Sanity Has Returned to Homebuyers

by Kay Lynn


One benefit of the housing bust is that homebuyers have turned away from “bigger is always better”.  I can’t wait to see this trend on house hunters.

This article from Lew Sichelman analyzes a recent homebuyer survey by Avid Ratings of over 22,000 respondents.  It is useful to builders and architects as they plan for new developments


  Of note is that lightly used rooms are not requirements.  This includes formal living and dining rooms, media rooms and a fifth bedroom.

This doesn’t mean that people are ready to join Little House in the Valley in a container or grain silo home. The emphasis is on space not rooms.   Get rid of dead space and tuck away stairways and have decent-sized secondary bedrooms. 


I was heartened by the fact that people want more energy efficient homes and “green” features.  These include less expansive windows, efficient appliances and insulation. 

The green bent hasn’t extended to the group wanting recycled or sustainable building materials.  As Sichelman notes, this part of being green is not obvious to most people.

Must Haves

What are the big musts of homebuyers?  A ground floor master bedroom, large kitchen (with island), a den and a two-car garage.  Hmm, I don’t have any of these and am pretty happy with my home.  However, we do use one of the bedrooms as a home office.


The extras aren’t a priority anymore.  People didn’t need clubhouses, swimming pools, dog parks, jacuzzi tubs and 24 hour security.  The best part is that homebuyers indicated they would be “more practical” the next time they buy.

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photo credit: Graeme Bird 
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Little House May 21, 2010 at 6:12 am

Thanks for mentioning my link! You never know, with the right architect, a grain silo may be just the perfect house for someone. 😉 I love researching housing trends, I’ll have to check out your house hunters link.
.-= Little House´s last blog ..Livable Living Expenses =-.

Bucksome May 22, 2010 at 5:10 am

Hi Little House, I like your examples of unusual houses. I think it’s great that buildings can find new life with another use.

Financial Samurai May 21, 2010 at 6:16 am

Howdy Bucksome, what’s the appeal of a ground floor masterbedroom? I’ve always grown up to think a top floor MB is the way things should be. Hmmm.
.-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..The Emergency Fund Fallacy =-.

Bucksome May 22, 2010 at 5:12 am

Sam, that’s a very good question. The article didn’t explain it but I think the baby boomers are driving this change as my generation ages.

One of my neighbors just sold their home because the husband has bad knees and it bothered him to go upstairs to the bedroom. They are moving to a one story.

Squirrelers May 23, 2010 at 9:00 pm

I grew up in a home with 2nd floor bedrooms, and thought that was normal throughout my life. Now, as I see people I know in their 60’s and 70’s getting all kinds of knee problems and other ailments, I have an appreciation for having a 1st floor master. One of my friends, who turned 40 a year (or two, not sure) ago built a ranch home for his family of 5. His thought was that he wanted to grow old in that house, and someday he would be happy to have it all on one floor.

I completely understand why a 1st floor master would be a good idea, I would think it provides a lot of flexibility for resale.
.-= Squirrelers´s last blog ..Delayed Retirement to the Extreme =-.

Bucksome May 25, 2010 at 5:44 am

Squirrelers, your friend was thinking ahead. Mr. Boomer and I bought our townhouse condo knowing we would most likely move once I retire. There is a ground floor bedroom and a full bath but the master is upstairs.

My mom doesn’t do stairs anymore so she stays downstairs when visiting.

Money Reasons May 21, 2010 at 12:47 pm

If we beat the recession (hopefully Greece doesn’t pull us back in), I think alternative energy will return to the spotlight, maybe even solar panels on homes again!

I’m torn on the home size. My house is good (it’s over 2,100), but a few hundred more square feet and a yard twice the size would be very nice! I wouldn’t want a McMansion, but just a little more would be nice…
.-= Money Reasons´s last blog ..Goldman Sachs Is Being Used as a Whipping Boy =-.

Bucksome May 22, 2010 at 5:14 am

Money Reasons, I would say you have a good size house, but as the article noted it’s all a matter of how spacious the rooms you use feel. Why do you want a larger yard? Is it for kids, dogs, gardening or something else?

A yard for all of these reasons is something I miss with our condo. Of course, we don’t miss maintaining the yard!

Money Reasons May 22, 2010 at 10:21 pm

I want a larger yard for the kids (and to a lesser extent the dog). Personally, I’m content with our small yard, but the kids are missing out in some fun…

Hmmm, surprisingly we use all of our rooms. We converted the dining room into a playroom. The formal living room, we decided to make into a media room (our family computer, printer and books resider here… not to mention my daughter’s karaoke machine). Our guest room is really our office/guest room, and the primary place I work on my blog 🙂
.-= Money Reasons´s last blog ..MoneyReasons Weekly Cache 2010, May 23 Iron Man =-.

Jackie May 21, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Sounds like people are starting to come to their senses. I have always preferred houses without a lot of extra space, although lately I’ve been wishing for a TINY bit more room. That probably just means I need to get better organized though, and get rid of some unneeded stuff.
.-= Jackie´s last blog ..And We Wonder Why Medical Costs Are So High… =-.

Bucksome May 22, 2010 at 5:15 am

I want more room too, but will have it once the youngest son finishes his schooling and gets out on his own.

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