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employee_relocating_new_homeEmployees relocating to a new market for a job know all too well which features and amenities they want most in their next home and the location: it needs to be larger than their previous home, with an upgraded kitchen and be located in a good school district, yet not too far from work, according to Cartus Corp survey taken last week.

Cartus, a leading provider of domestic and global relocation services, received responses from 267 of America’s top real estate brokers who specialize in working with transferees. The brokers, all members of the Cartus Broker Network, were asked (among other things), “What specifics about a home are most important to transferees?” The following ranks the top five things transferees want from their next home (percent ranking either 1 or 2 on a 5-point scale):

A larger home than former residence — 70 percent
New construction — 64 percent
Single story — 37 percent
Multi-story — 26 percent
Smaller home than former residence –17 percent

“A job transfer is a major life change for employees and their families, and finding a home that fulfills their needs is important and enables the employee to transition to the new job efficiently and with little disruption to family lifestyles and routines,” says Gerry Pearce, executive vice president, broker and affinity services for Cartus.

“What we found most interesting was not only what’s on their dream home wish lists, but what isn’t.”

At the Heart of the Matter: An Upgraded Kitchen

For transferees, an upgraded kitchen is definitely considered the heart of their home, ranking highest on the list of desired amenities (percent ranking either 1 or 2 on a 5-point scale).

However, amenities such as smart-home technology, media room/home theater, and fitness rooms, didn’t crack the top three most-popular items.

Upgraded kitchen — 91 percent
Master bedroom on first floor — 60 percent
Finished basement — 44 percent
Pool/spa – 23 percent
Outdoor kitchen — 11 percent
Smart-home technology (i.e., control via phone/tablet for heat, electricity, electronics, media, security, etc.) — 10 percent
Media room/home theater — 7 percent
Fitness room – 4 percent

Transferee Dream Home Location: School District and Proximity to Work Rank Highest

When it comes to dream home locations, transferees’ two top choices (percent ranking either 1 or 2 on a 4-point scale) revolve around family and the job: Location within a specific school district (91 percent) and less than 30 minutes commute to work (84 percent) garnered the top two spots. Rounding out the top five are: In-town location, close to shopping, dining, etc. (18 percent), proximity to mass transit pick up/drop off (17 percent), and proximity/availability of parks and recreational facilities (10 percent).

Real estate brokers surveyed appear to be moderately optimistic about whether their market will benefit from greater numbers of employees being transferred: 55 percent believe employees being transferred into their market will increase in 2014 over last year, 42 percent believe their market will remain the same, and only 3 percent think there will be fewer transferees moving into their market.

Additionally, the majority of brokers believe that transferees will take advantage of expected low interest rates throughout 2014 and will purchase their next home (86 percent) versus rent (14 percent).