given that more Canadians own their homes today that at any other time in our nation’s history, it’s fair to say that home ownership has become one of our country’s primary cultural values. Chances are you’ve spent the occasional Sunday mesmerized by a real estate program or two, and even if you don’t keep up on the latest home trends, you’re probably familiar with the importance of location, kitchens, and bathrooms to property values.

Increasingly though, today’s home buyers’ must-haves extend well beyond shiny fixtures and faucets. Recognizing that many young home buyers have never known a world without technology – personal computers and the Internet have been mainstays since they were children – they expect that technology should be fully integrated not only into the home buying process but also into their homes.

If you’re planning to sell your home in the foreseeable future, consider that technology-based features such as systems that allow you to control a home’s climate, lights and security from anywhere in the world using a smartphone, are likely to pique the interests of modern home buyers.

A study, released in 2015 by Better Homes and Gardens, found that the ‘Millennial generation’ want to live in spaces that combine smart homes and smart design. Jill Waage, BHG Brand Executive Editor offered insight on the needs of future homeowners. “The next generation of homeowners will lead the way in adopting new technology – making features like the ability to preheat an oven or unlock the front door from your smartphone the new norm in home convenience.”

Millennial survey participants indicated that the kitchen and living room are the top rooms to benefit from smart technology, while other participants, 35 and older, see the garage, laundry room, and parent bedrooms as other areas of the home to incorporate smart technology. No matter which room you adapt with smart technology, it is clear homeowners want it under their roof.

If your home does not have the latest energy efficient washer and dryer, security system, or smart thermostat, there are a number of other opportunities to make it more appealing to modern home buyers.

Creating an open floor plan is an important step in modernizing your home but if you don’t have the budget, or tolerance for major renovations, consider adapting existing spaces. Where young home buyers are concerned, a comfortable home office would likely be preferable to a stodgy dining room and a state-of-the-art media room would definitely trump a living room filled with grandma’s furnishings.

Technology has allowed us all to become more efficient and the penchant for organization has carried over to our physical spaces as well, which is why ample storage is another key draw for modern home buyers. Smart living also includes easy-to-maintain, hard surface floors, and to give them the cozy feel of carpet, radiant in-floor heating is a feature that’s sure to arouse buyers’ interests. Those with truly opulent tastes may even seek heated driveways to avoid time-consuming shovelling during the winter months.


​Paul Etherington is president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, which represents 39,000 realtors in the Greater Toronto Area.

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