The Homebound Journal
Top 10 Must-Haves When Building a New Home

Top 10 Must-Haves When Building a New Home

5 min

Top 10 Must-Haves When Building a New Home

With the housing market in its current highly-competitive state, and significant lifestyle changes with the work-from-home culture shift, many people are considering building a brand-new home rather than buying an existing (used) one. One of the obvious advantages - in addition to avoiding a bidding war of course - is that it gives homebuyers the opportunity to design a home exactly the way they want it. 

But when you build a new home, there are so many options and features to choose from its hard to know what to prioritize. So, if you’re planning to build a home, which features are must-haves? The most recent National Association of Homebuilders report cited many popular trends that consumers are requesting as a result of the new work-life fusion. We’ve reviewed this report - as well as other sources from top publications such as the American Institute of Architects - and compiled a list of the top ten must-haves when building your dream home. 

Some of the features home buyers are looking for now are quite different from what people were looking for just a few years ago.  The pandemic has changed the way we live and work.  But, it’s also changed what people are looking for in a home.  Today, many of us are working or schooling remotely and need a home that can accommodate our needs.  

In 2022, people are looking for more flexibility, larger living spaces, home offices, and a smarter, more efficient home.  If you’re planning out your home, take a look at our list.  We think you’ll agree, these are great features to include in your perfect home.

#1. A mudroom

A mudroom is a secondary entrance, usually connected to or located near the garage. It’s where you take your boots off, where your dog shakes off before he heads into the house, and a place to store items like shoes and backpacks.  It keeps you from tracking dirt into your home, but it’s also a convenient place to organize the things you need to use every day. 

No matter what floorplan you choose for your home, a mudroom is a total necessity. And even if its on the small side - a landing strip with a spot for keys, bags, and hats or a bench with cubbies to hide away clutter - this thoughtful space will help keep the rest of your house clean and tidy.

#2. Smart home technology

Many home builders anticipate that in the near future every home will be a smart home.  With features like a smart thermostat and smart lighting, you can control your living space like never before. Your lighting, heating, and cooling system can be controlled from one control panel, your phone, or with voice commands. Some smart thermostats can even adjust the climate in your home automatically based on your habits.

Smart home technology is convenient, popular with new homebuyers, and expanding in scope every day. There are now smart appliances to talk to your digital helpers like Siri or Alexa, programmable shades and fans, and monitoring devices for your critical home systems that can detect problems where you might not see them. Everyone’s comfort level with emerging technology is different, but there’s no denying these powerful solutions are something you’ll want to consider for your new home.

#3. Energy efficient windows

Almost every new homebuyer is looking for energy-efficient features. From smart technology to solar panels, homeowners are investing in energy efficiency.  Windows, doors, and skylights let in natural light, reducing the amount of artificial lighting your home needs. They also help keep your home at a consistent temperature. Energy-efficient windows use panes with low-emissivity glass (also known as Low-E glass) to help block out the sun's rays. Fewer sun rays will keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Another way to build energy-efficient windows is placing argon, krypton, or other gases between the panes. These odorless, colorless, non-toxic gases insulate better than regular air. Either way energy-efficient windows can reduce your energy use by 7-15  percent.  When paired with smart lighting and a smart thermostat, you can save even more.

#4. Under-cabinet lighting and outlets

These days extra USB ports and outlets are popping up everywhere. You can find them in your sofas, nightstands, and tables.  So, it’s no surprise that people want extra lighting and outlets in their kitchen. Adding under-cabinet lighting to your kitchen is both practical and beautiful.  Merging under-cabinet lighting with outlets can also create a more sleek backdrop for your backsplash - no having to cut into tile or countertops to place an unsightly outlet. Whether you’re having guests, charging devices, or need some extra light to read a recipe, this is a great feature to have in your kitchen.

#5. Deep kitchen drawers

When it comes to the kitchen, functionality and practicality are in demand. People want a kitchen they can use. They don’t want their kitchen drawers to be the kind their grandmother had, where every time you slide the door open a kitchen utensil gets stuck, or the corner lazy Susan gets stuck and you have to practically climb inside to fix it. Homeowners want less cabinet doors and more large, deep kitchen drawers where they can conveniently pull out pots, pans, or kitchen items. Drawers are a way to increase organization with a knife block or a spice rack or easy pot lid sorting. Thoughtful upgrades like in-demand kitchen cabinet styles can make home life much more enjoyable.

#6. Built-in speakers

Along with smart technology and more outlets in the home, people love built-in speakers. These speakers can be built into the ceilings or walls.  If you’ve added other smart integrations to your home, they can even be integrated. In-wall speakers don’t just save space and add style to your home, but they provide better quality sound. Because the sound isn’t reflecting from the floor like an ordinary speaker, the sound quality is much clearer. Built-in sound systems are no longer the realm of the high-end audiophile - if you are a music lover, this is a feature you have to have!

#7-8. A flexible room for a home office or a fitness room

When it comes to new home features, each generation has its own preferences, but almost all homebuyers are looking for flexibility in their new home.  They want a flexible space that can be used for a home office, a fitness room, or a study.  While boomers aren’t all that interested in a fitness room, 60 percent of millennials and GenXers say they want an exercise room in their house. The shakeups of the early 2020’s have affected how we live at home the most in the use of these ‘bonus’ rooms. The need to have space to move into, to change gears, to be away from screens or do an activity with or without children while public spaces are in limbo has put a premium on flexibility in our homes.

"Post pandemic lifestyle norms have dramatically affected the way people are designing & living within their homes.  Specifically, we have seen a dramatic increase in demand for designated spaces within the home built for use as an office or gym .  As we design, we have worked to build these spaces with key items like natural light, sound proofing, privacy & and smart home-features incorporated."

- Taylor Gulbins, Program manager, Architecture and Design at Homebound

#9. Outdoor living space

When building a home, people don’t just want the inside to look great. They want the outside to look great, too. That’s why outdoor living spaces such as decks and patios are so important to homebuyers. While these spaces are technically outside, they are still part of building a home.  People want their personal outdoor space to have great lighting, flow, and to include a place to relax and convene, such as a deck or patio with an outdoor kitchen, grill or covered area.

#10. Laundry room

The top feature that almost every homebuyer wants is a laundry room. In a report by the National Association of Home Builders, this was the most wanted feature for almost everyone they surveyed. While nobody really loves doing laundry, everyone seems to want a room specifically for handling the laundry. Out of over 200 different potential features that homebuyers could select from, a laundry room came top on the list for nearly every buyer in 2019 and 2021.


These top ten must-haves to consider when building a new home are ideas to keep in mind when looking for your perfect home. You might not want everything on this list, but these features show a trend in the way we live our lives and how importantly people view their personal spaces. Decide what’s most important to you! You can also check out our available homes to see what we’ve incorporated into Homebound homes and find your own.