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It’s no secret that the housing market in Nashville and its surrounding areas is booming and shows no signs of slowing down, which is a key reason why home designs and features are hot topics. “The market in Middle Tennessee remains strong as we have a robust and diverse economy, favorable climate, active music and restaurant scene, great shopping and entertainment plus a lower cost of living compared to other major cities,” explains Charlie Neese, Managing Broker for Zeitlin Sotheby’s International Realty Williamson County. “We see many people moving here because they follow other friends and family who have become advocates of this area, and the quality of life here can be contagious.”

With so many people looking for homes right now, the experts at Zeitlin Sotheby’s International Realty have discerned a handful of top home features that remain at the top of the list for buyers. From floor plans to walk-in closets, we uncovered the tried and true features that sway buyers, for better or worse, when looking to buy a home.

Never underestimate the power of a first impression. This home showcases how important curb appeal is for potential home buyers. It’s warm and inviting.

First and foremost, what influences a potential buyer the most when first setting eyes on a prospective new home? According to Brady Smith, Assistant Managing Broker at Zeitlin Sotheby’s International Realty Belle Meade, it’s being able to move into a turn-key home. “Many people don’t have the vision of what something ‘could be’ and are more focused on what it is (or isn’t) now,” Brady explains. “Others just don’t have the time or the interest in any kind of home improvement project. I’ve had people who even turned down an otherwise perfect house because they didn’t like the paint colors.”

Besides being all-around move-in ready, a house is definitely more appealing to buyers when it specifically has an updated kitchen and bathrooms, adds Jenny Telwar, Managing Broker at Zeitlin Sotheby’s International Realty Nashville. “Those two areas show the age of a home the most and are some of the most important spots when clients look at a home.”

Stephanie Brooks, Managing Broker for Zeitlin Sotheby’s International Realty Belle Meade, notes that another popular request is not only a finished master bathroom, but specifically one with double vanities and a large closet space.

When a home is move-in ready, it makes selling a home much easier.

Double vanities are a top selling point when it comes to master bathroom wishlist items.

Roomy closets are also at the top of the list.

Updated kitchens and bathrooms are still highly desirable and are certainly a plus for resale down the line. “If these two areas are not upgraded or aesthetically pleasing, buyers immediately start to calculate the cost to make those areas stylish,” Jenny continues. “In turn, this affects the buyer’s offer price to a seller when they go to make an offer.”

Stephanie says for her clients right now, it’s all about open concepts. “My clients all still want an open concept home with a great looking open kitchen that flows into an open great room or entertainment space,” she says. And she agrees with Brady when it comes to a turn-key home, saying, “Many years ago people were looking for a fixer-upper, but nowadays I seldom get that request. Most of my clients don’t know what to do with a home that needs a ton of work, nor how to do it themselves.”

All of the Zeitlin Sotheby’s International Realty experts concur that location is huge, along with attractive curb appeal. A well-maintained and nice-looking yard goes a long way when it comes to first impressions from buyers. Other popular features being requested include outdoor living spaces, screened-in porches and even outdoor kitchens. “Buyers are currently swooning over outdoor social areas,” Jenny says.

Open floor plans remain a top feature that home buyers are looking for.

Open concept floor plans allow for easy entertaining and provide a natural flow among the space.

Regardless of home features, Jessica Averbuch, CEO of Zeitlin Sotheby’s International Realty, emphasizes that choosing a home is such a personal decision, and it’s more about whether or not buyers can see themselves living there. “If they can see it, the decision is made,” she says. “As agents, if we can ask enough questions to understand their vision, then we can move beyond the laundry list of wants and needs and help them realize their dreams.”

On the flip side, there are a number of turn-offs for buyers that could immediately deter them from considering a home. “Formal dining or living spaces and upstairs bonus rooms seem to have become less popular for buyers as of late,” Jenny says. “Most buyers seem to want the open floor plan concept and functional entertaining space to be all on the same level.” Charlie agrees, adding that not having owner suites on the main level for easy access to the rest of the house can be a deal-breaker for some people.

Another turn off? Lack of neighborhood amenities. Jenny points out that neighborhood amenities are extremely important to buyers — and specifically buyers with kids. “Community connection is so important, especially for those buyers who are new to town,” she says.

Outdoor social spaces, such as an outdoor living room, are all the rage among current home buyers.

Features like neighborhood pools and playgrounds are so important when families are new to town.

According to Charlie, another significant turn-off can be the prospect of having to remodel or catch up on deferred maintenance. “Many times they are relocating from other cities and will start new jobs as soon as they move here, so they don’t have the time to deal with the inconvenience of having to do a big remodel or fixing up,” Charlie explains. Therefore, the more move-in ready and updated the house is, the more a seller increases their chances of getting under contract quickly.

Jenny points out that a home that isn’t well-kept is a pretty quick turn off for most people. “You can recognize the sellers who have taken the time to maintain a home or prep it for sell,” she says. “Sellers who do a pre-inspection report and have a majority of any issues fixed goes a long way to aid in the comfort level of a buyer to make an offer.” Additionally, decluttering and less furniture is also helpful for buyers to really see the space movement, possibly functionality and helps the buyer to “see themselves” in the space more.

Proper maintenance and home care goes a long way in helping potential buyers to imagine themselves in a home. We can see ourselves in this space. Can’t you?

Lastly, Jessica leaves potential buyers with a few words of advice when it comes to the overwhelming task of searching for a new home. “There are many ‘popular’ features that are not livable for some people. So rather than finding a ‘perfect’ home, I find that people ultimately buy the home that suits their lifestyle.”

If you’re looking to buy or sell a home, or if you’re relocating to Nashville, let the Nashville real estate experts at Zeitlin Sotheby’s International Realty help. Visit zeitlin.com to get started.

This article is sponsored by and all photography provided by Zeitlin Sotheby’s International Realty.