There’s one feature that nearly always bubbles to the top when it comes to what fathers want in a home: a fabulous outside! This is according to watercooler conversations with members of the Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association – folks who spend much of their day touring homes with prospective homebuyers and helping them narrow down their lists of wants and must-haves.
In my experience, when couples look at a house, dads head straight to the backyard, particularly if there is any kind of water or a pool. Men also focus on the potential of the garage, which comes in at a close second.
It’s not at all uncommon for garages to be carefully evaluated for their ability to store a specific length of boat, jet skis or other toys, upright tool chests and a workbench, or that mountain of kids’ sports stuff.
Agents are seeing an increased interest in kitchens (both indoor and outdoor) as the number of male celebrity chefs grow. Those same dads who hotfoot it to the yard are also scoping out shaded space for their BBQ grills or a soon-to-be brick pizza oven.
Other common home features desired by dads include a split floorplan, tech-ready man space, and a private office. Dads also like porch cabinetry to hold a small refrigerator and a tucked-away storage shed for those giant pool inflatables.
Then there’s that uncommon request. Our agents have been asked to search for homes with a separate snack kitchen, cigar lounge, and even a quiet napping room just for dad. We’ve also seen an uptick in recent years of requests to consider space for a home brewery.
Proximity to their favorite activities – such as golf courses or ball fields – are important considerations for dads, while moms tend to weigh in on factors such as school quality and the number of like-age children in the neighborhood.
Men also closely consider the degree of maintenance required to keep a prospective home’s landscaping looking good. Those who enjoy spending their free time with their hands in the dirt won’t be put off by complex layers of ornamentals, while those who would rather not sweat in the sun every Saturday prefer a simple lawn with a few trees.
Holiday decorations are yet another surprising factor the dads bring to the home search. There have been numerous occasions where I’ve heard a man say, “There’s no way I can string lights along that pitched roofline,” or “The kids’ favorite blow-up Snoopy would look great posed next to the brick mailbox”.
Finally, every father wants to make sure their loved ones are safe and secure. Many prospective paternal homeowners carefully scrutinize properties for safety features ranging from street traffic to pool barriers to the latest in detectors and device-ready wiring. Those with family members on far ends of the age spectrum will cast an eye on potential hazards such as outdoor stone flooring that may become slippery when wet or sharp-edged stairs that pose a threat to unsteady toddlers.
But, of course, what most dads want is whatever makes their wives and families happy, within a decent commute to work and at a bargain!
Jeffrey M. Fagan is the president of the Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association and is regional vice president of Watson Realty Corp.