Today’s Homebuyers Like Hardwood Floors

Whether it’s a new house or an old house, people like hardwood floors better than carpet, especially on the main floor.

Looking at the stats for North King County, a home without hardwood floors is about 2X as likely not to sell, especially at a price point of $400,000 or more for the home. About 24% to 26% of homes that “expire”, or homes still on market and not sold, do not have hardwood floors. Compare that to only 14% of SOLD homes without hardwood floors and you see that 86% of recent home buyers chose a home that had hardwood floors.

Wide plank, narrow plank, light oak, dark finish…lots of variances as to preference of TYPE of hardwood floor. But hands down, even if the new buyer refinishes the floors to a different color, they choose homes with hardwood floors that they can refinish over homes that would need hardwood floors installed.

While “What type of carpet to use to sell your home?” has not changed much…the better answer for the main living areas is hardwood…hands down.

The “new” preferred color of hardwood is less red than the once popular Brazilian Cherry, darker than the blonde tones of yesteryear, but not quite as dark as the short lived chocolate brown craze that lasted about a millisecond.

A warm chestnut brown is the color of the day.

It’s great for the floors…but a little dull for the kitchen or bathroom cabinetry. The new warm chestnut brown hardwoods are best used when the kitchen and main floor baths are a light colored ceramic tile or a laminate floor that blends the color.

Armstrong calls the color “gunstock”. It’s darker than light…lighter than dark…and solidly BROWN vs orange or red tones. Much easier to decorate a room without clashing with the tone of the hardwoods when using this color in many and varied rooms in the house. As a matching cabinet color choice though…I don’t think that trend will last. It’s just too darned dull to have as a kitchen cabinet color.

If after reading this you have any questions as to the color I am talking about…just visit any new model homes…it’s all the rage…and they are pretty much ALL using it in their model homes.

(Stats in this post not compiled, verified or published by The Northwest Multiple Listing Service.)

22 thoughts on “Today’s Homebuyers Like Hardwood Floors

  1. The hardwood floors in my house are close to 100 years old. Don’t squeak much either. Houses with carpet probably don’t sell for other reasons too. I find that houses with carpet tend to more often than not lack other updates too.

  2. Russ,

    That is not normally the case here in the Seattle area, Russ. The homes that were built without hardwood floors are often newer than those that were built with hardwood floors. Most all homes built in the 50s and 60s and earlier were built with hardwoods. 70s and 80s it was hit or miss, I’d say 50/50. By 1990 and throughout the 90s, carpet with no hardwoods was more the norm…and that continues to this day, except for thin engineered hardwoods used sparingly at entry ways and choice locations on the main floor.

    It always surprises my clients that there was a time when builders put carpet over hardwoods at time of construction. They always ask “WHY???” haha Just how it was. Carpet was more popular, but good construction involved hardwood under the carpet.

    So a house without hardwoods is often more “up to date” as in built in the 90s, and one with hardwoods is more likely to need updates having been built in the 50s or 60s. A 90s house can still pass as to kitchens and baths without updates. Some 50s and 60s houses were updated…in the early 80s…but those “updates” or even full remodels are now virtually meaningless.

    As soon as you see the almond covered laminate cabinets with the small wood trim on the bottom, you know that “full remodel” was done in 1982ish πŸ™‚ Technically “updated”…but…

    I would say the 90s+ built homes likely have the least amount of hardwood floors at time of construction as a rule.

  3. We put all hardwood floors through out our home when we did a complete remodel 15 years ago. Still going strong. If it were carpet, it would have had to be replaces by now. Hardwood is the best value. As a real estate agent, it is very common for people to request hardwood floors as a desired or required feature. If you are remodeling or building, I suggest budgeting for hardwood. I especially prefer the site laid hardwood to the pre finished wood.

  4. Totally agree as to the “site laid hardwood” vs pre-finished hardwood. I always check the thickness of the wood, though for older homes it’s pretty much a non-issue unless the hardwood installation is more recent.

    Very easy to do, even if the wood is covered with carpet. Just go to the nearest vent (assuming floor vents and forced air heating and/or cooling system). I show all of my clients how to do this for future reference. The vents are almost never “secured” and are just sitting in the hole cut out for them, so it is very easy to see the thickness of the wood in that cut, and if it is a “can only finish 2X” type of product.

    Still better to remove old carpet without replacing it, in most cases, so people can see the condition of the hardwood.

    • I hear you, Jerry. But if that is the “shiny” diamond finish (i.e. “the wet look”)

      …it is not at all popular right now.

      Since this post is about what homebuyers want…that type generally would NOT make the cut.

      Just as the lightest of color finishes is best if you have children and pets…still…irrelevant if most buyers like darker. NONE like the heavy shine finish. The highest gloss would be an engineered product…but those are not my favorite at all due to the limitations of long term and multiple refinishings over the age of the home.

      Same for Stainless Steel Appliances. They are clearly NOT the best choice for easy clean and maintenance…still…they are preferred. How easy they are to care for is not what homebuyers generally go by when choosing a home. After they live in it…yes. But if they don’t want to buy it, that doesn’t really matter.

      • Jerry,

        She went to someone’s house to stage it and the owner…after ruining the floors by cleaning them with vinegar, had poured a gallon of Olive Oil on them. My grandmother used to put Olive Oil on her face while she was cooking. πŸ™‚

        I used to like Mop and Glow for wood floors, but it’s hard to find these days.

  5. I think the major reason for the popularity of hardwood floors are that they are easy to maintain and clean (plus they won’t kill you like asbestos vinyl flooring.) I also think they just plain look nicer than carpets, but then again I’m a sucker for the spartan rustic look.

    • Trends change. There was a time when people liked royal blue “sculptured” carpet better than a plain hardwood floor.

      Different Areas “like” different things. There are places where ceramic tile, travertine and such are held to be of more value than hardwood.

      Part of an agent’s job is to value property based on what adds value to the home…based on what buyer’s are willing to pay for “that”…not based on what an agent may or may not “like”.

      That’s why “stats” are SO important. The truth is in the numbers…not the opinion.

  6. When a client recently had his 50 year-old oak hardwood floors refinished, they looked like new. One contractor who had seen the place before refinishing asked me if the floors had been replaced because they had been totally transformed.

    The trend of using wider planks or irregular widths is popular in the Vienna, Virginia real estate market where I work.

    • I like houses with original wood floors best for that reason, Doug. Some of the newer products don’t look like they will last as long or finish up as well over the life of the home. yes…I am seeing wide plank making a comeback as well. Not seeing “irregular” widths though. I assume you mean different widths in the same room.

  7. I have been getting a lot of good comments on the engineered hardwood floors I have been putting in some rehab projects. can’t beat 4$ per square foot!

  8. Hardwood floors are for sure the way to go for home sellers and buyers. Homeowners prefer hardwood flooring for a good variety of reasons including resale value, they are beautiful when kept up and easier with cats and other pets in the home. Thank you for this info; it is useful. And, yup, Mop and Glow can be difficult to find.

  9. Happy to hear the new trend. Thanks for sharing this to the readers. The information given in this page is really helpful to us. The hardwood floors provides a natural look to the house, because of this reason the popularity of hardwood floor increased day by day. Keep sharing latest trends like this in the upcoming posts.

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