What Makes Buyers Fall in Love with a Home?

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (STL.News) – What makes someone fall in love with a home? Across the U.S., people swoon over fabulous pools, stunning water views and ever-sexy storage space, but a new analysis released today by realtor.com® reveals what really makes home shoppers’ hearts skip a beat. Realtor.com® analyzed keyword home search data in each U.S. state to determine regional must-have features when searching for a home.

According to the data, Mainers want to go “upta camp,” a local term used for a cabin or cottage. Oklahomans are looking for storm shelters, and California loves solar power. In Hawaii, where real estate prices are sky-high and leaseholds are part of the for-sale market, home shoppers are searching for “fee simple” homes to ensure they own the land and the building in their little piece of paradise. Additionally, D.C. residents want to be near the Metro, the city’s local public transportation system, Pennsylvanians want parking; and in New York, where outdoor space can be hard to come by, residents would love to have a balcony.

“While some of the country’s most-loved home features, such as accessory dwelling units or lakefront properties, will likely fetch a premium on the open market, others are more matters of the heart,” said George Ratiu, senior economist, realtor.com®. “Maybe you grew up in a certain style of home or have always dreamed of having a big yard — everyone’s vision of home is unique and being able to search for what makes a house perfect for you can help you find true love in a new home.”

If the shed’s a-rockin’

Topping the list of most-loved features are the makings for man-caves, she-sheds, workshops and granny pods. Popular search terms in this category include in-law apartment, barn, ADU, casita and RV parking. Residents in 13 states, including Arizona, Idaho, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington, all want alternative living spaces. Whether it’s because they love being in close proximity to their relatives or because they love the extra rental income, separate spaces are a top must-have item.

Don’t come a-knockin’

Unsurprisingly, people in many states love their privacy — acreage, fenced yard, room for horses and a country setting all make the top searched feature list. Home shoppers in six states — Alaska, Illinois, Iowa, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming — all want room to roam and some real separation from the neighbors.

Take my breath away

With a large number of baby boomers reaching retirement age, America has fallen out of love with having to climb stairs. Residents in nine states — Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island and Virginia — don’t want anything to do with multi-level homes. Top searches in these states include first-floor master, ranch, rambler and single-level.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

For some, the old adage rings true that real estate is all about location, location, location. In Arkansas, Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, Tennessee and West Virginia, having a heavenly location with beautiful views topped the must-have list. Home buyers in these states are searching for a lake view, canal, dock, lakeshore and river access as their favorite features. For others, it’s all about looks. For example, in states like Connecticut and New Hampshire that have a lot of older homes, people are looking for contemporary style, while South Carolinians love traditional brick facades and Texans prefer a modern aesthetic.

Most Searched Home Features

Alabama – Gas stove

Alaska – Yard

Arizona – Gas stove

Arkansas – Lake view

California – Solar

Colorado – Main floor master

Connecticut – Contemporary

Delaware – First-floor master

District of Columbia – Metro (transportation)

Florida – Canal

Georgia – First floor master

Hawaii – Fee simple

Idaho – RV

Illinois – Fenced yard

Indiana – Pole barn

Iowa – Acreage

Kansas – Reverse (water filtration system)

Kentucky – First-floor master

Louisiana – Mother-in-law

Maine – Camp

Maryland – Rancher

Massachusetts – Mother-In-law

Michigan – Pole barn

Minnesota – Lakeshore

Mississippi – Mother-in-law

Missouri – Dock

Montana – ADU (accessory dwelling unit)

Nebraska – Villa

Nevada – Casita

New Hampshire – Contemporary

New Jersey – Mother-in-law

New Mexico – Casita

New York – Balcony

North Carolina – Brick

North Dakota – Rambler

Ohio – First-floor master

Oklahoma – Storm shelter

Oregon – ADU (accessory dwelling unit)

Pennsylvania – Parking

Rhode Island – 1-level

South Carolina – Brick

South Dakota – Acreage

Tennessee – Creek

Texas – Modern

Utah – Mother-in-law

Vermont – Acreage

Virginia – First-floor master

Washington – ADU (accessory dwelling unit)

West Virginia – River access

Wisconsin – Country

Wyoming – Horses


The top features were derived from realtor.com® home keyword search data between April 2019 and December 2019, generating a list of twenty features per state. The most searched for term from each state was selected, omitting the responses that appeared consistently across states.

About realtor.com®

Realtor.com® makes buying, selling and living in homes easier and more rewarding for everyone. Realtor.com® pioneered the world of digital real estate 20 years ago, and today through its website and mobile apps is a trusted source for the information, tools and professional expertise that help people move confidently through every step of their home journey. Using proprietary data science and machine learning technology, realtor.com® pairs buyers and sellers with local agents in their market, helping take the guesswork out of buying and selling a home. For professionals, realtor.com® is a trusted provider of consumer connections and branding solutions that help them succeed in today’s on-demand world. Realtor.com® is operated by News Corp [Nasdaq: NWS, NWSA] [ASX: NWS, NWSLV] subsidiary Move, Inc. under a perpetual license from the National Association of REALTORS®. For more information, visit realtor.com®.