Last night as I was helping my husband design a new home for a property he recently purchased, I found that many of my suggestions came from hearing comments from countless home buyers as they have walked through my open houses. There is a clear pattern of what today’s buyers want—especially young buyers–and knowing these trends will equip the home owner in knowing which improvements will increase your home value. First, folks want a separate laundry room with space for laundry baskets and folding clothes, and if a couple is going to shell out their life savings on a dream home they want a walk-in closet in the master suit. New kitchen appliances are a definite draw for home buyers, as well as energy-efficient air-conditioning and heating units. Be careful if you are considering installing “smart home” technology since technologies evolve quickly, but thermostats and heating/cooling controlled by a smartphone or computer are very popular and relatively inexpensive. Keyless entry is another attractive home feature for tech savvy home buyers. Since more workers are telecommuting, a designated home office is becoming a “must have,” and it qualifies for a tax break! Finally, the home feature that is invariably a positive return on investment is a beautiful low-maintenance deck or patio with room for leisure seating and a barbecue, along with climate-appropriate landscaping. In sunny Southern California, this outdoor living space is virtually free additional square footage! Why wait to make home improvements until ready to sell? These relatively low-cost suggestions are worth doing sooner than later so you can enjoy the benefits as well as a good return on your investment.