Ingredients of a Great Real Estate Investment

Boost your odds for a successful resale down the road with these four essentials.
Home Exterior Garage

Home Exterior Garage

Storage space, like a multi-car garage, is a desirable home amenity.

From: Fixer Upper

Photo by: Larsen & Talbert Photography

Larsen & Talbert Photography

By: Kara Wahlgren

Whether you’re shopping for an investment property, buying a starter home or relocating for your job yet again, your next home likely won’t be your last. That’s why it pays to go house hunting with your successors in mind. After all, buyers are a demanding bunch, and simple renovations won’t always satisfy their stringent criteria. Luckily, you can tip the resale scales in your favor by planning wisely and purchasing a property with these in-demand amenities.

#1: The Hottest Feature 
An overwhelming majority of buyers want a cool house, but that doesn’t mean you need to scour the listings for basement theaters or zoned audio systems. Take this request literally -- central air conditioning is the most sought-after feature, with nearly three-quarters of buyers ranking it “very important” in a National Association of Realtors survey. And in the sweltering South, that number jumps to 91 percent. Central air is a pricey add-on, especially in a home without a forced-air heating system, so you may want to favor a house that already beats the heat.

#2: Essential Storage 
While curb appeal and designer decor can attract potential buyers, what they can’t see is just as important -- like, say, an Imelda Marcos-worthy shoe collection or a rusty project car. Call them packrats if you will, but buyers are serious about storage space. Fifty-seven percent say a garage with two or more bays is key, and 53 percent want a walk-in closet in the master bedroom.

#3: Modern Musts 
Your next house can be any hue, as long as it’s green on the inside. The eco-friendly trend gets high marks from 46 percent of buyers, so try to find a property with energy-efficient features like newer windows, Energy Star appliances and a well-maintained HVAC system. And a growing number of buyers want to stay wired at home -- nearly half say cable and satellite connections are important, while 40 percent want access to high-speed Internet.

#4: Exterior Excellence 
When you’re shopping for a house, what’s on the outside definitely counts. Half of all buyers say a backyard is important, and 36 percent would like a fence for their pups (and their privacy). And you know the real estate cliche about location, location, location? Make it your house-hunting mantra. “Location, you can’t change. Everything else, you can,” says Pat Vredevoogd Combs, the immediate past president of the National Association of Realtors. Research the local school district before you invest -- even if you don’t have kids, the next owner might. And steer clear of high-power lines, highways and airports, which can raise red flags for buyers.

Most importantly, remember that trends can vary widely between states. A two-bedroom may seem teeny in Texas but downright luxurious in Malibu, and an adobe house might have slightly more appeal in Santa Fe than in northern Michigan. “Talk to your Realtor and find out what things are most important in your marketplace,” Vredevoogd says. “And always keep resale in mind.” You may not be able to check off every item on a prospective buyer’s wish list, but the right features can lay the groundwork for a solid investment.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Real Estate Survival Guide: Seller's Checklist

Refer to this 10-step checklist to get you through the home-selling process.

Real Estate Survival Guide: Buyer's Checklist

Refer to this 10-step checklist to get you through the homebuying process.

Fresh News for 'Fixer Upper' Fans: Chip and Joanna to Open 'Hillcrest Estate' in Waco

Chip and Joanna Gaines announce their latest project — a beautifully restored colonial style home that will open as a vacation rental property.

How to Refinish Hardwood Floors

With hardwood back in style, it might be worthwhile to check your floors. If your floor was among those treasures that were buried, we can help put it back on display with these tips to refinish hardwood.

13 Home Staging Secrets

Highlight your home's strengths, downplay its weaknesses and appeal to prospective buyers with these secrets.

Build or Buy? Making the Right Decision

It's more than deciding on the right carpet-tile combination. Before you hire a builder or sign on a dotted line, read these tips to make sure you're getting the best house for your buck.

On TV

Good Bones

6:30am | 5:30c

Income Property

7:30am | 6:30c

Log Cabin Living

10:30am | 9:30c

Log Cabin Living

11:30am | 10:30c

Fixer Upper

12pm | 11c

Fixer Upper

1pm | 12c

Fixer Upper

2pm | 1c

Fixer Upper

3pm | 2c

Fixer Upper

4pm | 3c

Fixer Upper

5pm | 4c

Fixer Upper

6pm | 5c

Fixer Upper

7pm | 6c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Fixer Upper

8pm | 7c

Fixer Upper

9pm | 8c

House Hunters

10pm | 9c

House Hunters

11pm | 10c

Fixer Upper

12am | 11c

House Hunters

1am | 12c

Fixer Upper

3am | 2c

Shop This Look

Found a living space you love in HGTV's Photo Library? Get the look in your own home with products from Wayfair.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.