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A recent survey over 600 Coldwell Banker Real Estate professionals in the United States revealed home buyers and sellers are adjusting expectations and “getting real” about real estate in 2012. More than half (51 percent) reported that sellers are more willing to price their homes competitively than this time last year, and 45 percent said sellers are more willing to change the appearance of their homes to entice buyers than they were one year ago.

Sellers More Willing to De-clutter, De-personalize and Make Repairs

Of those Coldwell Banker professionals surveyed:
• 94 percent say their sellers are getting rid of clutter and making cosmetic updates, such as fresh paint and minor repairs.
• 78 percent agree clients are willing to “de-personalize” the home.
• 59 percent say sellers are even bringing in new home decorations or furniture to help make the home more appealing.

“De-personalizing and making it easy for a buyer to imagine him or herself living in the property is crucial, especially when there are many homes on the market,” says Jessica Edwards, Coldwell Banker Real Estate Consumer Specialist.

“Within the past year, Sellers were more willing to price their homes competitively and took my advice to make their home inviting and appealing to a broad cross-section of potential buyers.”

Buyer Preferences are Back to the Basics

Sellers, take note: when it comes to selecting a home, buyers are going back to the basics. They value new or updated kitchens, bathrooms and open floor plans as the most important features for a new home.
• 33 percent of surveyed agents say that a new or updated kitchen is the most important feature to homebuyers.
• 14 percent say the most important feature to homebuyers is an open floor plan, while 12 percent say it is a new or updated bathroom.
• Only 1 percent of the real estate professionals surveyed say they believe that entertainment rooms or finished basements are the most important feature.

Home Buyers Moving for Babies and Careers

The survey also drilled down into which life events are motivating the most people to buy homes. According to the Coldwell Banker Real Estate professionals surveyed, growing families and job relocation are currently the biggest drivers for home buyers in the U.S.
• 70 percent of real estate professionals say a new baby or growing family is the “most common,” or a “very common” reason buyers search for a new home.
• 69 percent say relocation for job reasons.
• 59 percent say marriage.
• 48 percent say divorce.
• 37 percent say retirement.

“The survey shows that today’s buyers are recognizing the true value of a home,” says Budge Huskey, president and chief operating officer, Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. “This shift is critical as we return to the home serving as an investment in our lifestyles where the emotional and psychological benefits are of at least equal value to the pure economic investment.”

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