Features That Are Becoming Standard in New Homes

First-time and repeat buyers say they’d rather have a smaller home with high-quality amenities than a bigger property with fewer such features, according to a survey the National Association of Home Builders released during the International Builders’ Show last week in Las Vegas. The NAHB’s report, titled “What Home Buyers Really Want,” identified the following features as being most desired by both segments of buyers.

  • Laundry rooms
  • Energy Star–rated windows
  • Hardwood flooring
  • Walk-in pantries
  • Patios
  • Ceiling fans
  • Kitchen double sink
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How Much Is Curb Appeal Worth?

Homes with high curb appeal tend to sell for an average of 7% more than similar houses with an uninviting exterior, according to a joint study by the University of Alabama and the University of Texas at Arlington. Further, the premium rises to as high as 14% in slower real estate markets with greater housing inventory, shows the study, which was published in the Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics.

Researchers examined Google Street View photos and sales data from 88,980 properties in the Denver metro area to find how much curb appeal matters to a home’s value. The researchers found that the curb appeal of neighboring properties also has an impact on a home’s value. The appearance of the yard next door accounts for about a third of a home’s overall premium, the study notes.

Read more HERE.

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Childcare Costs Squeeze Homeowners

Child care costs have jumped 49% over the last 25 years. The cost of housing has increased by 14% in comparison, according to a new analysis from Freddie Mac.

“The list of expenses for a family can be never-ending … and presents challenges for many looking to buy or rent,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “One of the major challenges, when it comes to affording a home, is the high cost of child care. Our analysis finds that those families paying for child care generally are left with less money for housing. Specifically, we find they, on average, pay about half of the median mortgage payment and nearly 80% of the median rent.”

Freddie Mac’s research found that families spend, on average, $715 a month on child care. That rises to $758 per month if the main parent with child care responsibilities is employed (the mother in most cases). Families with younger children (to age 4) face even higher costs, averaging $948 per month.

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Downsizers Reveal Biggest Regrets

Homeowners who opt to downsize into a smaller place say that saving money was their chief motivator, along with having to manage less space after the children have moved out. But some home buyers could have downsizing regret as they transition into a smaller home.

Homes.com surveyed more than 1,000 consumers who have downsized their homes. They found that those who downsized did tend to spend 62% less than the house they owned prior. However, many downsizers still weren’t happy.

Half of the survey respondents said that getting rid of possessions was a major challenge when downsizing to a smaller home, and the loss of space was one of their greatest challenges

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Key Listing Ad Words That Attract Buyers

Most buyers have “hardwood floors” and “granite countertops” on their minds when reading listing ad copy, but their preferences can differ somewhat after that. Depending on where consumers live, they may be more apt to be drawn to listing ads that point out the “cozy fireplace,” “pool,” or “brick home.”

Point2 Homes, an online real estate marketplace, analyzed more than 1.2 million listings in July 2019 to see the most common words that agents used when describing the homes they’re selling.

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Home Features That Spark Bickering Among Couples

Couples can bicker when trying to decide on a home to purchase. A certain level of compromise is usually required in finding the right one. As a real estate pro, you may find yourself a mediator to these disputes.

Nearly one in four homeowners say their current home does not have all the features their partner considered important, according to a survey of more than 980 homeowners conducted by Porch.com, a home remodeling website.

So what features inspire the most spats during a house hunt? Wood-burning fireplaces, in-ground pools, and hardwood flooring, according to the survey. For example, with a pool, couples may not see eye-to-eye whether the maintenance costs and upkeep is worth the hassle of having one, the study notes.

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Blues, Greens Are Hot Choices for an Office

The color of your office could affect your productivity and even your mood, a growing body of color psychology research says.

Workplaces are becoming more mindful of the influence the wall colors on their employees, Lasse Karvinen, head of product at Framery, a Finnish company that designs silent work “pods” for offices, told Forbes.com.

Beige and light grays continue to be popular colors in designing modern workplaces, but more offices are also incorporating blues and greens—and for a strategic reason too.

Read more HERE.

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More Staging Do’s and Don’ts

As a follow up to yesterday’s post, HERE are more staging missteps.

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Staging Trends That May Turn Off Buyers

Home staging can show off a home in its best light. Adding simple, updated decor can make a space feel warm and inviting. But there are a few popular trends in home design that stagers say you should avoid when prepping a home for sale.  Read more HERE.

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Home Features That Are Most In Demand

A back porch or deck, newly renovated kitchen, and hardwood flooring are among the top home features house hunters say they want most, according to a new survey by Porch.com, a home remodeling site. Further, buyers are willing to pay between $2,500 and $4,500 more for a home with these features, shows the survey of more than 980 recent home shoppers.

Consumers are embracing outdoor space, as a back porch or deck was the feature Americans most wanted in their home, according to the survey. Some buyers are willing to sacrifice square footage for greater access to outdoor space, Porch.com researchers note.

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