Buyer Must-Haves: All the Noteworthy Home Features Buyers are Eyeing in 2019

white dining room and living room

Buyer must-haves are always evolving. In the 50s, it was carports and linoleum flooring, and in the 80s it was skylights and mirrored closets.

In 2019? It’s all about the laundry room.

According to the National Association of Home Builders’ latest home trends report, a whopping 91% of homebuyers say the laundry room is a must-have feature in their future properties.

Other features that are high on today’s buyers’ lists include:

  • Energy-efficient Energy Star windows
  • Outdoor patios
  • Energy Star appliances
  • Ceiling fans
  • Garage storage
  • Hardwood flooring
  • Exterior lighting
  • Ample home storage
  • Three-car garages

They’re also opting out of larger homes, instead focusing more on features and amenities. According to the Census Bureau, the average home clocked in at about 2,500 square feet last year — down from its peak of almost 2,700 in 2015. The number of homes four bedrooms or larger is also decreasing

Room by Room

The report, which was based on a survey of more than 4,000 people who either recently purchased a home or plan to in the next three years, also dove into room-specific must-haves.

In the kitchen, buyers are specifically looking for:

  • White shaker cabinets
  • Walk-in pantries
  • Contemporary light fixtures
  • Quartz, granite, or marble countertops
  • Ceramic or porcelain tile
  • Stainless steel appliances
  • Farmhouse sinks
  • Wireless controls
  • Partially or completely open room designs (opening up to the dining area or other living spaces)

In the bathroom, they like private toilet rooms within their master bath suites, high-end fixtures, wall-mounted sinks, and white-on-white or gray-on-white color schemes.

Other Notable Findings

The survey also found that buyers are generally looking for detached, single-family homes in the suburbs. About a quarter prefer rural locations, while only 11% want an urban, big-city place to put down roots. This varies slightly by generation though, with millennials more likely to buy an urban home than any other cohort.

The least important features to today’s buyers, according to the study, are:

  • Elevators
  • Wine cellars
  • Plant-covered roofs
  • Pet-washing stations

Older homebuyers who plan to age in place are interested in vinyl and resilient flooring, especially in the bathroom.

Pro Tips

Use this trend data to help you better market your listings. Stage homes to fall in line with today’s buyer preferences, and be sure to play up any of these must-have features in your listing descriptions. You can even use virtual staging apps to help buyers see the design potential a home has by adding on-trend paint colors, cabinetry, furniture, and more.

Share this:

Aly Yale

Aly J. Yale is a freelance writer focusing on real estate, mortgage, and the housing market. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Bankrate, The Motley Fool, Business Insider, The Balance, and more. Prior to freelancing, she served as an editor and reporter for The Dallas Morning News. She graduated from Texas Christian University's Bob Schieffer College of Communication with a major in radio-TV-film and news-editorial journalism. Connect with her at or on Twitter at @AlyJwriter.