Today’s buyers want green features, open floor plans and big master suites.
by Jane Bokun
You might think today’s executives are only looking for mega-mansions in hyper-exclusive communities, and in some cases, you would be right.
But, not in the case of Northwest Indiana, according to Gary Green, owner of Wagner Homes. Green says executives are looking for such things as green living, large master suites and open-style kitchens. David Gring, director of sales for Steiner Homes Ltd. in Valparaiso, adds that most executives are looking for all that plus two-story homes.
“The interesting thing is that many people are no longer looking for large Jacuzzi tubs,” Gring says. Surprisingly, he says, executives are looking for sleek new showers and taking out their tubs. “Some of the new showers are luxurious, with duel shower heads and custom seats.”
Gring says people relocating to Northwest Indiana are doing so because of the great schools and the close proximity to downtown Chicago. Beachfront properties are always a winner for executives, he says. One new property attracting executives of all ranges is Marina Shores in Portage/Ogden Dunes. Wish list items here include boat slips and great access to Lake Michigan for those who may work in Chicago.
Most important, buyers are looking for green homes. Homebuyers increasingly prefer open floor plans with efficient use of space rather than small, compartmentalized rooms connected by hallways. Alongside this trend, appliances are becoming more streamlined, and often smaller.
Items such as smart thermostats and home security services can be controlled with smartphones to help homeowners reduce energy bills or increase security. Coming soon are appliances and ovens that owners can control with a smartphone.
Consensus among real estate agents is that executive buyers are looking for three-car garages, four-bedroom homes, open plans with big kitchens and, best of all, nice storage space. In addition, executives are looking for a home lot that offers privacy and such accoutrements as secluded golf courses.
Upscale executive-style communities are sprouting up with amenities such as Tuscan-style kitchens,” Green says, along with larger master suites.
Sandy Hernandez, a Realtor for McColly Realtors in Schererville, has noticed that her clients are looking for accessible, customized master suites. There also is a trend in guest suites. Homebuilders have accommodated the trend by adding guest suites to new homes. They add space not only for guests, but for adults who are taking care of aging family members.
Rachel Randall, Phillippe Builders’ director of sales and marketing, says executives’ needs depends on the area where they are living. “Many of our clients have school-age kids so they’re looking for great schools, and we have them in this area,” Randall says.
Energy-saving features are on point for executives. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average U.S. household uses about 32 kilowatt hours of electricity and 400 gallons of water a day. Now, many executives are choosing to save on power and water to conserve natural resources.
Options include installing solar hot water heaters. A solar hot water heater uses the sun’s heat and energy to heat a home’s water either directly or by collecting energy with solar panels. The heated water stays in an insulated tank–much like a conventional water heater–until it’s time to use it. While they cost more to install than traditional water heaters, these water heaters can save 50 to 80 percent on water heating bills.
Aside from a commitment to the environment, Phillippe clients have a passion for such items as gourmet kitchens with butcher blocks. Still others are empty-nesters and are looking to buy luxury townhomes, she says.
Randall says she finds that hardwood floors, fireplaces and vaulted ceilings are still the rage. Open concept layouts with islands are popular. Their homes are in smaller spaces with 9-foot ceilings, recessed lighting and other amenities. “All our homes are popular with executives at any stage of life.”