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Features men and women homebuyers want

Young couple embracing on the front porch of a house.

In a recent poll, conducted by Zolo Realty, more than third (38%) of the 1,854 respondents said they preferred a 3-bedroom home, while more than half (57%) wanted two bathrooms in the home. Throw in a master bedroom with an en suite, a main-floor bathroom and an updated furnace or A/C unit and your home is as good as sold!

Quite surprisingly, the top four “must-have” options (multiple responses allowed) did not include an updated kitchen or an open-floor concept — two features that are often highlighted in listing descriptions that sellers and listing agents use in an attempt to draw attention to the home for sale.

What features do homebuyers want most? The top four features are:

  1. A garage (45%)
  2. A master bedroom with en suite (39%)
  3. A main-floor bathroom (35%)
  4. And, updated HVAC components, such as a furnace or A/C (35%)

Dive a bit deeper into the data and, quite surprisingly, more women chose a garage (51%) to top their “must-have” list. Less than half of men (41%) had a garage as a necessary feature. However, more men (38%) chose a main-floor bathroom as a “must-have” compared to women (30%).

Homebuyers want a garage Zolo Homebuyers Survey 2019

“Home sellers need to recognize that homebuyers want a property where the expensive renovation or update has already been done,” explains Mustafa Abbasi, President of Zolo Realty. “Adding a garage or carving out space for a master bedroom en suite are bigger projects that come with bigger costs and, quite often, these are harder projects for new buyers to take on.”

That doesn’t mean an open-floor concept or updated kitchen isn’t on the desire list. More than a third of survey respondents (34%) listed an updated kitchen as a “must-have” feature, while a quarter (25%) really wanted an open-floor concept living space.

“Sellers also need to consider where to spend their money when it comes time to update and remodel a home to be sold,” says Abbasi. According to survey results 59% of buyers “don’t mind painting and completing small updates.” However, when faced with a choice between a move-in ready home and a property that requires major updates, most would prefer the turn-key option (24%) to the more expensive renovation-required type of property (16%).

What homebuyers don’t care about

When listing your home, sellers will quickly realize that there is very little space to highlight the best features of the home — so it’s best to choose wisely where you put your focus.

For instance, sellers should think twice about emphasizing an in-law or income-suite in the listing description, since 54% of respondents classified this feature as “not important” and only 12% considered it a “must-have.”

Homebuyers dont care about view Zolo homebuyers survey=2019

The top four features that buyers don’t care that much about include:

  1. Pool (61% considered it “not important”)
  2. In-law or income suite/basement apartment (54% ranked this as “not important”)
  3. Mudroom (44% ranked this room as “not important”)
  4. A home with a view – mountain, city, lake, water, etc. (35% consider this “not important”)

Infographic: What homebuyers want

Infographic: What home buyers want   difference between men and women

Difference between women and men homebuyers

There were also a few significant differences when it came to the sexes. Surprise, surprise but it turns out men wanted slightly different things than women when it comes to finding the perfect home — although it wasn’t all disagreement.

For instance, 64% of men preferred the idea of a new-build home rather than a resale home. Women, on the other hand, didn’t seem to have a distinct preference between new build and resale homes, with 51% opting for a resale versus 49% choosing a new build as their preferred home choice.

When it comes to the size of the home, women tended to want a larger home with 42% of the respondents choosing a home with three bedrooms and 31% selecting a home with four bedrooms. While 35% of men chose a three bedroom home, 37% opted for a two-bedroom home and only 21% wanted a four-bedroom home.

Another big difference was how many women ranked an updated kitchen as a must-have — with 39% of women putting this as a top desire — compared to men at 29%.

What men and woman agree on when it comes to home buying

One thing men and women can agree on is the preferred number of bathrooms — 59% of women and 54% of men believe that two bathrooms in a home are sufficient. And while the number of bedrooms is still up for debate — women lean towards three- and four-bedroom homes, while men lean towards two- and three-bedroom homes — the general consensus is that a three-bedroom, two bathroom home with a garage is ideal.

The two sexes also appeared to be aligned when it came to the amount of home renovation work they were willing to take on. When asked “How much repair or renovation are you willing to do,” 58% of men and 59% of women reported “a little. I don’t mind painting and small updates.”

Survey results

The findings of the Zolo Homebuyers’ Survey 2019 are based on an online survey conducted by in January 2019 of over 1,800 respondents who live in North America. The estimated margin of error is +/- 2.28 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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Romana King

Romana King is an award-winning personal finance writer, real estate expert and the current Director of Content at Zolo. Romana has contributed to business and lifestyle publications including, Toronto Sun, Maclean’s, MoneySense, Globe & Mail Custom Content Team, and The Toronto Star. Among her achievements, Romana won silver for her annual Where to Buy Now real estate package in the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. In 2015, she won a SABEW Business Journalism award. When she was editor of CI Top Broker, Romana helped guide her team to obtain its first KRW Business Journalism nomination, and in 2011, she was part of a small team that helped MoneySense win Magazine of the Year at the 34th annual National Magazine Awards.