Residential Trends/Statistics

Must Have Home Features for 2016

Photo of a great fireplace in a beautiful home. Must Have Home Features for 2016

The fireplace has always been a desired feature, but this year it made it to the top of the “must have” list of home features.

Even if you just bought your new home, odds are you still have an eye on those home features that got away. For whatever reason, we all constantly want more.

In the words of Robert Smith, it’s never enough.

If you’re like my wife and me, shows like Fixer Upper are “must see TV” whenever new episodes hit Netflix. Then there’s Houzz… and don’t get me started with all those Pinterest boards highlighting people’s dream home features.

I could go on but then I’d never get this article completed.

Must Have Home Features for 2016

So, let’s dive in and discover the must have home features for 2016. These are ranked according to the research performed, focusing on which keywords were most common in literally millions of home listings across the US.

For each, I’ll give you my take on how Louisville home buyers feel about the home feature with a higher arrow, lower arrow or just right graphic.

No time to waste, let’s go!

Must Have Feature #1: Fireplace

Arrow down iconI knew it would make this Top 20 list but I had no idea it would rank first. Wow. Maybe “warm and inviting” will replace “light and airy” as the most exclaimed comment by buyers during a home tour?

Must Have Feature #2: Wood Floors

Thumbs up iconThese days, there are an ever-growing number of flooring options: solid hardwood, engineered hardwood, laminate that looks like wood, even tile floors that give the same impression. But currently, solid hardwood and engineered hardwood are the most desirable types of flooring in the minds of today’s home buyers.

Must Have Feature #3: Carpet

Arrow down iconI’m not sure where these people live that carpet is a selling feature. Most of my clients find carpet acceptable in bedrooms but prefer a solid surface in every other room. If, heaven forbid, there is carpet in a bathroom, that’s a huge negative.

Must Have Feature #4: Granite Counter Tops

Thumbs up iconIn other parts of the country, quartz and other man made solid-surface products are growing in popularity. This is likely to be the case here soon, but today, granite is the king of counter top choices in Louisville.

Must Have Feature #5: Stainless Steel Appliances

Arrow down iconStainless steel appliances are definitely must have home features these days. Because we can get them at lower prices and they still mimic the high-end products, people generally see them as better when really the “guts” of the appliance are the same as their colored siblings. Number 5 is too high, I’d drop this one a couple spots for Louisville.

Must Have Feature #6: Open Floor Plan

Arrow up iconNow we’re talking! A home with an open floor plan is the most common request I hear from my real estate clients. It is subjective, to a degree. I’ve heard people misuse the phrase but one thing is clear, long gone are the days where every room needed to be enclosed by four walls with a door in the middle.

Must Have Feature #7: Walk-in Closet

Arrow down iconThis ranking is a tad high for Louisville home buyers but storage is always in demand. Even more so these days than in decades past. If the home lacks storage in the basement then large closets are definitely a must have home feature!

Must Have Feature #8: Formal Dining Room

Arrow down iconThis one is too high on the list. In fact, it might not make the Top 20 must have home features for Louisville home buyers at all. Instead, today’s buyers are looking for kitchens with larger eat-in areas. If it has a fireplace (see #1), even better, we’ll call it a hearth room!

Photo of a formal dining room that's open to the family room and foyer.

There are still plenty of formal dining rooms to be found in Louisville. Look at this beautifully decorated dining room that’s open to the great room and foyer.

Must Have Feature #9: Vaulted Ceiling

Thumbs up iconThere are several kinds of vaulted ceilings. They may just be higher than standard ceilings, say 9′ or 10′, such as what we see in places like Norton Commons. They could be pitched to point, with or without beams. It could even be a full two-story ceiling. All are desirable, it’s just a matter of taste.

Must Have Feature #10: Open Kitchen

Arrow up iconIf Louisville home seekers can’t get a full Open Floor Plan (see #6) then the Open Kitchen is their fallback must have home feature. People today are looking for a space where the people in the kitchen can interact with those in the primary family room and vice versa.

Must Have Feature #11: Tile Floor

Arrow down iconHere’s a tricky one. Not all tile is created equal. If it’s the kind you might find at the DMV or 1950’s cafeteria then it’s certainly not a must have; it’s actually a “please remove” feature. But if it’s a warm tile, such as travertine or other current style, then it is desirable in both kitchens and baths.

Must Have Feature #12: Covered Patio

Thumbs up iconAgain, the level of finish and quality of construction plays a large role in whether a covered patio will be a good or bad feature to Louisville home buyers. Especially nice is when care has been taken to make sure it’s maintenance free.

Must Have Feature #13: Finished Basement

Arrow up iconMost Louisville homes have basements. I would also say most of these are already finished. This gives the homeowner a great deal of extra square footage at a lower cost than the area found above grade. It’s a great bang for your buck and people want it.

Must Have Feature #14: Breakfast Bar

Arrow down iconI would label this a “nice to have” rather than a must have home feature. Often only found in more upscale properties, calling attention to this feature is a smart move by Louisville Realtors. As with most items on this list, if it’s poorly thought-out or executed, it will be seen as a negative by house hunters.

Must Have Feature #15: French Doors

Thumbs up iconI don’t think there’s a debate on whether french doors are better than sliding doors. Unless you’re using the new luxury bi-fold glass walls, which are incredible by the way, then french doors are the way to go.

Must Have Feature #16: Chef’s Kitchen

Arrow down iconI’ve been in real estate for a decade now and I’m not sure I know the definition of a “Chef’s Kitchen.” But if it’s good enough for a real chef, then it must be pretty nice. People here in Louisville just call them luxury kitchens.

Must Have Feature #17: Crown Molding

Arrow up iconCrown molding is still a feature that garners a lot of praise. Most I see here in Louisville isn’t that expensive to put in either and it continues to be one of the most sought after home features. I’ve often found this curious, but nevertheless, it should be higher on this list.

Must Have Feature #18: Central Air

Arrow up iconThis one took me by surprise. In 2016, central air is the very definition of must have. I’m assuming in more northern climates it’s more of an optional feature but right here in the River City, only very inexpensive homes don’t have central air.

Must Have Feature #19: Separate Shower

Arrow up iconHaving a separate, stand alone shower is a very nice feature to today’s home buyers. Usually found in the master bath but not exclusively, they will usually be tiled and use various enclosures, the most sought after being seamless glass walls.

Must Have Feature #20: Garden Tub

Thumbs up iconTo round out our list we have the garden tub, not to be confused with a jetted tub, which has gone the way of the Hudson motor car. What’s better at the end of the day than to sequester yourself away from it all in a nice warm bath. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

About the author

Tre Pryor, Editor-in-Chief

Tre Pryor is the recognized expert Louisville Realtor who can:
  • List and sell your current home in Louisville,
  • Help you purchase your next Louisville home, or
  • Guide you in your relocation to Louisville, Kentucky
» Contact Tre now!