Below is a shapshot of the article and very valid points were made about what Buyers are looking for in houses this year. However, Hawaii has exceptions. To see actual article click here. Otherwise see my comments below:
1) Smarter, less costly automated controls. This refers to having an ipad or system that controls all your devices at home (lighting, sound, tv, etc). This is a trend in the mainland but living in Hawaii will quickly make you think of things differently. With our tropical environment, most gadgets won't last the test of time here. Our homes are often not equipped with fancy shenanigans as this. They sound nice but the maintenance and cost of replacement is so high that its usually not worth it. It seems to be one of those things you can't recoup the cost on as a seller. Buyers like it but won't pay extra for it.
2) Outdoor living rooms and screened porches. I couldn't agree more! Self explanatory.
3) Outdoor kitchens, vegetable gardens and more. Agreed. In Hawaii we have the benefit of being outdoors all year long. You'll find that you can grow whatever you need easily without complicated growing seasons. BBQ'ing is a standard as well so investing in a nice grill is a must!
4) Themed designs. Yes, but to a point. Having an entire house be themed is a plus. It provides continuity and eases the eye. Picking a theme that is neutral is best. Nothing too busy, ethnic or colorful. Although the article says people want European design, I'm not seeing that here. In fact European design is usually frowned upon here unless you're in a hotel. Most people who come here are trying to get away from that.
5) Media Frenzy. again, yes and no for Hawaii. When you are here, you are outside! Not to mention, that a typical sized house in Hawaii is 1500 -2000 sq ft. and is 3 bed/2 bath. The luxury of a room dedicated to media is just not available in most homes. A typical floor plan (and a desirable one) is a large living area where kitchen, dining, and entertainment are all connected. This is a much better family friendly design.
6) New neutrals and color pops. This is always nice to see in homes. Neutral with a pop of color is the way to go when trying to sell a house. Making people feel comfy and not overwhelmed is key. Nothing is more revolting than a home with too much personality especially in paint color. To the buyer It screams "this house has too much work involved to make it right".
7) More double duty furnishings. A nice touch for sure. Couches that double as beds, ottomans that have storage. Put things away, declutter!
8) Lighter looks. YES! Lighten up! incorporate natural light, create built in shelving instead of free standing bulky bookshelves, streamlined furniture not over sized lazy-boys. All good ideas,
9) Green merchandise I love this stuff! I bleed green. Low/No VOC in paint, furniture, countertops and cabinets that use no off-gassing formaldehyde in glue.
10) Energy and water efficiency. Same as above. I eat, live and breathe this stuff. Low flow water fixtures, solar panels, photovoltaic if you can, LED lighting, grey water disbursement, rain catchment, zeroscapes, indigenous plantings, etc. You want to know...ask me, I'm a CGP (Certified Green Professional).
11) Panelized home. Not much of that here. The cost to ship pre-fabricated panels in doesn't give you the savings they advertise. It's a good "green" idea for the mainland but it's not practical when you have to ship 2500 miles. Plus our labor force isn't trained for it. And there is no time savings in having to train people on the job. Not to mention, the mistakes and delays that causes. UGH.
12) Handcrafted elements. Agreed. Unique wood pieces, hand crafted artisanal pieces make for a personal touch.
13) Stylish kitchens and bath. I think this should be #1 on the list honestly! Other than the initial first impression when you walk in the door, the biggest and best bang for your buck is updated kitchens and baths. Hands down. Spend the money.
That wraps up the article, with my comments applied :) In a nutshell, in Hawaii, less is more. If you have questions about real estate on Kauai please contact me. Better yet, do what the picture suggests, and go to the beach! I'll meet you there.