Courtesy Zonda

When home buyers are in search of a newly constructed home, they expect to see the latest home trends showcased and not features that were popular 10-plus years ago. At the Zonda booth at the International Builders’ Show this week, Aurora Zeledon, director of digital content and marketing for Zonda House Plans, and Wayne Ramaker, owner of LifeStyle Design Service, presented five telltale features that will make a home look dated. See below to learn which rooms and amenities should be left behind to offer the kind of house plans that buyers crave today.

1. Tub in the main suite: “One of our biggest requests is to get rid of the tub in the master,” says Ramaker. “They want double sinks. They want bigger showers. They want more space in that master bath.” He also adds that people have been requesting showers with curbless entries, no doors, and dual showerheads as well.

2. Overly complex footprints: In order to keep costs down, it’s best to minimize the home’s overall footprint, according to the speakers. Ramaker states it can be a double-edged sword as elaborate floor plans can give a house more character, but many people request to have the plans more squared off, in order to keep the foundation work to a minimum.

3. Small bedrooms: “I really don't like 10-by-10 bedrooms anymore,” says Ramaker. “It's really tough for a kid to grow into that. And kids these days, they spend a lot of time in their bedrooms on their phones or doing homework.” He recommends at least 12 feet by 12 feet or larger for secondary bedrooms and to also even consider walk-in closets in those spaces.

4. Walled-off dining rooms: While the speakers agreed that formal living rooms have pretty much died, formal dining areas can be debatable. If designers decide to keep a more formal dining room in their floor plan, Ramaker suggests to not wall it off. “A lot of times it's families hanging out, and you want to be able to have people spread out when you’re cooking and entertaining,” he says. “Walling it off makes it a little tougher to do that.”

5. Too much square footage: According to Zeledon, the average square footage of plans that sold in 2022 is just over 2,000 square feet. Ramaker adds that a very common request is to chop maybe 400 or so square feet off a plan and to do so by evaluating each room’s size. “Usually, you're just taking slices through the plan and pulling it in,” he says. “Unfortunately, there is no magic shrink button that you can push to get a plan to all come down.”