Before writing this article I asked my wife what would she add to my list of features that help make living in a new home today, and she requested a built-in cleaning service, a stay in the home chef, and a few other items that our builders can’t really afford to do. Here is a list of 7 features that they ARE including often in our new homes in our two communities- Founders Pointe and The Riverfront at Harbour View, and also in many new home communities across Hampton Roads.

  1. Hardwood flooring– Walk into any model in most new home communities, and the first thing you’ll notice is the flooring. Wood flooring is desired by 87% of today’s buyers, making it one of the most requested features in a new home. Today’s factory finished, engineered wood floors are easier to clean, durable, and long-lasting. Wood floors also help to accent the home furnishings and also a sign of quality to prospective homebuyers. Darker wood floors (even the distressed look is popular and contrast the white cabinetry nicely.

  2. Storage space- Builders are also paying extra attention to more built-in storage space for today’s homebuyers. Notice the return of the mud room, laundry room cabinetry, and drop zones near the garage entry. Surveys consistently rank storage as one of the top 5 features buyers want in their home choice. Many new homes also feature walk up attics, or additional conditioned storage space. Built-in shelving and extra cabinets in the garage can make up for the lack of storage inside the home.

  3. Open floor plans are always one of the features mentioned when you ask someone, “Tell me about your dream home”. We often hear, “I’d like lots of windows, a large kitchen and an open floor plan…” Especially where the larger kitchen island open to the great room. Fewer walls between the kitchen, living room, dining room, and other areas mean more connectivity inside the home, making it easy to navigate freely throughout the home and also for entertaining.

    Sasser Kitchen and Sun Room

  4. Modern Kitchens– Homebuyers today continue to make the Kitchen the most important room in the home, and it’s no surprise that builders are making them the “place to be”. The kitchen “islands” are becoming more like “continents” now, and it’s where families and friends want to gather while meals are being prepared. Granite and Quartz counter tops is becoming a standard feature in most new homes, and the size of the islands keep growing. Today in Founders Pointe and in The Riverfront, you can see 8’, 9’ and even 12’ long kitchen islands opening to the great room. Farmhouse sinks are also very popular. Builders are including hidden or pullout storage for utensils, ceramic tile backsplash (subway tile is still in), under-the-counter lighting, walk-in pantries, and energy-efficient appliances. The overall size of the kitchen seems to be growing, thus lessening the need for formal dining. The breakfast rooms and kitchen islands are where most homebuyers want to entertain today.

  5. Flex Rooms- Most home buyers buyers are looking for a full bathroom on the first floor, rather than the typical half-bath. In Founders Pointe and The Riverfront, all two story homes built in the last several years feature a first floor bedroom when the two story has the master on the second level. Many plans feature the flexible use of bedroom for a home office or study, or a downstairs playroom for young children. If the plan offers a separate half bath, it helps make the room makes more suitable for a multi-generational suite.

    You’ll often see one of the second level rooms being used for a game room and media room at the same time, with built-ins shelving, and wall mounted TV’s. Some will have a smaller area for the pocket office, as there’s less need to have a large room for an office. Wireless routers and wireless Bluetooth speaker systems lessen the need for extra media equipment, thus saving space in more modest rooms.

  6. Smart Home Features- Smart home features are also very important to today’s homebuyers. Many builders will offer smart programmable thermostats that can be controlled from a mobile device. Sadler Building Corporation offers this in their new Southern Living model in Founders Pointe. You can also lock and unlock your doors, change the room temperature, and control lighting in some areas. Ring video doorbells are also becoming a requested item, along with Smart heating and cooling systems, command systems like Google Home, smoke detectors, and LED lighting systems- all which can all be controlled via mobile device. Smart home feature appeals to young, tech-savvy buyers, and also with more mature buyers looking to make living a little easier.

  7. Outdoor Living– Covered back porches have also become more of a standard features in our new home plans. We’ll often see buyers request their porch to step down to a patio area with bench seating, with a fire pit or fireplace for outside entertaining. Natural gas piping is often run to an area where gas grills and outdoor kitchens can be added to really make the backyard the place to be and entertain. We see more and more buyers wanting to entertain at their homes (inside and outside), the backyard potential has become a very important aspect in showing and selling homes today.

Covered Back Porch

Mark Edwards is a REALTOR and principal broker with East West Realty, currently developing and marketing two new home communities at Founders Pointe and The Riverfront at Harbour View. East West Partners also developed and marketed the Gatling Pointe waterfront community in Smithfield. Discover more tips on how to make living in a new home easier at