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Consumer
These 7 features help sell your home
WASHINGTON, D.C. (6/24/14)--You might be reluctant to make upgrades when you're ready to sell your house. After all, you won't be in the house to enjoy them for long. And most projects recoup only 66% of their costs, according to the 2014 cost vs. value report from Remodeling magazine (Kiplinger May 2014).
 
But complacency can mean your house stays on the market for months--time that costs you money. That's why these seven updates that rank high on buyers' wish lists, culled from the National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) "What Home Buyers Really Want" report, are worth considering:
  • Laundry room. More than half (57%) of buyers say they don't want a house without this feature; 93% want separate laundry space.
     
  • Exterior lighting. Nine of 10 buyers want this amenity--the most-wanted outdoor feature.
     
  • Energy-efficient windows. Energy Star-rated windows turn up on 89% of buyers' priority lists. These windows can help reduce energy bills up to 15% by reducing undesirable heat gain and loss in the home.
     
  • Roomy garage. Eighty-six percent of buyers want bonus garage space that's accessible and organized.
     
  • Eat-in kitchen. This is especially important for families with children; 85% of buyers expect it.
     
  • Walk-in pantry. Another 85% are looking for pantries with built-in organization systems to keep food and preparation items out of sight. It's a bonus if your pantry doubles as a broom closet.
     
  • Wireless security system. Fully half (50%) of buyers are looking for homes offering modern conveniences, and wireless home security systems rank the highest among technology features buyers would like to have, according to NAHB.
For related information, read "Want Top Dollar for Your House? Apply Elbow Grease" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center. That story reports that, in a 2012 survey of real estate agents, almost 90% said home improvements can help sell a home faster, and nearly 73% felt home improvements could boost the sales price--if they are the right improvements.
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