Millennials and Gen Xers, currently the two largest generations of homebuyers, are less interested in accumulating stuff – and storing it “just in case”— than their Baby Boomer counterparts. Today’s homebuyers hate clutter. They want their things accessible but out of sight in efficient storage spaces – not six boxes deep and difficult to find in a dark attic.
A survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders found that storage space was one of the top two main themes on new homebuyers’ wish lists – but they aren’t asking for more sheds and larger attics. When it comes to keeping clutter at bay, homebuyers want storage spaces that provide an organized, accessible place for everything.
Here are some of the top storage features that today’s buyers are looking for in a home.
Mudroom -For families with children and pets, one of the biggest collections of clutter and disorganization tends to begin right at the front door. This is where backpacks, shoes, coats, sports equipment, and muddy boots accumulate. A mudroom is a preemptive solution to all of that clutter – it provides transitional space between the outdoors and the inside of a home, as well as a place to store these items out of sight.
Walk-in pantry-Home cooking is increasingly popular among the largest generations of homebuyers. A survey conducted by Peapod and ORC International found that 72 percent cooked at home at least four nights a week last year, and over 1/3 plan to cook more often this year. It makes sense that homebuyers are concerned with having a place to store their supplies. A walk-in pantry is a convenient way to stash everything from small appliances to staple ingredients, cleaning supplies, and recycling bins.
Closet space-The difference between a cluttered home and a tidy home often comes down to the closets. When houses lack closet space, guest rooms can quickly become dumping grounds for items that have no designated place but don’t belong behind the holiday decorations in a shed or the deepest recesses of the attic. Homebuyers want closet space – especially closets that are located in places that make sense, such as linen closets in bathrooms, walk-in closets in the master bedroom, and a hallway closet near the front door.
Garage storage-The NAHB survey found that garage storage was among homebuyers’ most desired features. Eighty-six percent of homebuyers listed it as highly desirable, while nearly a third considered it a must-have item. Some homebuyers are even looking for three-car garages – not to store a third vehicle, but for additional storage space. The appeal of garage space over outdoor storage, such as sheds and outbuildings, is that garages are easier to access. Garage storage that is accessible and organized is most useful; shelving, cabinets, and closets make storing and finding things simple.
Laundry room-An overwhelming majority (92 percent) of surveyed homebuyers across all age groups said that a laundry room was a high-priority home feature. A laundry room is the most efficient place to store clean and dirty laundry, an ironing station, and items that need to be line-dried or dry-cleaned. A separate space for laundry – and all things related – keeps it out of peoples’ living spaces.
Phil Karp is a 25-year real estate industry veteran and head of Brokerage Services at Owners.com, where you can buy or sell a home while saving money in the process. Phil loves offering homeowners advice to showcase the best features in their home, including storage. He lives in the Greater Atlanta area where he chases his passion for auto racing.