Austin TX Real Estate - Hill Country Austin Lakeway Homes for Sale: NAR's Profile of a Buyer's Home Feature Wants and Gotta Haves

NAR's Profile of a Buyer's Home Feature Wants and Gotta Haves

The National Association of Realtors 2013 Profile of Buyer's Home Feature Preferences was an interesting one this year.They surveyed people who bought houses from 2010-2012, but I wish I could get a breakdown of where these buyers lived because some of the responses are mind-boggling.

For example, only 65% of buyers cared if the house had Central Air Conditioning. In Texas, that's a must-have! I understand other areas don't get as hot, but I've been watching the news and have seen heatwaves hitting all those Northern areas. How could you continue to live without Central air at those times?

waterfront property austin tx homes for saleOnly 57% of these same buyers bought a house with a Fireplace. Recently, builders in my area have started making the Fireplace an "option" instead of a standard. Many people feel a living room looks odd without that focal point. I think it gives a room more space to arrange your furniture the way you want. While only 65% of buyers wanted central air, it's because those colder places don't need it, but wouldn't you think they would need a fireplace to help keep them warm in the Winter?

I wonder who many people bought a house with no central air AND no fireplace...

We don't have basements in Texas (well, there are a handful throughout because of topography reasons, but less than 1% of houses), it's interesting to see that 41% of buyers did buy a house with a basement. Again, it makes me wonder where these people are who were surveyed and did they just not get enough people from the South to turn theirs in...

But, here's the kicker... The item that had "the highest dollar value buyers were willing to pay more for was having a waterfront property." Makes sense. Waterfront can be a lifestyle people are willing to pay for.  How much are they willing to pay? According to this survey, only 32% of buyers would be willing to pay more for the Waterfront, and that amount was an average of $5420.  Seriously??!!

$5420 doesn't get you a boat slip on any waterfront property in my area. Waterfront properties go into the Multi-Million range. If you took a house on Lake Austin and put it in the middle of the City of Austin, it would lose more than half its value, my estimate. Waterfront properties are very valuable in Austin. My in-laws live on 2 acres off Lake Travis. Their property, as it currently stands, would probably sell for around $650,000. If you took their house and put it in the city, it wouldn't sell for more than $200-300k depending on the neighborhood it was put in. If it was in one of the suburbs, the price would probably be UNDER $200k.

In the above example, I stated "as it currently stands" because right now their cove is dry from the Central Texas drought. When the cove fills back up, if we could get some rain, it would probably sell for around $1M as it's a double lot at 2 acres. Yes, that's how valuable waterfront is around here.

Here's the link to more stats from NAR's Buyer Profile. Image courtesy of NAR and


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Donna Harris, REALTOR®
RE/MAX Austin Skyline

Austin TX Real Estate

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Copyright© 2013 By Donna Harris, All Rights Reserved. You may re-blog with links back to this post.
* NAR's Profile of a Buyer's Home Feature Wants and Gotta Haves
* was first published on

Comment balloon 25 commentsDonna Harris • March 16 2013 07:49PM


The wants and gotta have vary for market area I know in our market area an air conditioner would be a must have feature. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Pat Champion, Call the "CHAMPION" for all your real estate needs (Coldwell Banker Camelot Realty) over 7 years ago

Everyone around here wants a basement, I'd say at least 90% (that's a guess from my experience) because of tornado's. Yikes!!

Posted by Joel Weihe, Helping you to use your VA home loan benefits (Realty World Alliance) over 7 years ago

Those national profiles are such a broad brush Donna and i agree that differential, non waterfront, and waterfront is FAR greater than $5,420.

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) over 7 years ago


Buyers are willing to pay far more then $5420 a waterfront lot in South Florida.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig


Posted by Lou Ludwig, Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC (Ludwig & Associates) over 7 years ago

Donna -- these surveys are interesting, but the are NOT local.  Different features are valued in one part of the country vs. another.  When I lived in California, folks wanted a swimming pool.  Here in New Hampshire a swimming pool is often not wanted and even appraisers will give it very little value.  Most folks want some alternative heat source in New Hampshire due to power outages... eg. a fire place, or a wood or pellet stove.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 7 years ago

An ocean front home draws hundreds of thousands more.  Not sure who was polled.

Posted by Tim Lorenz, 949 874-2247 (TIM LORENZ - Elite Home Sales Team) over 7 years ago

Donna, wow.  That oceanfront premium sounds really, really low!  Unless you are talking about something on a six month flood plain.  And here, almost all houses have basements

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 7 years ago

This, like so much of the NAR pieces is clearly a fig newton of someone's imagination.  It would appear that the writer is paid by the word with a minimum production requirement each month and he simply ran out of news.

These statistics can only have been compiled by someone with absolutely no knowledge of the housing industry.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 7 years ago

We are currently in the process of a recovery from Sandy and folks are running as fast as they can from these waterfront properties...

So much for NAR...

Happy Day..

Posted by Beth and Richard Witt, Long Island Cash Home Buyer 516-330-6940 (Long Island Cash Home Buyer) over 7 years ago

Only 65% wanted central air?  I would think that number was closer to 100%.  Even here in Indiana we have hot and humid summers and need central air.  Interesting.  

Posted by Amanda Christiansen, Christiansen Group Realty (Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843) over 7 years ago

That 65% wanting A/C sounds very low. That's a "MUST-HAVE"!

Posted by Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400, Long Island Home and Condo Specialists (The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803) over 7 years ago

In my market central air is not a big deal.  We don't have many days over 90.  It's nice to have but not a neccessity.  It does bring more money.  However, basements are a big deal.  Almost every house has a basement in this market.  Not having one is detrimental to your price. 

Posted by Marc McMaster, Putting my clients before myself (RE/MAX Centre Realty) over 7 years ago

Profiling a typical buyer on the national stage is tough. These sort of details tend to be influenced by regional conditions and sociological trends.

Posted by Vanessa Saunders, From Manhattan to the Catskills of New York (Global Property Systems Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Donna, I had to laugh when I read the was  a joke...Noone cares about updated kitchens (just appliances!) and bathrooms??where did they find these respondents?!  Not happening in my area..

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in Southern RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Donna, interesting statistics put out by the NAR. The report doesn't apprear to be very realistic. NAR of all people should know real estate is local and should have at least reported these stats by region.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 7 years ago

I think NAR's statistics give us a great opportunity to talk about how their numbers translate in our own markets.

Posted by Charita Cadenhead, Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama) (eXp Realty) over 7 years ago

I started to read the stats but they were so far off the mark for Florida, that I stopped.  Besides those that report on real estate have never been in the trenches.

Eve in Orlando

Posted by Eve Alexander, Exclusively Representing ONLY Orlando Home Buyers (Buyers Broker of Florida ) over 7 years ago

Real Estate is local.  These types of statistics aren't worth much because it can vary GREATLY by state.  I'd bet the percentage of South Florida buyers that would care if their house had central air is at least 90-95% while the other 5-10% would settle for window/wall A/C units.  And as far as what a buyer here would be willing to pay for waterfront... well, that's all relevant, as in... what do they (the survey creators) consider waterfront?  Here, there are several types of waterfront -- pond, lake, canal, intracoastal, oceanfront, etc.  Each type comes with a different cost factor.

Posted by S. Leanne Paynter ☼ Broward County, FL, Davie, Plantation, Cooper City & Weston Specialist (United Realty Group, Inc.) over 7 years ago

NAR must not have polled anyone in Inland Empire California. We don't have basements (earthquakes). No human can live without air conditioning, and to live by the ocean costs hundreds of thousands more which is why there is a population of folks who live inland and not at the beach. California also has strict new construction regs and codes near the ocean so it's almost impossible to build new homes there. Honestly, ...

Posted by Pamela Seley, Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA (West Coast Realty Division) over 7 years ago

You're right.  These stats don't apply to any single market.  Certainly not yours and not mine.  Even with a breakdown by state or region, they wouldn't mean a lot because all real estate is local - in fact, hyper-local!

Posted by Margaret Woda, Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.) over 7 years ago

Except for the one comment about people running from Waterfront in the Sandy area, it seems everyone else also thinks Waterfront is more expensive than NAR's number, and we all represent different areas in the country, which the survey should have also represented. Very odd...

And yes, real estate is very hyper local, like Lake Travis is not as expensive to live on as Lake Austin and they're right acorss the street from each other, both technically the Lower Colorado River. It's about what they have to offer and what lifestyle you want.

I know National surveys are always going to be "off", but they should represent an "average" and they usually don't, which is strange. With enough people responding to surveys, averages or medians should represent something... I would think?

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - over 7 years ago

This sort of generalization is useless.  People in cooler climates won't care about AC but they will want to know about heating.  Your example of waterfront property would make most people laugh in California.  A home with ocean views in most places might run under a million.  But oceanfront (or ON the beach) easily runs millions - way beyond the $5400 they claim. 

Posted by Bryan Robertson over 7 years ago

Enjoyable post... a few years ago we had a client willing to pay 10M for a ocean waterfront...only problem was the cheapest think out there started at 12M   hmmm   $5,475  Im in ....LOL  Jon


Posted by Jonathan Lerner, Licensed RE Broker (Five Corners Properties) over 7 years ago

Donna - I'm with you on this, especially the waterfront.  People around here would start a riot if there was only a $5000+ difference for waterfront at the beach.

Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) over 7 years ago

As a realtor that sells a lot of waterfront properties, I am also amazed at the info you quoted!

Although I do realize that "waterfront" property at the lake is certainly priced differently beach front property.

Posted by Kim Logan, Kim Logan - Keller Williams Lake Oconee Realty (KELLER WILLIAMS LAKE OCONEE) over 7 years ago