Los Altos Real Estate Blog


What buyers don't want in a home

While most agents and homeowners focus on what buyers DO want in a home, it can also be useful to know what they don't want.  The California Association of REALTORS created this infographic to explain the results of a survey on what buyers don't want.  At the top of their list - elevators.

For the record, the tiny elevators in most luxury homes are overrated.  I listed a home a couple of years ago with an elevator installed that the owner never used.  He claimed it was an essential feature of the house as if a high-end buyer had to have it.  Well, nobody cared when I showed the home so that proved him wrong.  It seems this survey is on to something!

I can't completely support the notion that buyers don't want outdoor kitchens.  Many of the nicer homes in my market have been sold with outdoor kitchens.  They seem to appeal to those who want to spend more time outside in general, not just cooking.  I've seem patios with big-screen TVs and a nearby outdoor kitchen so that the owner could truly live outside.  To me that's appealing but maybe not to most folks.


As a buyer, what don't you want in a home?


buyers 2

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 Bryan Robertson, CEO | T: 650.799.9951 | Email: bryan@catarra-re.com | Website: http://www.BryanRobertsonHomes.com |CA BRE# 01191946 | Catarra Real Estate, Inc  | 171 Main St #220 | Los Altos, CA 94022



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Comment balloon 14 commentsBryan Robertson • November 04 2013 09:24PM


Some good info to remember when highlighting a home's features. Thanks.
Posted by Joan Fitton, CRS, ABR, RSPS, kw New Homes Ambassador (Keller Williams Southern Nevada) about 5 years ago

Hi Bryan -- I find most buyers want a house that is move-in ready and prefer not to do any work.  For them it could mean new paint or floor coverings -- they definitely don't like a home that is "dated"  There are a few features which will immediately "date" a house --- I'm thinking of the "conversation pits" from the 1970s - 1980s as well as trash compactors to a lesser degree.  Many of the trash compactors have been removed and re-invented as a wine refrigerator/cooler.  

I wonder if we'll(or others) will look back and say that the bathroom vessel sink looks so 2010.   

Posted by Michael Jacobs, Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393 about 5 years ago


I certainly agree it is important to know those things buyers do not want. Not sure how helpful this really is on a local level. I certainly won't make any assumptions about buyers based on this. I agree about outdoor kitchens - I have never had anyone say they did not want one, although it is not always on the "want" list.

Buyers definitely are not keen on laminate. But I have even had some who do NOT want granite.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) about 5 years ago

Interesting list Bryan. It looks like some of the items are a shift in trends, many of them used to be on the "must have" lists a few years back.  :)

Posted by Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366, General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage (Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366) about 5 years ago

great tips Bryan, I wonder how many sellers thought these things were a good selling point, especially the backyard kitchen.

Posted by Bob Crane, Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671 (Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams fox cities) about 5 years ago

I have difficulty with these surveys at they are out of context.  There are a few things that universally don't make sense, but then others that need to be in the context of area/price range.  For example, outdoor kitchen make much more sense for high end home and esp in warmer climates.  While elevators within a home don't make much sense in most places, they can make a lot of sense in a senior community townhouse (but obviously don't apply to single story units.  Also, what does the elevator question mean - within a house, or is it saying that people don't want to live in apartments/condos/co-ops that are multi story.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) about 5 years ago

When i meet a buyer for the forst time, my list i have them nmake includes what they like but ALWAYS includes what they do not like to better assist in their search. Most buyers do not know what they like, but sure know what the do not like.

Posted by Scott Godzyk, One of Manchester NH's Leading Agents (Godzyk Real Estate Services) about 5 years ago

Bryan~ Of course this list is going to be different in different places. For example, in Colorado, having a pool would probably rank high on this list.

Posted by Donna Foerster, Metro Denver Real Estate Agent (HomeSmart Realty Group) about 5 years ago

Most of those I could have guessed.  I was kind of shocked by two of them.  An elevator is very practicle for those wanting lots of space but having a limited budget for a single story.  I had a disabled buyer put one in a home for about 70K which was a lot cheaper than single story homes at about 5000 SF.  I do not see them in enough homes that people would even think about them.

I thought everyone wanted an outdoor kitchen.  They just seem kind of pricey to me for what you get.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) about 5 years ago

Always a good idea to know what buyers are looking for and what they'd like to avoid - good info for agents and sellers alike.  I agree that I'd love an outdoor kitchen in the right back yard/patio area.

Posted by John Meussner, #MortgageMadeEasy Walnut Creek, CA 484-680-4852 (Mason-McDuffie Mortgage, Conventional Loans, Jumbo Loans, FHA, 203(k), USDA, VA,) about 5 years ago

Bryan, I am with you. I find outdoor living rather appealing ... provided it is private outdoor living. An outdoor kitchen is great for entertaining. Many areas in California offer favorable weather many months out of the year for outdoor entertaining.  

Posted by Kathleen Daniels, San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist (KD Realty - 408.972.1822) about 5 years ago

Donna - I can imagine a pool is a tough sell out there.

Scott - That's a good idea.  The more buyers know about what they don't like, the easier it'll be to narrow the search.

Debbie - Yes, there is some issue with context.  The elevator is, I'm assuming, in a personal residence so that's down to very high-end homes.  The outdoor kitchen really applies to higher end homes as well.  Next one of these I get I'll work on better context.

Posted by Bryan Robertson, Broker, Author, Speaker (Intero Real Estate) about 5 years ago

As often as I ask buyers what they need and want, I also ask what they really don't like and don't want. It's often more illumating than their want list. We need to know both sides. Great post!

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage ) about 5 years ago

Nina - Thanks!  Yes, knowing what they don't want can be quite a bit of fun.

Kathleen - I've had many meals on our backyard patio and often grill which is one of the perks of being here.

Gene - The outdoor kitchen thing is really personal so I can see many buyers wanting to skip it.

Bob - The outdoor kitchen was a big deal a while back.  Not any more.

Tom - Yeah, the trends are interesting.  I'm liking how home sizes are also changing.

Posted by Bryan Robertson, Broker, Author, Speaker (Intero Real Estate) about 5 years ago

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