What Buyers Focus On Most When Touring A Home, According To Eye-Tracking Software

Turns out, it isn’t all about the stainless steel appliances.

One of the many mantras in the real estate world is the saying “kitchens sell houses,” but until now there has been very little information about exactly what it was in a kitchen that would make buyers pay attention. With the help of a few homebuyers wearing glasses that track eye movements, we are beginning to have some hard facts.

It isn’t the shiny metallic fridge or the latest high-tech dishwasher their eyes go to when they first walk in the kitchen. It’s the oven. Many of the buyers in the study would go so far as to look inside the oven, and some of them would even turn it on to see how well it worked. So if you’re selling your home, make sure the oven is so clean it sparkles inside and out. If it isn’t in working order or has a few bad burners, you don’t necessarily have to get it replaced, but you might consider offering the buyer a credit for a new one.

Bedrooms are one of the next priorities in a house that can make or break a sale and eye-tracking software reveals a buyer’s eyes go straight to the bed when they walk into the room. Most likely buyers are wondering if their bed will fit in the space and if there is enough room to fit the rest of their furniture as well. This means if you’re in triage mode when it comes to decluttering on short notice, make the bedrooms a priority over other rooms in the house.

Outdoor accessibility was another big takeaway from the study. When buyers walked into a room that accessed the backyard their eyes immediately went to the outdoor space and the doors that opened out to it. Make sure the windows and doors (if they have glass) are as clean as can be so they show off the view to the outdoors in the best way possible.

But how about those stainless steel appliances? Are they worth it in the end? This study wasn’t designed to measure whether people’s eyes looked at stainless steel more than other types of finishes, but I’ll pass on the main reason why they have become so much of a trend: They can make a small kitchen look much bigger. The reflective surface acts the same way a mirror does by bouncing light around the room and giving the impression of spaciousness. To continue with the mirror example, a designer once told me hanging a mirror is almost as good as adding a window to a room. Stainless steel can have the same impact within a kitchen so it is still worth keeping it in mind if you are going to buy a new appliances.

~ Amy Dobson, Forbes

Home Improvement Trends for 2017

The housing industry is clearly on its most solid footing in years and Americans are projected to spend a near-record $317 billion on home improvement this year

That translated into plenty of energy and excitement at this year’s Design & Construction Week, in Orlando, Fla. A team of Consumer Reports home editors and market analysts joined more than 80,000 design and construction professionals at the Orange County Convention Center, where about 1,500 manufacturers and suppliers unveiled their latest appliances, kitchen and bath fixtures, building materials, and more. A trade show of this size and scale almost defies trendspotting, but patterns did emerge as we traversed the 569,000 square feet of floor space. Here are seven developments we expect to see more of in 2017. We included pricing and availability information, where we could.

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Indoor Gardening Goes High-Tech—and High-End

Houzz, the home design website, released a survey at the show that found a third of homeowners report leading a healthier lifestyle after a kitchen renovation, from eating more fruits and vegetables to preparing more meals at home.

That’s creating a market for products that help homeowners grow fresh produce in the kitchen. Exhibit A: the Urban Cultivator (pictured), a climate-controlled, irrigated indoor garden that’s about the size of an undercabinet wine chiller. Bobby Berk, a designer based in Los Angeles who took home the NAHB’s 2017 Gold Award for Best Interior Design, said he has been installing the Urban Cultivator on more and more projects, especially in extreme climates like Las Vegas, where it’s tough to garden outdoors.

“It definitely caters to health enthusiasts, but also my clients who are into tech stuff,” he said, adding that he’s also put them in garage studios and wet bars (think mint juleps and Thai basil mojitos).

The Urban Cultivator includes all of the equipment needed for hydroponic growing; you just need water and electrical lines. At $2,500 the unit isn’t cheap, but given the cost of many artisanal greens, from sorrel to sunflower, you could make it back … eventually.

At the recent Consumer Electronics Show, we saw more evidence of the indoor gardening trend in Whirlpool’s Zera Food Recycler, an indoor recycler that is said to use a combination of oxygen, moisture, heat, and mixing to speed up the decomposition process, converting a week’s worth of food waste into ready-to-use homemade fertilizer within 24 hours. The Zera system is expected to be available in September 2017 through Indiegogo. You can pre-order it through Indiegogo at a promotional price of $999, down from the $1,199 manufacturer’s suggested retail price.

For a look at more of these trends, click here: Home Improvement Trends