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8 new-home trends for 2012

A recent article by MSN Real Estate focused on a survey by the National Association of Business Economics, covering new-home building trends in 2012.  Read further to get the gist of the article, and head on over to MSN’s website for more details.

The housing industry has taken a beating these past few years, but a glimmer of hope is on the horizon. Housing starts are expected to increase 10% in 2012, according to a survey by the National Association of Business Economics.

Not surprisingly, though, the Great Recession curtailed many of the extravagances that buyers desired before things went south. Homebuyers want different things from their homes today. The watchword is flexibility — things such as rooms that serve multiple purposes and homes that can accommodate either “boomerang” children or aging parents.

We talked to homebuilders and industry watchers to find out what will be behind the front doors of homes built in 2012. How do these features compare to your wish list?

Easy access

  • Single-story homes
  • Grab bars in the bathroom
  • Fewer stairs and more ramps

A bigger garage — for more than just cars

  • To accommodate storage and avoid clutter
  • “Man caves” — additional family area

The ‘resource center’

  • Fewer rooms dedicated to one purpose
  • Nooks for household work or homework areas

Homes within homes

  • About one-third of American adults are living in the same household with another generation
  • Increase in dual master suites / apartments

Really ‘green’ homes

  • Greater energy efficiency
  • Solar panels to power the house

Home plans that fit today

  • Direct access to laundry areas/rooms
  • Large pantries off the garage for bulk items from warehouses
  • Drop zones for keys, mail, cell phones

The house that flows

  • Open floor plan — increases the perceived size
  • Great rooms opening to the outdoor areas

Infill is in

  • “Infill” homes within existing towns
  • Emphasizes affordability, public transportation access, job centers

 

All of this information is from MSN Real Esate’s article. Read more of this article by Christopher Solomon, of MSN Real Estate here: “8 New-Home Trends for 2012.”

Examine Features Now To Sell for a Good Price Later

Home for saleWhen you buy a home, chances are high that you will eventually sell as your life changes over time. In the United States, it’s estimated that homeowners change residences every five to seven years.

So when you are house hunting, it’s important to keep resale value in mind. Some features you may find desirable may not appeal to others when the time comes to put the house on the market. That would hurt both your ability to sell the house and to get a good price.

As you start your search, consider these factors that will affect resale value:

Exterior Features

Location: If you find the property that offers most of the features you are looking for and it’s going for a bargain price, don’t rush into it. There may be a reason the house is selling for a bargain, so carefully consider where the property is located. When you resell, for example, couples with small children are likely to be searching for quiet streets, large yards and proximity to shopping and schools. Rectangular lots generally sell better than oddly shaped or awkwardly situated properties. For many buyers, the determining factor is the neighborhood.  A home in a safe area will always fetch a better price than the same sized home in or near a less desirable neighborhood. In addition to a low crime rate, many buyers are also looking for a high-achieving school system.

Maintenance: A beautifully manicured lawn with landscaping may have curb appeal, but it is likely to be expensive and time consuming to keep up. You may be willing to pay a premium for it but the next buyer may not. A house with little to moderate landscaping generally has the best resale value. More buyers will also choose a home with exteriors, decks or patios that are made of low-maintenance materials.

Swimming pools: Pools can pose resale problems. Safety concerns means families with small children generally avoid them, as do buyers in regions where a pool is used only a few months of the year. Buyers will also be aware of the maintenance pools require. Keep in mind, however, in some upscale neighborhoods a pool is almost considered an essential.

Size: Resale value is also affected by the size of surrounding homes. Don’t buy the largest home in the area — a large house in the midst of smaller houses generally will sell for a lower price than if it is surrounded by homes of a similar size. Conversely, small or medium-size homes near a larger dwelling tend to increase in value.

Interior Features

Bedrooms/bathrooms: Homes with at least three bedrooms usually have good resale value. The price goes up if the master bedroom has its own bathroom. In any case, the home should have at least two bathrooms and they should be updated for resale purposes.
Kitchens: The center of many homes is the kitchen, which makes it the most important room in the house. Look for modern appliances, a large pantry, plenty of cabinets, attractive and spacious counter tops and adequate dining space. If there is a family room or dining room, the kitchen should be nearby.

Storage and space: In general, lots of closets and well-organized storage space will entice buyers, as will plenty of natural light. Walk-in closets add to the appeal, and garages boost resale value, particularly if they fit two cars. A separate laundry room is typically a great resale feature.

Character: One all-important aspect that will help sell a home is its character. A home’s distinctiveness, however subtle, can charm a buyer. Small touches such as granite counter-tops, French doors, an antique fireplace, or a picturesque view through a bay window can often cinch the deal. The more character your home has, the higher the resale value.

When buying a home, it all comes down to this: Purchase a house that suits your immediate needs and desires, but keep an eye on its resale value. You’ll reap the rewards when it’s time to move on.

This article is by BizActions.