As challenges emerge and evolve over the years, so do people’s priorities toward the different features of their homes. Global events such as climate change, the pandemic, and energy prices leave homeowners more tempted to upgrade certain features of their properties more than others and home buyers to focus on particular aspects of their dream homes.
This article explores the top home features homeowners will be prioritizing in 2023, as well as the less important ones. The data we cover is based on the insights of 52 industry experts surveyed on the importance of various home features this year, revealing the key factors people consider when buying a house today.
Find out which home features homeowners will be seeking the most and which ones they’ll be willing to compromise on when faced with a tighter budget this year.
The Most Important Features for Homeowners in 2023
The graphic above includes common home features listed in order of importance for homeowners, based on the percentage of top industry experts who rated them ‘very important’. Below is a breakdown of the top 5 features and those which have grown and dropped in popularity in 2023.
Top 5 Homeowners' Priorities in 2023
1. Natural light is very important, say 81% of experts
An overwhelming majority of 98% of experts believe having plenty of natural light is either important or very important for homeowners in 2023. Natural light has topped homeowners’ priority list this year, with it being the second most important home feature in 2022.
Not only does natural light help reduce energy consumption thanks to a lesser need for artificial light during the day, but it also connects the home's interior with the outdoors and improves the home's overall look. Although this may be a feature homebuyers would prefer to have when buying the house, there are ways to increase the natural light of the home with a few improvements, which is something to consider during their search.
2. Having usable outdoor space remains sought after this year
Following natural light on homeowners’ priority list is usable outdoor areas as either an important or very important home feature, according to 96% of experts. One of the reasons homeowners place so much value on outdoor spaces is that they expand the home's livable area, allowing extra space for cooking, working from home, and entertaining.
According to a recent study on outdoor living trends, 85% of experts say homeowners will devote a quarter of their home remodeling budget to their outdoor living spaces in 2023. So, the importance of this aspect of the home remains.
3. Kitchen islands are a key kitchen feature
This year’s top features also include kitchen islands. In fact, home buyers are willing to pay more for a home with a kitchen island, lining up with the fact that 81% of experts believe it to be either important or very important to be featured in the kitchen.
Functionality is one of the main reasons homeowners are so keen on kitchen islands. They offer more surface area to work with, extra storage space, and can have built-in cabinets, drawers, or shelves, concealing things that people might not want to be displayed on the countertops. According to a recent study, hidden storage was even said to be one of the biggest kitchen trends of 2023.
Kitchen islands cost around $4,000 to $8,000, making them a considerable investment. So they tend to have a positive impact on homebuyers if already installed.
4. 58% of pros say laundry rooms are very important to homeowners
Laundry rooms also have the potential to greatly impact homebuyers since 94% of experts believe that they are either a very important or an important home feature in 2023. While kitchens and basements have traditionally been popular choices for housing laundry rooms, a recent trend has emerged where homeowners are opting to place their laundry rooms in other areas of the house. Gone are the days when a basic and practical laundry space would be enough. Today, homebuyers are placing higher importance on having a luxurious laundry room.
If you don’t have one already, it costs between $4,000 and $10,000 to add a laundry room to your home.
5. Energy-efficient HVAC is much more important this year
As electricity prices remain high, homeowners are looking for ways to reduce their energy bills, and a recent report on energy efficiency revealed that homeowners now even favor energy-efficient HVAC over solar panels. And with many people still spending more time at home due to remote work, they have the AC running all day. 81% of the experts surveyed chose energy-efficient HVAC as important or very important.
Features That Have Increased in Importance the Most in 2023
Pools are a lot more important to homeowners this year
One feature that’s emerged as a top priority for homeowners this year is swimming pools, with 85% of experts believing that they’re either important or very important for homeowners in 2023. Last year, swimming pools were at the bottom of homeowners’ priority list, as 59% of experts marked them as an unimportant home feature. With a continued desire for outdoor spaces, people are now looking for pools that complement their homes and offer a space to relax in.
Swimming pools may be both expensive and high maintenance, costing anywhere between $20,000 and $110,000 to build. Still, they’re a highly enjoyable space for relaxation and entertainment and were featured as the outdoor project with the highest joy score by the National Association of Realtors this year.
Solar panels and EV chargers are more popular than ever
Despite the fact that homeowners are prioritizing energy-efficient HVAC this year, 75% of experts believe that solar panels are either important or very important in 2023, which is 55% more than last year when solar panels were low on the list of homeowners’ priorities.
It costs around $20,000 to install a residential solar energy system, so it seems homeowners are now either willing to either invest in this project or are looking for homes that already have this feature installed.
Going hand in hand with solar panels, EV chargers were marked as either important or very important by 67% of experts this year. With the growing demand for electric cars, this feature is likely to gain even more importance over time.
Extra space needed
Features that provide extra space were marked as very important by 50% of experts. Additional storage allows homeowners to keep their belongings organized and prevents any cluttering, making it an essential feature of the home.
Another feature that adds space to the home is a spare bedroom, which was deemed an important or very important home feature by 77% of experts this year. Although costing between $20,000 and $120,000, adding a spare bedroom can always benefit homeowners as it provides flexibility and the potential for future conversions, such as a home office or a laundry room.
Areas That Remain Important in 2023
Home offices are here to stay
Since the pandemic, home offices have remained high on homeowners’ priority lists, and 94% of experts still believe that they’re either important or very important in 2023. A total of 66% of U.S. workers currently work remotely, with up to 92% of employees working at least one day per week remotely and averaging 5.8 remote workdays per month. Additionally, 68% of Americans would prefer to work remotely full-time, making a home office a desired home feature for most.
It costs around $2,500 to $4,000 to convert a room into a home office, so having at least the space to do so remains an important aspect of the home today.
Home security never stops being important
Home security is thought to be either important or very important, according to 69% of experts. While it may not be homeowners’ number one priority to upgrade or install, it is always a feature that people consider to be essential in order to keep themselves, their loved ones, and their property safe. Therefore having good security in working conditions remains an important home feature.
Each year, homeowners adapt and change their wants and needs according to what is happening in the world. A home that suits the current universal desires is likely to sell, and what homeowners and homebuyers are looking for aligns with recent events.
People are now looking for comfort, functionality, energy efficiency, and a healthy home atmosphere. Adapting to these desires by prioritizing home upgrades can help towards a better way of living and lead to a more successful home sale
Irena is an industry analyst at Fixr.com. She analyzes and looks for visual ways to simplify data. She has been researching and writing about home improvement and personal finance since 2018. At Fixr.com, she is constantly looking to give homeowners the best advice on how to invest in their homes.