What are homebuyers looking for in a house these days? Realtors will tell you that before the recession many looked for a place to hang their hat for a few years before moving on to bigger and better. But today, more buyers are looking for a long-term investment and that means a home in which they can live for the next 20 or more years. As a result they need to plan for the future, which often means the addition of children, or in some cases perhaps an aging parent. So it only goes to reason that topping the list of must-haves today is a home with plenty of room for everyone and that generally translates to a four-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath home. Everyone would like a home as big as possible, but it also comes down to what they can afford, say Realtors. Many will skip the lake view, the pool or other amenities if they can squeeze a four-bedroom home into their budget. Many of todays homeowners also are demanding the home be move-in ready. As a result, updated kitchens are high on the must have list. Thats because many homebuyers coming back into the market dont have the budget to make expensive upgrades. An updated bath also ranks high on the list. If a home doesnt have these upgrades, then potential homebuyers tend to look for deeper discounts. Earlier this year, the National Association of Realtors released its annual Home Features Survey. It looked at features such as flooring, appliances and amenities. Geography and demography strongly influence what buyers value in a home, according to the survey. Southerners tend to buy newer homes; they were more likely to want a home less than five years old and in a wooded lot with trees when compared to other regions. Not surprisingly, buyers in the South also placed a higher importance on central air conditioning, the survey noted. Southerners also typically bought the largest home at 2,000 square feet. Nationwide, central air conditioning was the most important feature with 65 percent of the buyers. A walk-in closet in the master bedroom followed (39 percent). Closely behind was a home that was cable-, satellite TV-, and/or Internet ready, as well as an en-suite master bathroom.The two most common rooms buyers were willing to spend more for were a laundry room and a den/study/home office/library. The rooms that buyers were willing to pay the most for were a basement and an in-law suite. Thirty-three percent of buyers would be willing to pay a median of $3,200 more for a home with a basement, and 20 percent of buyers would be willing to pay a median of $2,920 more for a home with an in-law suite.
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