You Can Change Anything about a House – Except the Location

2013-06-23T00:00:00Z You Can Change Anything about a House – Except the LocationMichelle Krueger Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
June 23, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Dream homes come in all shapes and sizes, and people shopping for homes all have different priorities.

From the location – which includes important factors such as school district and the proximity to work, recreation, retail establishments, restaurants and healthcare facilities – to the amount of land and their most desirable amenities, home buyers typically begin their search with an extensive list of wants and needs. In the end, they often settle for a home that meets their needs but falls a bit short of including everything they want.

With real estate professionals finding that a great majority of buyers in the market today are looking for “turn key” properties – homes that allow them to unlock the front door, move their stuff in and be settled right away without the hassles of remodeling or redecorating anything, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) conducted a study to find the most desirable home features.

When asked what features they would be willing to pay extra for in their next home, 60 percent of buyers said central air conditioning, new kitchen appliances and a walk-in closet in the master bedroom. In general, buyers also showed more interest in big, beautiful kitchens that function as an added informal gathering place for family and guests alike.

In an analysis of the NAR data, 24/7 Wall St. determined the 11 most desirable home features and found that in many cases there were vast differences in what people would be willing to pay for them versus what they would actually cost to add as an improvement in an existing home or as part of a new construction budget – they may want the steak but are on a macaroni budget, according to Errol Samuelson, president of Realtor.com.

That’s precisely how the compromise between wants and needs comes into play for many home buyers. While everything starts with location, the details of a home are also important to improving the quality of life for the people who will be living there. Based on budget, needs get met first since wants can always be added down the road.

With that in mind, here’s a look at the most popular home improvements:

1. Central air conditioning

• Percentage of home buyers willing to pay more: 69%

• Amount willing to pay extra: $2,520

Nearly seven out of every 10 respondents said they would be willing to pay more for central air conditioning than any other feature.

2. New kitchen appliances

• Percentage of home buyers willing to pay more: 69%

• Amount willing to pay extra: $1,840

Smaller dollar amount but the same number of respondents do not want to deal with the stress of broken appliances.

3. Walk-in closet in master bedroom

Percentage of homebuyers willing to pay more: 60%

Amount willing to pay extra: $1,350

Storage space in general is important, and walk-in closets are the key to keeping bedrooms organized.

4. Granite countertops

• Percentage of homebuyers willing to pay more: 55%

• Amount willing to pay extra: $1,620

With the great emphasis on kitchens, this is a style issue for most buyers today.

5. Hardwood floors

• Percentage of homebuyers willing to pay more: 54%

• Amount willing to pay extra: $2,080

More durable and easier to clean than carpet, hardwood is highly desirable in main floor living areas.

6. En-suite master bath

• Percentage of homebuyers willing to pay more: 49%

• Amount willing to pay extra: $2,030

Homeowners want their own private sanctuary.

7. Kitchen island

• Percentage of homebuyers willing to pay more: 48%

• Amount willing to pay extra: $1,370

While they are valued because they increase function and allow the kitchen to be more organized, people put the lowest dollar amount on islands.

8. Stainless steel appliances

• Percentage of homebuyers willing to pay more: 41%

• Amount willing to pay extra: $1,850

This sleek look continues to be the reigning popular choice for buyers of all ages.

9. Home less than 5 years old

• Percentage of homebuyers willing to pay more: 40%

• Amount willing to pay extra: $5,020

Some people simply want a newer home - maintenance costs can be considerably lower in newer homes compared to older homes, plus newer homes save money over the long run with the latest energy efficient features.

10. Eat-in kitchen

• Percentage of homebuyers willing to pay more: 40%

• Amount willing to pay extra: $1,770

These numbers were highest for people raising a family – in the 35 to 54-age range – who desire one space where they can “do it all.”

11. One or more fireplaces

• Percentage of homebuyers willing to pay more: 40%

• Amount willing to pay extra: $1,400

Always popular, but not a necessity.

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