If you’ve been beefing up your model homes with workshops and home theaters in an attempt to lure male buyers, you may be wasting your money. Men care more about having luxury bathrooms, extra guest bedrooms, attractive views, and curb appeal, according to a May 2010 survey by the real estate brokerage firm ZipRealty.
Women, on the other hand, want home offices--a reflection, perhaps, of the growing number of female telecommuters in the workforce, notes ZipRealty Vice President of Marketing Leslie Tyler--ranking this feature as more important than a kids’ playroom, dining room, or fancy spa bath. The ladies also placed a higher premium than men on “outdoor entertainment areas” (which one might assume includes the grill zone).
So much for gender stereotypes. The survey, which tapped 1,000 members of ZipRealty.com, also asked participants to list their turn-offs when it came to shopping for both new and resale homes. Biggies for men included cosmetic problems such as “an unsightly house” and “outdated furniture and paint,” while women cited functional plan weaknesses such as small bedrooms and “lack of common space” as negatives.
There was some common ground, however. Both sexes agreed that a garage or parking space, a master suite, and ample storage space are essential in a house. Energy efficiency also received high marks, with more than one in four respondents ranking a green home as a high priority. “[That includes] making sure it’s cost-effective in places where you will have high air conditioning or heating use [so they] can minimize their bills,” says ZipRealty marketing director John Oldham.
Men and women were also aligned in their assertion that structural damage, busy streets, and awkward floor plans are deal-breakers.
There was one area, however, in which girl priorities were clear and (dare we say?) cliché. “Large or walk-in closets” ranked fourth among women’s top 10 most desired features, above guest bedrooms and gourmet kitchens.
And there you have it. Fashion trumps visitors and food.
Jenny Sullivan is a senior editor covering architecture and design for BUILDER. Editorial intern Jessica Porter contributed to this story.