By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – The real estate market is coming back to life. It’s a relief for buyers and sellers who suffered through the painful downturn.

But buyers’ needs have changed, and there are a few features that will help move a home quickly.

“The mood of the buyer is a lot more confident,” says realtor Gary Rodgers.

But Rodgers says this new crop of buyers is a bit more conservative than those who bought during the boom years.

“Now more than ever people are more cognizant of what it costs to live in a home,” says Rodgers.

That means they’re less willing to look past the hefty tax and utility bills that come with those sprawling McMansions. Instead, buyers want smaller more efficient homes.

Rodgers says, “If they can be comfortable in a smaller home, they have more money to save for their retirement or travel or their lifestyle.”

Move-in condition is important for that same reason. Buyers are no longer willing to empty out every last bit of savings to replace an aging roof or a dated kitchen. A lot of buyers want a shorter commute.

Recent census figures show gas prices and the stress of traffic have many buyers looking to move closer to cities like Boston. That’s why communities like Brookline, Winchester and Arlington have held their value.

Buyers also want open floor plans, a tough order in many of New England’s older homes.

That, according to Rodgers is making newly built townhouses and condos more attractive than ever.

Rodgers says, “We’re seeing single family buyers, they thought they were single family buyers buying these town homes.”

Finally, many buyers are looking for homes with first floor bedrooms for aging relatives or to make it easier for them to stay in the home during retirement.

The good news for sellers is buyers sitting on the sidelines during the housing slump have had time to save. That has made their credit scores stronger and that means fewer last minute financing issues.

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