What today’s homebuyers want

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by Heidi Hansen,
Managing Broker
Windermere Sequim East

The upside of the downturn in the housing market is that buyers have become clear about what they really want in a home and even clearer about what they are willing to pay for these features.


Nell Clausen, custom home specialist with Estes Builders, reports that buyers have made the following selections when designing their custom homes over the past two years. “In the kitchen, buyers want granite or quartz countertops, stainless steel sinks and appliances. Hands down our buyers have chosen Bosch dishwashers for their quietness,” said Clausen. “In the bath they want 5-foot showers with tile surrounds.”


Flooring choices include hardwood in entry and hallways with tile in the bathrooms and buyers are opting for vinyl in the laundry room. Of course, many of these choices are based on the bottom line.


Higher-end buyers want heat pumps and variable speed air handlers. Buyers ask about energy costs. So more than the actual costs of the home, they are interested in what the upkeep costs are. When looking at purchasing an existing homes this is easily answered by calling the PUD to check out the energy costs over the previous year.


Over the past 35 years buyers have demanded ever bigger homes. When the U.S. Census Bureau started tracking it, the average home was just over 1,500 square feet and grew to just under 2,300 square feet by 2007. By 2010, the median home was 2,169 square feet. Clausen agrees that the custom homes Estes Builders have built here in the past two years have been around 2,000 square feet. Buyers want a two-car garage plus some additional workshop and storage space. With custom homes, buyers are willing to pay for insulating garages, not just finishing them.


Most popular today are fiberglass front doors with decorative glass. Interior door choices are six-panel solid core. Cabinets include alder, maple and cherry. Buyers may choose cherry finish over cherry wood to meet budget demands.


Home buyers are looking for a good buy that fits their needs and is within their budget. That includes the maintenance and upkeep costs. Buyers choose low-maintenance Hardiplank siding and Trex decking. Roofing materials are 30-40 year composite.


Over the past few years, many homeowners have opted for remodeling their current homes rather than trade up. This weekend (April 6-7) the North Peninsula Building Association (NPBA) will hold its annual Building, Remodeling & Energy Expo at Sequim High School. For more information about Expo, visit


Watch for information about the upcoming Nationwide Open House Weekend, April 21-22.


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