BRONXVILLE, NY – From composite countertops to outdoor entertainment spaces and faux-wood decks, Westchester homebuyers have some new preferences when it comes to what they want in a home. While stainless steel kitchen appliances and open floor plans continue to be in high demand, homebuyers' 2015 wish lists contain some surprises, according to Joe Houlihan, managing partner of Houlihan & O'Malley, Bronxville's leading boutique real estate agency.
In southern Westchester, proximity to schools and public transportation has also become an increasingly integral part of a homebuyer's specifications. "People want the freedom to walk to the train or schools and not have the hassle of driving to and parking at the train station, or finding a nanny who drives,” says Houlihan, “In fact, one family we’re working with will only look at houses within one-third of a mile from a specific Metro-North station.” As Houlihan explains it, time is more important than ever to buyers, and for some, the very location of their home can give them more of it. “They are willing to bend on other aspects of the house, such as age and condition, and even do major renovations in order to have the location they want,” he says.
According to Houlihan, these are the Top Five requests from homebuyers in 2015:
- Upscale Kitchens/Composite Countertops Energy efficient, stainless steel appliances are still a favorite, but marble and granite countertops are no longer a given. Buyers are looking for more functional materials in their kitchens, including manufactured composites, such as Silestone and Caesarstone, which are nonporous and have bacteria protection, and are stain, scratch, and heat resistant. Other options are IceStone, which are combinations of concrete and glass. Natural quartzite is also requested, however quality can vary widely. Some are just as durable as granite, and others are more porous than marble.
Outdoor Living and Entertainment Spaces
“Decks are good, but yards with a walk-out patio are even better,” says Houlihan. Homebuyers enjoy being outdoors, and want built-in areas for entertainment. Outdoor grills and kitchens are a highly sought-after feature, as are slate patios and faux-wood decks. “Buyers are drawn towards decks made of wood alternatives because they look like real lumber, but don’t splinter and require substantially less maintenance,” Houlihan notes.
Energy-Efficient, Upstairs Laundry Facilities
“Nobody wants to haul loads of laundry up and down flights of stairs to the basement,” says Houlihan. "They want laundry rooms that are close to the bedrooms and easily accessible." Just as important are energy-efficient washers and dryers.
Garage Space, But Not For Cars!
A surprising number of people want to buy a home with a garage, but not for a car. “Garages are still in demand, but it doesn’t matter as much if it’s connected to the house because people are using them for storage,” says Houlihan. “In many cases, they would rather have a place to put lawn furniture, equipment, bikes, and other items than have a place for their car.”
Larger, open spaces that combine the kitchen, living room, and even dining room continue to be a priority for buyers. “Great rooms bring a sense of togetherness to families, yet allow them the space in which to do their own thing,” says Houlihan. “The kids can do homework or play while you cook dinner, watch television, or do any number of everyday activities, and that has great appeal.”
About Houlihan & O'Malley The Residential Sales Group at Houlihan & O'Malley is a boutique agency dedicated to offering clients inspired service, unwavering focus, and a commitment to real estate excellence. At Houlihan & O’Malley, agents who are knowledgeable, involved, and dedicated treat clients to an exceptional level of service. The Residential Sales Group appreciates the needs and time constraints of its clients and constantly strives to embody the company’s motto of "Excellence on Your Side."
There are currently nine agents working in the Residential Real Estate Sales Group. Together they represent the best combination of dedicated service and real estate skill. Individually, the agents have received numerous awards from the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors (HGAR) for outstanding sales, which, when combined, total over $300 million. All Houlihan & O’Malley salespersons are members HGAR, the New York State Association of Realtors, and the National Association of Realtors. Managing Partner Joe Houlihan is proud to have been a member of the Board of Directors of the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service.