Much has been written here (and elsewhere) about the most desirable amenities in a home. Just last week on Pacific Union’s blog we wrote about features that help sell homes fastest, and we’ve penned several other stories about home-design trends since the first of the year. (Start here.)
But what about design features that homebuyers don’t want — amenities that will send potential purchasers to that other home for sale down the street? It’s better to know this now, before you spend money on that pet-washing station, thinking it will add value to your home (see below).
We presented a brief list of “home design don’ts” a few weeks ago, but a recent study by the National Association of Home Builders went into much greater detail, exploring unnecessary amenities overall and also broken down by age groups. The NAHB’s study is titled “Housing Preferences of the Boomer Generation: How They Compare to Other Home Buyers,” and it tabulates results from a nationwide survey of more than 4,300 recent and prospective homebuyers. The four generations surveyed are millennials (born 1980 or later), Generation Xers (born 1965-1979), baby boomers (born 1946-1964), and seniors (born 1945 or earlier).
First off, take a look at the overall tastes of American homebuyers across all age groups. Here are the top 12 items they said they don’t want in a new home:
- Elevator (63 percent say they don’t want one)
- Pet-washing station (54 percent)
- Wine cellar (53 percent)
- Golf course (53 percent)
- Daycare center in the community (52 percent)
- High density — smaller lots and attached or multifamily buildings (46 percent)
- Cork flooring on the main level (45 percent)
- Dual toilets in the master bathroom (44 percent)
- Two-story family room (43 percent)
- Wet bar (42 percent)
- Two-story entry foyer (40 percent)
- Laminate countertop (40 percent).
But these results vary by age groups. It may come as no surprise that millennials and Gen Xers have no need for an in-home elevator, but senior citizens are not so dogmatic on that front. Seniors are unimpressed with an in-home day care center or a pet-washing station, with millennials slightly less so.
Curiously, wine cellars have no juice among seniors, baby boomers, and Gen Xers, but millennials probably wouldn’t rip one out if it was already there. (Note to Bay Area connoisseurs: Pay no attention to this particular finding. This was a nationwide survey, and people outside of Northern California don’t know what they’re missing.)
One final, curious observation: Millennials and Gen Xers hold laminate kitchen countertops in the same disregard that seniors hold for nearby baseball or soccer fields. Go figure.