Reno or new build clients often have similar 'wants'

When a client comes to a home builder, it is usually because they have a housing need or want that is not fulfilled by what is available in houses for sale.

As builders, renovators and designers, we listen to every requirement and dream they want incorporated into their new space. Those “wants,” we find, are items we have seen over and over.

According to Avid Ratings research, here are the top 10 items homeowners feel are the most important in their new spaces:

1. Walk-in closets: They’re not just for master bedrooms. We find people value storage spaces more and more. Front hall and mudroom closets and pantries in their kitchen are among the highest priorities.

2. High-efficiency windows: Today’s windows have increased insulation, protect items inside your home from fading and can soften noise from the outside.

3. Overall energy efficiency: Many items can help decrease energy and resources use in a home. LED light bulbs, low-flow toilets and showerheads, tankless water heaters and programmable thermostats are just a few.

4. Kitchen island: It provides storage, appliance integration, prep space, even a homework station. Start with what you want your island to do for your family. Most have a dual use, with one side for prep and cooking and the other for seating. Working with a good cabinet designer is a huge benefit. They will look at your space allowances and maximize your island’s capabilities.

5. Energy-efficient appliances: New appliances allow you to save money by using less electricity. Programmable dishwashers allow cycles to run during off-peak hours during the night. These benefits cut down the use of fossil fuels and help control pollution levels.

6. Linen closets: When you think of all the towels, sheets, comforters, extra pillows and blankets you have, the space they require can add up quickly. With space efficiencies becoming more common in home plans, this is one area that should not be overlooked.

7. Open concept kitchens: Gone are the days of a kitchen separated from the living space. People are entertaining more and want to make their home flow easily from one space to another. Open concept also works well as square footage of homes shifts downward to reduce costs. Parties often end up in the kitchen, and having light and views extend from one space to another allows cohesion between spaces.

8. Green certification: Ontario has different certifications to elevate your home’s energy efficiency. These programs allow for healthier indoor living and lower energy consumption.

9. Large windows: Customers want larger windows to bring the outdoors inside while also allowing more fresh air and air circulation inside. Light also combats the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.

10. HRV-ERV air exchange: A heat recovery ventilator is used to exchange the air within your home. New homes are built fairly airtight these days, and in order to keep the indoor air quality at its best, an HRV is used to exchange stale air inside your home with filtered fresh air from outside, all while maintaining efficiency in air conditioning or heating that air with an energy recovery ventilator (ERV).

Sue Wastell is the president of the London Home Builders' Association and Owner of Wastell Homes in London.     

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