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Deciding what you want in a house is a deeply personal decision. That said, understanding current housing trends can help you establish a rapport with new buyers, better shape your marketing efforts and decide when a property is good to sell as-is and when a renovation project or two could make all the difference between a listing that languishes or one that draws attention and yields the possibility of another big fat commission advance.

Open Floor Plans

A big open space that connects the living room, dining room and kitchen is perfect for entertaining or watching the little ones while you whip up dinner. That kind of versatility means open floor plans are in demand for party-happy millennials, young families and empty nesters alike. As a real estate agent, you can’t do much about an existing home with a chopped-up layout, but if your seller is already thinking of fixing up the kitchen or making major structural adjustments, knocking out a wall could prove to be a sound investment.

Chef-Inspired Kitchens

Nice kitchens never go out of style, but the Instagram-driven culture of millennials has given way to a plethora of food posts and restaurant talk that’s making cooking cool again. As a result, buyers are looking for top-of-the-line kitchens that are multifunctional, have tons of workspace and extra seating, whether it’s a bar, island, breakfast nook or some combination of the above. When creating your listing, talk up a kitchen that has room for the kids to do homework or friends to sip on a glass of wine while the host rolls out pizza dough.

An Integrated Laundry Room

Laundry is a not-so-glamorous fact of life, but a beautiful room to do all that fluffing and folding in can make Sunday morning chores fly by a little bit faster. Adding a laundry room to the basement level of a home can be as cheap as $1,000 in reno costs, but adding one to an upper floor could boost the price tag to the low five figures. Still, if buyers are deciding between a home with a washer and dryer just sitting in the hallway or hidden in an alcove with just a folding door to minimize heat and noise and a home with a decked-out separate laundry space, the choice would seem obvious.

Spa Bathrooms

Is your client’s master bath a dark and dingy spot where buyers will feel trapped and depressed or an airy, well-lit oasis of peace and calm? Buyers crave a touch of luxury within their home environments, and a bathroom is a great place to find that. Without doing a total remodel, sellers can embrace the spa aspect by repainting a relaxing color scheme, installing massaging shower heads, upgrading fixtures and swapping out window coverings to let in as much natural light as possible.

All the Quirky Extras

People watch a lot of HGTV, and having constant exposure to the best and brightest of home renovations and design means that clients are going to be casting a keen eye towards what makes the properties in your portfolio stand out. Help your listings leap off the laptop screen by mentioning any and all features that are cool and different:

  • Jetted tubs
  • Professional-grade ranges
  • Built-in wine fridge or storage
  • Farmhouse sinks
  • Towel warmers in the bathroom
  • Dual or rain showerheads
  • Outdoor motion-activated lighting
  • Wired media rooms
  • Innovative flooring or wall coverings like exotic hardwoods, bamboo and cork
  • Outdoor kitchens with pizza ovens or built-in grills
  • Smart home integration

Knowing what’s hot and what’s not could help you craft a smarter listing, attach a more realistic price to the properties in your portfolio and guide clients as they prep their homes for sale. Keep an eye on what’s trending and see if you can’t boost your MLS traffic and your commission advance as well.