50 Features That Home Buyers Love

1. A sense of historic connection resonates with buyers today. French, English, Tuscan and Spanish homes with stone or stucco walls, tile roofs, iron fixtures, heavy beams and rustic floors are in demand. Old world styles are in demand.

2. The Craftsman style, built in the early 1900’s, is back. Rustic stonework, deep eaves, tapered columns and wide trim, reflect the handmade look over the mass produced.

3. Farmhouses and country homes are sought after for remodeling and are a source of ideas for new homes. Wood windows, simple floor plans, local stone and muted colors connect with nature and earlier times.

4. The retro look is fashionable, and a great fit with fashionable mid century modern furniture styles. Younger folks are breathing new life into their parent’s ranch styles and split levels from the 1950’s.

5. Urban modern is everywhere, with experimental use of space, color, tile, glass, plastic and metal.

6. The preferred ceiling height is about 9 – 12 feet. Two story ceilings are out. In small rooms these feel like towers.

7. Lots of floor level changes are not desirable. These can cause tripping and are not pleasant to live with.

8. Most buyers today want at least two living areas and four bedrooms. Formal dining rooms are still in demand. Formal living rooms are often converted to studies, libraries, or guest rooms. Media rooms are a sought after feature when price range allows.

9. The visual and spatial connection between kitchen and family room is firmly established.

10. Cabinet space is required for large televisions and wall space is needed for the newer flat screens.

11. Three car garages are in demand, especially in areas without basements.

12. Structured wiring is important today for internet, phone, cable and sound. Desk space for computers, fax machines, printers, etc. is required.

13. Good access to the outdoors is a basic design requirement. French doors combine access with light. Sliding glass doors are not as favored.

14. Lots of storage is needed for today’s lifestyle. People have lots of stuff. Huge master closets, pantries, laundry rooms, and extra storage closets are expected.

15. For some people, very spare lofts are perfect. Simplified spaces are an antidote to today’s complex lifestyle.

16. Most buyers are savvy about kitchen design and appreciate good work spaces with easy access to range, refrigerator and sink. Lots of counter space, deep drawers, two sinks, nearby extra refrigerator, and butler’s pantries are all desirable features.

17. Stainless appliances are still in vogue. In urban modern styles, white and colored appliances are back. High end homes conceal some appliances in cabinetry.

18. Eat-in kitchens, with breakfast bar or room for a small table, are a basic requirement for most buyers.

19. Antique tables or cabinets are being refurbished and used as bath cabinets. Kitchen cabinets that look like furniture are a great look.

20. Granite and stone counters are popular. However, granite tops added to 1980’s cabinets do not go over well. Consider your architectural style before adding features. Concrete countertops are perfect for ultra modern, but are not a mainstream feature.

21. Built in refrigerators are desired. Wide, cabinet depth refrigerators have a built-in look, and are not as expensive as the true built-in type.

22. Large rustic stone or ceramic tiles, concrete or wood floors have a warm, functional appeal. Subway tile (3″ x 6″) is popular in bathrooms and on kitchen backsplashes. Patterned cultured marble and laminate are out. Slippery, white floor tile is out.

23. Generous trim is a much appreciated upgrade. Wide, baseboards (6″+), and door and window trim (4″+) are key features in old European and American styles.

24. Craftsman style doors work well with both old and modern looks. These are simple square frames with flat panels. Iron or heavy wood entry doors make strong statements that buyers love.

25. Rustic finishes on hardware, such as brushed nickel, oil rubbed bronze, weathered brass, and other non-shiny finishes are the popular choices.

26. Rustic wood beams or wood covered ceilings create a hand crafted, primitive look that buyers like.

27. Wrought iron gates, stair rails and light fixtures compliment the rustic style. Stair rails in ultra modern homes may be wire, pipe or painted metal.

28. Front porches and covered patios are always a strong selling point. Outdoor fireplaces are popping up everywhere.

29. Re-claimed wood used on floors or walls is very desirable. New wood floors that have been distressed or scraped are valued. A variety of wood boards with cracks exposed are being used instead of traditional wood flooring.

30. Bamboo floors are popular, especially in modern style homes where light colored floors are desired.

31. Concrete floors – often stained and scored are popular. These go well with the modern look, and are used in Craftsman and rustic European styles too.

32. Colorful laminate floors are a good fit with mid-century modern. Laminate floors that look like wood are out. Parquet floors are out, unless they are hand crafted.

33. Framed or hung mirrors are preferred, although plate glass works in ultra modern styles. Mirrors used on walls or ceilings are a turn off.

34. Colors are in, but soft is the word. Soft greens, yellows, earth tones and creams create a serene background that works with all styles. Complex colors, with more colors in the mix, are a more interesting choice. Deeply saturated colors, such as plums and reds, are used in moderation.

35. Flat paint on walls hides flaws and creates a designer look. Shiny is out. Soft whites are safe for trim.

36. Faux finishes are out. Often these do not turn out as well as expected, and are difficult to maintain. The same (or similar) wall color through adjoining spaces creates a more spacious feeling.

37. Historic paint colors such as sage greens, beiges, muted yellows, and grays work well on the exterior. Bold or harsh colors are a turn-off to most buyers.

38. Wallpaper is problematic and harder to change than paint. Very often it does not fit the buyer’s taste. Heavily textured walls and popcorn ceilings are totally out.

39. Buyers want more windows, natural light, and a greater connection with the outdoors. People today are more discriminating about the quality of light. Windows on two sides of the room balance the lighting and reduce glare.

40. One light in the middle of the room will not do. Under cabinet task lighting is appreciated. Security lighting is important. Wall sconces offer soft ambient lighting. Recessed cans provide area light. Dimmers help to control the lighting.

41. Light fixtures are a decorative element in all styles. Retro fixtures are interesting decorative features in 1930’s craftsman and 1950’s ranch styles.

42. Clean, modern fixtures, such as pendant lights, recessed cans, and wire string lights compliment the urban look. Industrial metal fixtures are in. The un-decorated look of metal or stainless steel is being used with modern and rustic styles.

43. Heavy drapes are out. Light cotton, linen or silk drapes are used. Or, wood blinds. Or nothing. Retro woven wood blinds have made a comeback. Mini blinds are very yesterday.

44. Bath fixtures are finished in rustic bronze, nickel, or chrome. Old style two-handled faucets and farmhouse sinks are in style.

45. Bath sinks may be glass bowls, granite, stone, stainless or traditional china. Free standing tubs are in. Pedestal and wall hung lavatories are in. Cultured marble is out.

46. With fuel costs going up, energy efficiency is important. Buyers want high efficiency AC, good insulation, low-e glass, programmable thermostats, double pane windows, and ceiling fans.

47. Effective passive solar orientation is a great advantage. It shows a smart planning and use of natural solar energy. No one wants foil on windows or stick-on window film.

48. Instant hot water is a perk that buyers like, as are drinking water filters.

49. Do remove solar screens when they are not needed, such as under patio roofs, porches or shade trees. Light is more in demand than ever.

50. Screened porches are back. They create a fun, multi purpose space that is both indoors and outdoors.

Roselind Hejl is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker United in Austin, Texas. Her website – http://www.weloveaustin.com – offers homes for sale, market trends, buyer and seller guides. Austin Texas Real Estate Guide

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The Florida Real Estate Market: On The Bubble Or Buyer’s Dream?

It’s hard to miss all of the recent media coverage regarding the US housing market. Analysts have predicted a cooling off period after nearly five years of soaring prices, bidding wars, and a housing market that became a seller’s playground. According to the latest numbers, these predictions are proving to be accurate.

At present, the number of unsold homes throughout the US has risen to a record high. Mortgage rates are currently at an average of 6.6% for a 30-year fixed loan, the highest rates in nearly four years, and the average sale price of a home has dropped to $ 238,000 nation wide.

The Florida real estate market has not been immune to these changes. Like most other areas of the country, a flood of homes on the market in Florida and dropping sale prices have created a different kind of market. While this current cooling trend may be worrisome those with a house currently on the market, it is great news for the Florida home buyer.

Taking Advantage of a Buyer’s Market

For the Florida home buyer, the real estate market of the past five years has been a roller coaster ride of indecision and worry over sharply rising housing costs. Buyers were forced to make immediate offers on prospective homes, often ending up engaged in a bidding war with other buyers. Time to shop for the perfect home was extremely limited, while sellers were reaping record profits in the boom market.

Today things have changed a bit in the Florida housing market. Homes are sitting on the market for a much longer period of time, leaving sellers with the opportunity to comparison shop and find the home that is truly right for them. With the flood of existing homes on the market and new home builders looking to incentive programs and price reductions as means of attracting new buyers, there has rarely been a better time for the Florida Home Buyer.

Creative Financing for the Florida Home Buyer

Seller financing, which saw the greatest level of popularity during the 1980’s, is a returning trend in today’s housing market. Unlike the 1980’s, sellers are not offering financing of this type to counteract sky-high interest rates, now the purpose of seller financing is to shield sellers from capital gains taxes in an era of record home sale profits.

Despite a cooling market, sellers are still gaining huge returns on their initial investment once they sell their home, and offering to carry all or part of the financing is a way to spread out gains and avoid hefty tax rates. This finance option is beneficial to buyers because sellers will often finance at slightly lower interest rates, and buyers do not have to worry about costly appraisals, application fees, and mortgage points.

Trends in Florida Home Buying

Purchase of existing homes with intent to remodel remains a popular option for Florida home buyers. Newly constructed home sales also remain robust, especially high quality custom homes that are built above hurricane code.

According to the latest predictions from the National Weather Service, the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season is expected to bring up to sixteen named storms, and as many as six major hurricanes. These numbers are slightly lower than the 2004-05 seasons that brought devastating storms such as Katrina, Rita and Dennis, the fact remains that even if only one major hurricane impacts the US coastline, it is a bad season for the residents of that area.

This is why homes built of solid concrete with additional roof truss straps and impact resistant windows remain so popular with Florida home buyers. And in the current market conditions, these homes are more affordable than ever.

Many custom Florida home builders are presently offering reduced sale prices and additional amenities, features and incentives to attract new buyers in a cooling market. Depending on the time of year and amount of homes a builder must sell, it is possible for the Florida home buyer to find fantastic deals on these high quality homes.

Good News for Florida Home Sellers

The outlook for Floridians looking to sell their homes is not all bad. Sellers are still reaping record profits from their homes, and home sales were actually up in the month of April. It may take longer to sell a home, but there are still buyers out there who are eager to invest in the Florida real estate market.

Florida realtors are also beginning to tap a robust international market. Buyers in Europe, Asia, South America and other countries are eager to invest in industrial, commercial and residential properties throughout Florida. New marketing strategies include international conferences where Florida realtors can present their listings and investment opportunities to these buyers.

Concrete Florida Homes survive hurricanes – Tom Beaty a real estate broker and
home builders in Palm Coast, Flagler and Volusia County. Visit: Florida real estate or Florida home
builder

How Can You Attract Younger Buyers to Your Home?

Traditionally, younger people are itching to become homeowners. Today, they’re even more interested — thanks to low prices and record-low mortgage rates.

So, how should you appeal to this younger market?

First, speak to your real estate agent. An experienced agent is familiar with the buying trends in your area. Like it or not, some neighborhoods just do not lend themselves well to younger buyers. See if you live in one of them.

Typically, homes with extensive upkeep or homes in rural areas are not the best prospects for targeting younger buyers.

Why?

Because younger buyers, with their time-demanding lifestyles, trend towards homes that are easy to maintain. Unless you price your home so low that a younger person can’t turn it down, if your home is a real fixer-upper your chances for attracting younger buyers is likely reduced.

OK, so you’re home is in good shape, and you live in a “cool” neighborhood. Now what?

Give your house an honest assessment, and see if you’re turning off younger buyers. Just because your house is in good shape doesn’t mean it’s capable of attracting a younger crowd.

So what turns off younger buyers, and what can you do to improve your home’s appeal?

1. Popcorn ceilings

Since many of them weren’t even born when this was the rage, these can be a real turn-off to the 20’s and 30’s group. Obviously your best choice is to update these ceilings entirely. If that option is too expensive, at the very least you need to clean and re-paint them.

2. Too much carpet

Younger buyers get more excited about hardwood flooring or tile. In fact, some agents report that younger buyers are actually turning away from carpeted homes even before they see them!

If you choose not to upgrade all your floors, at least consider the high-traffic areas — like your family or living rooms. Believe it or not, pre-finished laminates are actually very affordable.

Got a carpet with stains? You’re moving towards the dreaded fixer-upper status — at least in the minds of many younger buyers. So get rid of it!

3. Ornate furnishings

Real estate agents say that younger home buyers are unimpressed with elaborate draperies and outdated lighting fixtures. Consider simplifying the drapes — perhaps by eliminating the heavy swags and valances. Think about opening the heavy drapes and accessorizing with some light, airy sheers.

Also, replace your heavy-hanging light fixtures with chic new designs. There’s no need to spend a fortune, though. Check online or at your neighborhood home stores.

4. Wallpaper

This is a tricky one. Modern, chic patterns can work in your favor, but outdated velvety, or worn out papers must be removed. The young buyer really wants no part of stripping wallpaper!

5. Your color scheme

You might love that bold orange, but consider it a huge red flag for younger buyers. Overall, assume that younger buyers want to move into a home with as few projects as possible. Invest in calming neutral colors or earth tones. In other words, colors that do not offend anyone.

As an added benefit, trendy neutral tones invite buyers to imagine how their own accent pieces and d├ęcor will fit.

6. Your appliances and countertops

Seriously consider investing in modern stainless steel or sleek black appliances. No question, this is an upgrade that can more than pay for itself!

And while you’re at it, consider an additional investment for granite or stone countertops. Even better, if you can pull this off in the bathrooms, along with some sleek new light fixtures, you might have just created the perfect look for the eager young buying crowd.

And while you’re at it, how about those cabinets? Could they cost you a sale?

Simply stated, keep it simple and sleek. Younger buyers are busy. They want to move in, accessorize, and enjoy.

Realtypin.com finding you the right home! Search for homes at the U.S and International, Rentals, Foreclosures, Vacation homes, Search top nationwide mortgage lenders for your lowest rate at http://www.realtypin.com/mortgage , real estate news, money making real estate tools and lots more .

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To Remodel Or To Move: Options For Second Time Home Buyers

Article by Jason Homes

There are three groups used to classify home buyers. One of these is composed of people who are looking to buy a second home to upgrade on what they currently own. This could be because of a growing family or that the buyer’s financial situation has finally allowed him or her to go for that dream home. If you belong to this group, remember that buying is not the only option open to you.

If you need a bigger house because you have a growing family, you should also think about the possibility of remodeling your current living space instead of selling it and using the money from the sale to buy a new home. This does not mean that remodeling is the answer to your woes as sometimes it would be less costly in the long run to just buy a bigger property.

To come to the right decision, you should look at what each option offers and weigh the pros and cons. When it comes to remodeling, one of the biggest advantages is that you already know the strengths and weaknesses of your current living space. You will not what needs repair and what needs replacement. You would also have a concrete idea where you can expand.

While expansion is a good way to make your current house a better fit for your needs, it does not necessarily mean that it is the only way of remodeling your property. If you need space, look for areas in your home taking up more space than what you need. For example, if you have a living room that is too big even for your growing family, you can reclaim some of that space to create a room, even a small one like a storage room.

Since you pretty much know the ins and outs of your property, you would have a solid idea what things can be improved upon to make it a better match for your needs.

On the other hand, if your reason for moving is because you will be transferred to a different area and your current house would mean hours of travel to and from your work, it would be wiser to move. You should think about your capacity to maintain your current house and still afford to pay the mortgage for the second one.

If you cannot afford to have both, then you have to consider selling the property or rent it out to help with your finances. A good real estate agent would be able to help you browse an online MLS where you can find a new house to buy at the price level that you can afford so make sure you consult one if you have settled on moving instead of remodeling your current house.

Jason is a real estate agent helping people find homes MN for sale by offering the use of MLS MN on his site Homes MN For Sale.