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Trends are an excellent way to predict things like homebuyer behavior over the coming months or years. Unlike a fad, which ends quickly, a trend is something that may continue on for 10 or more years.
Each year, Fixr conducts a survey of influencerswithin the building and design industry—those professionals who are helping to shape the trends that impact homeowners and homebuyers alike. This year’s survey results have shown some surprising (and not so surprising) trends that real estate professionals can use to help sell homes more quickly and influence homebuyer behavior.
Pay close attention to these five trends to help make the most of all your real estate transactions in 2018:
Smart Home Technology
The No. 1 trend influencers say homebuyers are going to be looking for in 2018 is smart home technology. Smart homes have taken off in the last few years with the introduction of systems like Apple Home and Amazon’s Alexa. Adding smart home features to a home makes it much more attractive to younger homebuyers who currently make up the largest population of buyers.
Adding smart home technology to a home costs around $5,000 to $9,000 on average, but can increase the value of a home by about 5 percent. Keep in mind that this is only true if the upgrades were made in the last five years; after that, the technology becomes outdated. The most sought-after items include smart lights and thermostats—which can reduce energy consumption—and security features like locks and cameras.
Open Floor Plans
The second most popular trend is a continuation from years past: the open floor plan. Particularly on single-story homes, open floor plans continue to be one of the most requested options among homebuyers, possibly because of the flexibility this type of floor plan offers. An open floor plan allows you to configure the space in ways that work for you, rather than working around what’s already there.
As long as you aren’t removing load-bearing walls in the structure, opening up rooms and removing walls can bring up to 60 percent ROI at time of resale, while also making the home much more attractive to today’s buyers.
Solar energy isn’t a new trend, but it's one that’s making big gains in today’s market. In fact, homebuyers are much more likely to want to invest in a home with solar power today than they were just a few years ago. As energy costs continue to soar, having solar power available can be a very enticing option.
The national average cost to install solar panels on a home is between $20,000 and $25,000. The ROI on solar power does vary by state, but because the cost is usually offset over time by reduced energy costs, most people find the investment worth it in terms of decreased energy bills and how much more attractive it makes the home to younger buyers.