A Change In Perspective: What Homeowners Really Want

Despite recent home appreciation rates, buyers and owners remain reluctant to participate in the housing sector. Today’s market is fraught with too much uncertainty, as memories of the previous housing bubble still ring true for many Americans. Furthermore, the impact of the recent government shutdown did little to instill confidence in the housing sector’s ability to recover. A myriad of tumultuous conditions have forced homeowners to be more cautious and price-sensitive. More homeowners are adjusting their perspective to accommodate better amenities while sacrificing space.

Changes can be seen from what they buy in home improvement stores as well as the types of features they can expect out of a home. From new construction to remodeling, homeowners are altering the ways they invest their money into property.

“They are doing projects to enjoy themselves, not just to flip,” said Gary Case of Rockville, Maryland’s Signature Kitchens, Additions and Baths. “They are also keeping resale in mind.”

Particular attention has been focused on areas that can save money over the course of ownership, an investment within an investment, if you will. Subsequently, Energy-Star rated appliances are at the top of everyone’s wish list. According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders, researchers found that Energy-Star rated appliances are the most coveted, followed closely by energy efficiency in the laundry room.

“Nine out of ten buyers would rather buy a home with energy-efficient features and permanently lower utility bills than one without those features that costs 2 percent to 3 percent less,” the survey noted. It is important to note, however, that while these amenities are desirable, buyers are not willing to pay a lot for them.

Data from the survey suggests that buyers are willing to give up square footage so that they may be able to afford more high-end amenities. Placing an emphasis on what is in the house seems to take precedence over space. In fact, 62% of the survey’s respondents acknowledged that they would sacrifice living area for high-quality products. Amenities worth the lack of space include: double sinks, separate tub and stall showers, French doors, garage storage systems, wireless home security systems, and electronic features that control entertainment and utilities.

While the survey acknowledges a desire for the contemporary, consumers are equally aware of what they do not want to see in their home. Oddly enough, homebuyers do not want an elevator, a wine cooler refrigerator, laminate countertops or to be situated on a golf course. It appears as if there is a limit to the amenities buyers are willing to invest in.

Of particular interest, however, is what the survey revealed about the locations consumers desire. Contradictory to popular belief, it would appear as if more Americans do not desire a more urban life style. Just 8 percent of those surveyed want to live in a city center, 36 percent prefer the outer suburbs, 30 percent the close-in suburbs and 27 percent still want the old-fashioned, rural American living.

While 23 percent of survey respondents categorically reject the idea of living in a city center, others could be swayed if, again, offered the right amenities. These include walking/jogging trails, nearby parks and an outdoor swimming pool.

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