Flipping a house isn’t only about getting the electric, plumbing, and structure up to code. While you’re fixing any glaring issues, you have a great opportunity to add or improve architectural features to make your house much more desirable in the eyes of potential homebuyers.
Popular Home Styles
When deciding whether or not to acquire an investment property, you can consider the popularity of the architectural style in your region. In the northeast, the three most popular styles are country, ranch, and cottage, so a house in one of these three styles will appeal to a broad range of buyers. To see the most popular architectural styles in a different region, you can check out American Home Shield’s guide.
Country-style homes are an updated version of the colonial style. They typically have:
- Carefully spaced windows with shutters
- Two windows on either side of the front door
- Wide porches
- Wood detailing
Ranch homes are very modern and became popular in the 1950s. It is inspired by the Spanish Colonial and Craftsman styles. Common features include:
- Single story
- Rectangle or “U” shape
- Wood or brick exterior
- Attached garage
Cottage style homes often have a gothic and whimsical feel to them. They are known for being very charming and tend to be smaller than other styles. Some of their characteristics are:
- Large front porch
- Painted wood detailing
- Balconies and chimneys
- Open floor plan
Although these three styles are the most popular in the northeast, there are plenty of other beautiful home styles for you to consider.
- Similar to country, but simpler
- Stone and wood, unique designs; often bungalows
- Plaster walls, stone floors, fireplaces; inspired by French, Italian, and English estates
- Simple, rectangular design; tall, narrow windows; porches and wood siding
- Flat roofs, marble or stone and wood floors, clean lines
- Elevated first floor, roof overhangs and verandas, large shutters, entrance columns
- Flat or low-slope roofs, sometimes tiled; patios, courtyards, and verandas; plaster walls and simple detailing
As people’s lifestyles change, so do the features they look for in a home. Here are some of the things that appeal to modern homebuyers:
Open floor plan
People want a house that is conducive to having parties; they want people to flow naturally from room to room and not get stuck in the kitchen. Having the kitchen, living room, and family room open, connected and visible to each other will help your space feel modern and provides an opportunity for creative staging to show buyers just how great an open floor plan can be.
Modern couples are much less formal than their predecessors and don’t have much need for a full dining room. Instead, they want a breakfast room: a space near the kitchen with a small table for eating breakfast and informal lunches and dinners. Part of the reason for this change could be that millennials eat out a lot more than their predecessors and have fewer formal dinners at home.
First or second floor laundry room
Although it used to be common to hide the washing machine and dryer in the basement, homebuyers today don’t want to have to go down an extra set of stairs just to do their laundry. People will use this space for more than just their laundry and expect it to be more fun than utilitarian.
While you don’t want to spend a lot of money adding extras to the basement, you want to make sure it’s ready for homebuyers to use it for whatever purposes they want to. Keep it open, put down some carpet, and make sure there’s space for a TV or game station.
Even though modern homeowners aren’t hosting formal dinners as much as they used to, they want to be able to entertain guests in a casual setting. People want patios and dedicated seating areas. It’s better to stay simple with landscaping, but make sure everything is clean and charming.
The minimalist trend extends to home design; homebuyers don’t want to have things sitting out in the open. They want everything to have a specific place it can be tucked away into; they want large walk-in closets, “super pantries” with space for appliances and food prep, and dedicated wine storage.
The standard ceiling height has shifted from 8 ft to 9 ft in the past few decades. Now, 9 ft ceilings for the first floor are the norm and are highly desirable for upper floors as well. Since all of the rooms are taller now, people are also less impressed by the two-story family room. Having a single room take up two floors wastes space and increases expenses, so buyers no longer look for two-story living spaces.
While the above styles and features are specific things you should look for when buying or renovating a home, there are some general trends that are important to keep in mind as you continue on with real estate investing in coming years.
1. Smart Architecture
With the rising popularity of smart devices and smart homes, people are starting to look for homes that will allow them to incorporate these features easily. Think about the interconnectivity of the smart features homeowners may wish to install and design for wifi and device compatibility.
2. Traditional Materials
Sustainable, traditional materials like compact earth and timber are rising in popularity. This trend can mostly be seen in cities like London, Vancouver, New York, and Moscow, where timber construction has become much more prevalent. In coming years, this trend will likely be much more important for the average consumer.
3. Energy Efficiency
This trend also has to do with sustainability: people want homes built with sustainable materials that have low energy ratings. They also want to be able to incorporate solar panels into the design. Modern homebuyers want efficiency combined with aesthetics, so thinking about energy use when you are designing your investment property will help you build a highly desirable home.
Every change you make with your rehab is an opportunity to make money. By understanding what appeals to homebuyers and what they are looking for in a home, you can make educated decisions that will pay off when you sell. The architecture and design of the home are the aspects of the property which will get potential buyers emotionally invested and encourage them to pay more and make offers more quickly, reducing the time your property is on the market and increasing your profit. By thinking about the home style, incorporating modern features, and considering the trends toward sustainability and device compatibility, you can take full advantage of your home’s architecture and maximize your success.