You don’t need to look any further than the 2008 financial crisis to prove that real estate helps to drive the economy. But where is the market headed next? From fluctuating buyer demand to rising housing costs, things are always changing in the housing market, making it all the more important to educate yourself or to work with someone in the industry before buying or selling a home.

We asked some top real estate experts, Anita Clark, Teresa Cowart, Maggie DeGennaro, Debbie Drummond, Kyle Hiscock, Nigel Nethersole, and HomeZada about emerging housing trends, what buyers are looking for in a home, and to name their best real estate advice.

What is Your Best Real Estate Advice?

Get a realtor:

Teresa Cowart: “Make sure that it’s someone you like and trust and most of all feel comfortable speaking frankly with throughout your journey.”

Nigel Nethersole: “[Y]our Realtor should assist you in making or solidifying a feasible list of what you are looking for from size to location to amenities and more. Realtors also have the background knowledge and experience to think outside the box, if needed, to find a property that will meet your needs and wants.”

Ensure your finances are in good shape:

HomeZada: “[B]efore you start looking at homes, determine what home value you can qualify for, potentially speak to a mortgage company to determine if you can get pre-approved for a mortgage or what you need to do to get approved for a mortgage.”

Maggie DeGennaro: “Make sure you listen to your Real Estate professional with regards to not changing anything on your credit report that would change your chances to get a mortgage.  Many people decide to change jobs or make a large purchase during the process. That decision will not go well with the lender/underwriter.”

Do your research:

Kyle Hiscock: “One huge mistake that I see people make when beginning the home buying or home selling process is that they don’t have a clue where to begin. With the internet and all of the great information available, it’s pretty easy to find answers to questions that may arise before, during, and after a real estate transaction.”

HomeZada: “Learn which neighborhoods you would like to live in and review recently sold houses in the area to determine if these homes are in your financial plan. Also review alternative neighborhoods as back up plans to your primary or first desired neighborhoods.”

Buy within your means and know when to sell:

Anita Clark: “So often consumers get themselves into trouble by purchasing at the very top of their price point. While they may end up with a lovely home, many times they end up miserable because they have little to no flexibility because too much of their income is tied up in their house payment.”

HomeZada: “[U]nderstand what the cost to manage and maintain your potential new home would be so that you can properly allocate your budget to include ongoing home management dollars.”

Debbie Drummond: “Buy within a budget that allows you to hold onto the home during a financial challenge. Be prepared to convert the home into a rental property if necessary. If the home’s value dips, don’t panic. Hold onto it long enough and it will recover. Then you can choose to sell it when you will make a profit.”

Maintain your property:

Anita Clark: “Homeowners must keep their house maintained. Not only does it help keep everything working as designed but it means there is less potential work to be done when you are preparing to put the home on the market. Keeping things working can also mean a higher sales price as well. The last thing sellers should want is for buyers to have negotiating power because the home is in bad shape.”

What are People Looking for in Homes Right Now?

Updated and modern:

Kyle Hiscock: “Some of the most popular features that buyers are looking for include open concept floorplans, updated kitchens and baths, and also properties that are move in condition.  Fewer buyers today are looking to purchase a home that is in need of major (or minor) construction and improvements.

Maggie DeGennaro: “Kitchens large ones are still high on the wish list as formal dining rooms are not as popular anymore. Outdoor patios score very high.  People love outdoor fireplaces or fire pits.”

Debbie Drummond: “Las Vegas buyers like homes that have been updated. Think granite, quartz and other solid counter tops. Nice backsplashes in the kitchen. Stainless and the new black stainless appliances. Updated bathrooms with quartz or granite counters and contemporary fixtures.”

Environmentally friendly:

HomeZada: “Many…individuals or families are looking for energy efficient homes to manage their expenses more effectively and provide a greener way to run a home.”

Functional design:

Nigel Nethersole: “Cities have been focusing on and investing in their densest zones, therefore creating a trend of people desiring to live closer to the core…However, living closer to the core often may mean compromising on a smaller place. This is where the trend of forward-thinking designs with built in functionality is becoming more and more important. Bigger doesn’t always mean better when it comes to a home.”

What are Some Trends in the Real Estate Industry?

Wages are failing to keep up with rising rental costs and home prices:

Kyle Hiscock: “Many buyers are asking themselves whether they want to continue renting or buy a home. Due to the increasing cost of renting, I’m seeing many of these people who are on the fence starting to jump the fence to the buying side. Buyers are getting sick of paying the high rent costs and are electing to invest in buying a home.”

HomeZada: “The higher the prices go, the less likely new buyers will be able to afford the new homes. A leveling off of prices in specific markets will be a good thing for the entire housing market in the long term to give the opportunity for buyers to invest in homes.”

Homeownership is less accessible than it once was, so buyers are looking for value:

Teresa Cowart: “The average buyer is more savvy than they were five or even one year ago. They understand the market can change, and has in the past, and they research a lot more now before they are ready to purchase.”

Nigel Nethersole: “The concept of good value for a reasonable price has always been around but is really in the forefront these days in the setting of the uncertain economy and recent recession…Finding a home that will suit them/their family’s needs for a longer period of time is the goal for a lot of people.”

From Beaming Buyers to Satisfied Sellers

There’s a lot to think about when buying or selling a home. How do you determine an asking price? Should you host an open house? What neighborhoods should you consider? Do you want a property that’s move-in ready? To get the answers to your questions, our best advice is to connect with an experienced real estate agent who can help you navigate the process of buying or selling a home.

Thank you to all the real estate experts who contributed to this post. Your insights are greatly appreciated!

What are the latest trends you’ve noticed in the real estate market?

Posted by Jessica Kalmar

Jessica is a reader, writer, and outdoors enthusiast.