The trend in new homes for 2012 is based off the idea that the home NEEDS to provide the owners “flexibility”.  The trend revolves around the prerequisite that rooms must serve many purposes AND homes should be able to accommodate either older children who are moving back home (I know, ugh!) or aging parents / baby boomers.  Broken out, the trend looks like this:

Need for Accessibility:  The most recent survey done American Institute of Architects identified that baby boomers are preparing for their later years and are settling in home that have accessibility for them as they become elderly.  Features like single-story home, grab bars in the bathrooms, fewer stairs and doorways to accommodate wheelchairs are just a few things that baby boomers have on their must-have lists.

Larger Garage Space:  You may not consider yourself a pack-rat but even the most minimalist of home owners find themselves with a bicycle for every family member, children’s toys for every stage of their growth, golf carts, workbench for tools and lots of storage.  After you throw in a lawnmower and a wheel barrel, you probably have to park your car outside.   As well, with almost each household owning at least one SUV, garage space is a requirement not a luxury anymore.    

Home Central:  Long gone are the desire for huge home offices with mahogany bookshelves and rolling ladder.  With the popularity of laptops and iPads, the desire for smaller more centralized “nooks” that include a built in desk and printer is all that is needed now.  These nooks are typically being built next to the kitchen which tends to be home-central anyway. 

Homes with Room for All:  the Census Bureau says that almost 1/3 of American adults are now living in the same household with another generation of their family.  To accommodate more than one generation and not be stepping over each other the growing need is independence!  Think “small apartment” that has its own bed and bathroom, kitchenette, and some storage space.  Voila!! 

Green:  No surprise here but energy efficient homes are fast becoming the only way to create all the energy your home requires and save money too.  Energy efficient homes are becoming top items on buyers “must have” lists these days as well.  Simple updates like CFL bulbs, energy star appliances and windows that don’t leak air can be huge selling points. 

Flow of the home:  We live differently than our parents did and our homes that reflect this change will win out.  Examples like laundry room with direct access to the master suite; pantries located just off the kitchen that can accommodate bulk items and drop zones between the garage and the kitchen where you can drop your cell phones, purse, keys and mail are key to maintaining the true flow of a modern day home. 

Open floor plan:  This is not one of the newest trends but continues to be one of the first thing buyers and builders ask for as well as being one of the major reasons why people do not consider buying a home.    

The good news for sellers in this Lake Norman market is that many of the homes are fairly new and have many of these flexibility-features already.  This is a great selling point and should be used to your advantage as you market your home.