Buyer’s needs in a changing market

It would seem that today’s property market has shifted and taken a different tone from the highly favourable buyer’s market we’ve seen over the past few years, to one more focused on the seller in certain areas. 

Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, points to the growing demand for property in a market where inventory shortages are becoming this year’s greatest challenge.
He notes that while the market is turning to favour the seller and many are achieving higher prices for their homes and in some instances even multiple offers, it is still important for sellers to realise that buyers in today’s market are informed and not prepared to just settle for any home. “In fact,” says Goslett, “the challenging economic times and recovering market has taught buyers the importance of maximising the value they get when making a home investment.  While buyers understand that they may have to pay slightly more in the current market to beat competitive bids for their ideal home, they still have high expectations as to what their dream home offers. Homes that meet the criteria and offer all the must-haves on the buyer’s list will be well positioned to sell quickly and for a good price. It does beg the question than, so what are on buyer’s must-have lists?”
Smarter designs and use of space

Goslett says that while buyers want properties that offer them good value for their money, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are looking for large homes. “The recession saw many homeowners downsizing to properties with more manageable bonds. While the economy has picked up and the market has seen much recovery, many buyers are still looking for efficiently designed homes that utilise smaller spaces in clever ways.”
He notes that buyers want more purposeful design in their homes – where functionality takes preference over size. Homebuyers in today’s market have embraced homes that make the best use of the space available. Goslett says that while the property might have compact spaces, the design of the space should allow for maximum storage and optimum usage.
Energy efficiency

Demand for efficient homes is a trend that has seen much growth as more and more buyers look for property with features that save on energy costs and reduce their impact on the environment. “Initially the trend started with buyers wanting homes with basic energy conserving features such as good insulation or energy-saving light bulbs. However, buyers in the current market are seeking a more holistic approach to energy efficiency and are opting for homes with items such as automated geysers and solar panelling. Green features are high on the must-have list due to the rising cost of utilities, along with a growing concern for environmental issues,” says Goslett.
Long-term potential

Goslett points out that buyers are looking for long term potential from two perspectives, one of which is the property’s potential to gain value over the long term and see good returns on investment. He notes that the other perspective is whether or not the property meets their requirements both now and in the future as their family situation may change. “While the first perspective relates to the principals of buying a home in a good location, in an area that will always experience a high demand, the latter perspective is more about the buyer’s personal circumstances and plans for the future,” says Goslett. “For an older buyer, the must-have list might include a one level home with open-plan design for easy mobility and a low-maintenance garden, whereas a different buyer would have different criteria, such as an extra bedroom for a potential child or proximity to a good school.”
Goslett concludes by saying that while demand for property is likely to continue increasing with less inventory in the housing market, sellers who know what buyers are looking for will ensure a faster and more beneficial sale – regardless of the market conditions.

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