What Do Home Buyers Want?

 

Whether you’re targeting first-time buyers, young families or empty nesters there are some features most buyers have in common (and researchers spend a lot of time trying to figure out exactly what they are).

According to the National Association of Home Builders 2013 Survey, the number one feature most buyers want is energy efficiency. They want energy-star rated appliances and windows, ceiling fans and better yet an entire energy-star rated home!

Along with energy efficiency, the space to store belongings and organize household chores is also a priority. More than 85 percent of buyers want a linen closest in the bathroom, garage storage space for sports equipment and gardening tools and walk-in kitchen panties.  But the most highly rated feature in this category is a laundry room.  In fact, 93 percent of buyers want one and 57 percent say they won’t buy a house without one!

The National Association of Realtors 2013 Survey echoes some of these trends.  But in their survey, central air conditioning ranked number one of all 31 features listed. This was very surprising because as a San Francisco Bay Area resident, I don’t know anyone with air conditioning!

Upgraded kitchens are a priority and though granite countertops remain popular, new appliances out rank them. And they don’t necessarily have to be stainless steel— just new.

Life Expectancy of household items as compiled by the National Association of Home Builders

Appliances:

The life expectancy of a typical appliance depends to a great extent on the use it receives.

Moreover, appliances are often replaced long before they are worn out because changes in styling, technology and consumer preferences make newer products more desirable. Of the major appliances in a home, gas ranges have the longest life expectancy: 15 years. Dryers and refrigerators last about 13 years. Some of the appliances with the shortest lifespan are: compactors (6 years), dishwashers (9 years) and microwave ovens (9 years).

Cabinetry and Storage:

Kitchens are becoming larger and more elaborate, and together with the family room, modern kitchens now form the “great room.” Great rooms are not only a place to cook, but also a space where people gather to read, eat, do homework, surf the Internet and pay bills. Kitchen cabinets are expected to last up to 50 years, medicine cabinets for 20+ years, and garage/laundry cabinets for 100+ years. Closet shelves are expected to last for a lifetime.

Concrete and Masonry:

Masonry is one of the most durable components of a home. Chimneys, fireplaces, and brick veneers can last a lifetime, and brick walls have an average life expectancy of more than 100 years.

Countertops:

Natural stone countertops, which are less expensive than a few years ago, are gaining in popularity and are expected to last a lifetime. Cultured marble countertops have a life expectancy of about 20 years.

Decks:

Decks are subject to a wide range of conditions in different climates. The life expectancy of wooden decks can vary significantly. Under ideal conditions, they have a life expectancy of about 20 years.

Doors:

Exterior fiberglass, steel and wood doors will last as long as the house exists, while vinyl and screen doors have a life expectancy of 20 and 40 years, respectively. Closet doors are expected to last a lifetime, and French doors have an average life of 30 to 50 years.

Electrical and Lighting:

Copper plated wiring, copper clad aluminum, and bare copper wiring are expected to last a lifetime, whereas electrical accessories and lighting controls are expected to last 10+ years.

Engineered Lumber:

Floor and roof trusses and laminated strand lumber are expected to last a lifetime, and engineered trim is expected to last 30 years.

Faucets and Fixtures:

Kitchen sinks made of modified acrylic will last 50 years, while kitchen faucets will work properly for about 15 years. The average life of bathroom shower enclosures is 50 years. Showerheads last a lifetime, while shower doors will last about 20 years. Bath cabinets and toilets have an unlimited lifespan, but the components inside the toilet tank do require some maintenance. Whirlpool tubs will function properly for 20 to 50 years, depending on use.

 

Flooring:

All natural wood floorings have a life expectancy of 100 years or more. Marble, slate, and granite are also expected to last for about 100 years, but can last less due to a lack of maintenance. Vinyl floors last up to 50 years, linoleum about 25 years, and carpet between 8 and 10 years (with appropriate maintenance and normal traffic).

Footings and Foundations:

Poured as well as concrete block footings and foundations last a lifetime, assuming they were properly built. Termite proofing of foundations will last about 12 years if the chemical barriers put in place during construction are left intact. Waterproofing with bituminous coating lasts 10 years, but if it cracks it is immediately damaged. Concrete or cast iron waste pipes are expected to last 100 years or more.

 

Framing and Other Structural Systems:

Framing and structural systems have extended longevities: poured-concrete systems, timber frame houses and structural insulated panels will all last a lifetime.

Garages:

Garage door openers are expected to last 10 to 15 years, and light inserts for 20 years.

Home Technology:

Home technology systems have various life expectancies. While a built-in audio system will last 20 years, security systems and heat/smoke detectors have life expectancies of 5 to 10 years. Wireless home networks and home automation systems are expected to work properly for more than 50 years.

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC):

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems require proper and regular maintenance in order to work efficiently, but even in the best case scenarios most components of such systems only last 15 to 25 years. Furnaces on average last 15-20 years, heat pumps 16 years, and air conditioning units 10-15 years. Tankless water heaters last more than 20 years, while an electric or gas water heater has a life expectancy of about 10 years. Thermostats usually are replaced before the end of their 35-year lifespan due to technological improvements.

 

Insulation and Infiltration Barriers:

As long as they are not punctured, cut, or burned and are kept dry and away from UV rays, the cellulose, fiberglass, and foam used in insulation materials will last a lifetime. This is true whether the insulation was applied as loose fill, house wrap, or batts/rolls.

Jobsite Equipment:

Ladders are expected to last a lifetime, and life expectancy of lifts is about 8 to 10 years.

Molding and Millwork:

Custom millwork will last a lifetime, and all stairs – circular and spiral stairs, prebuilt stairs and attic stairs – are expected to last a lifetime.

Paint, Caulks and Adhesives:

Both interior and exterior paints can last for 15 years or longer, however home owners often paint more frequently.

Panels:

Hardboard panels and softwood panels are expected to last 30 years, while oriented strand board has a life expectancy of 25-30 years, and flooring underlayment should last about 25 years. Wall panels are expected to last a lifetime, and plywood and particleboard have a life expectancy of about 60 years.

Roofing:

The life of a roof depends on local weather conditions, proper building and design, material quality, and adequate maintenance. Slate, copper, and clay/concrete roofs have the longest life expectancy – over 50 years. Roofs made of asphalt shingles last for about 20 years while roofs made of fiber cement shingles have a life expectancy of about 25 years, and roofs made of wood shakes can be expected to last for about 30 years.

Siding and Accessories:

Outside materials typically last a lifetime. Brick, vinyl, engineered wood, stone (both natural and manufactured), and fiber cement will last as long the house exists. Exterior wood shutters are expected to last 20 years, depending on weather conditions. Gutters have a life expectancy of more than 50 years if made of copper and for 20 years if made of aluminum. Copper downspouts last 100 years or more, while aluminum ones will last 30 years.

Site and Landscaping:

Most landscaping elements have a life expectancy of 15 to 25 years. Sprinklers and valves last about 20 years, while underground PVC piping has a lifespan of 25 years.  Polyvinyl fences are designed to last a lifetime, and asphalt driveways should last between 15 and 20 years. Tennis courts can last a lifetime if recoated; most coatings last 12 to 15 years. The concrete shell of a swimming pool is expected to last over 25 years, but the interior plaster and tile have life expectancies of about 10 to 25 years.

Walls, Ceilings and Finishes:

Walls and ceilings last the full lifespan of the home.

Windows and Skylights:

Aluminum windows are expected to last between 15 and 20 years while wooden windows should last upwards of 30 years.

Actual life expectancy in years

 Appliances:

Exhaust Fan: 10

Compactors: 6

Dishwashers: 9

Disposers, Food Waste: 12

Dryers, Electric: 13

Dryers, Gas: 13

Freezers: 11

Microwave Ovens: 9

Ranges, Electric: 13

Ranges, Gas: 15

Range/Oven Hoods: 14

Refrigerators, Compact: 9

Refrigerators, Standard: 13

Washers: 10

Water Heaters, Electric: 11

Water Heaters, Gas: 10

Air-Conditioners, Room: 10

Air-Conditioners, Unitary: 15

Boilers, Electric: 13

Boilers, Gas: 21

Dehumidifiers: 8

Furnaces, Warm-Air, Electric: 15

Furnaces, Warm-Air, Gas: 18

Furnaces, Warm-Air, Oil: 20

Heat Pumps: 16

Humidifiers: 8

 

Cabinetry and Storage:

Bath Cabinets: Lifetime

Entertainment Centers/Home Office: 10

Garage/Laundry Cabinets: 100+

Kitchen Cabinets: 50

Medicine Cabinets: 20+

Modular/Stock: 50

Closet Shelves: Lifetime

 

 

Concrete and Masonry:

Brick: 100+

Veneer: Lifetime

Caulking (for sealer): 2-20

 

Countertops:

Cultured Marble: 20

Natural Stone: Lifetime

Tile: Lifetime

Wood: Lifetime

 

Decks:

Wood: 20

Dry areas last: 20-25,

South facing: 10-15,

North facing: 20-30.

Deck Planks: 25

 

Doors:

Exterior Doors

Fiberglass: Lifetime

Screen: 40

Pine 20: yrs.

Cedar: 40 yrs.

Mahogany: 60 yrs.

Steel, Fire-Rated: Lifetime

Vinyl: 20

Wood: Lifetime

Interior Doors

French: 30 to 50

Closet: Lifetime

 

Electrical and Lighting:

Accessories: 10+

Lighting Controls: 10+

Copper Plated: Lifetime If used in a non-corrosive environment.

Copper Clad Aluminum: Lifetime

Bare Copper: Lifetime

 

Engineered Lumber:

Engineered Trim: 30

Laminated Strand Lumber: Lifetime

Laminated Veneer Lumber: 30+

Trusses, Floor/Roof: Lifetime

Faucets and Fixtures:

Accessible/ADA Products: Lifetime

Faucets, Bar/Hospitality: 15

Faucets , Kitchen Sinks: 15

Faucets, Lavatory: 20+

Faucets, Tub/Shower: 20+

Faucets, Toilets/Bidets: 10

Saunas/Steam Rooms: 15-20

Shower Doors: 20+

Shower Enclosures/Modules: 50

Showerheads: Lifetime

Toilets/Bidets: Lifetime (The components inside toilet tank and valves that operate bidet

will require occasional maintenance.)

Whirlpool Tubs: 20-50

 

Sinks: Kitchen & others

Enamel Steel: 5-10

Modified Acrylic: 50

Soapstone: 100+

 

Flooring:

All Wooden Floors: Lifetime

Bamboo: Lifetime

Brick Pavers: 100+

Carpet: 8-10

Concrete: 50+

Engineered Wood: 50+

Exotic Wood: Lifetime

Granite: 100+

Laminate: 15-25

Linoleum: 25

Marble: 100+

Slate: 100

Tile: 75-100

Vinyl: 50

Other Domestic Wood: Lifetime

Terrazo: 75+

 

Footings and Foundation:

Poured Footings and Foundations: Lifetime

Concrete Block: Lifetime

Termite Proofing: 12

Bituminous Coating Waterproofing: 10 (If it cracks, it is immediately damaged.)

Pargeting with Ionite: 20-30

Baseboard System: 50

 

Plumbing:

Concrete Waste Pipe: 100

Cast Iron Waste Pipe: 100

 

Framing and other structural systems:

Poured-Concrete Systems: Lifetime

Structural Insulated Panels: Lifetime

Timber Frame Homes: Lifetime

 

Garages:

Garage Door Openers: 10-15

Light Inserts: 20

 

Home Technology:

Audio, Built-in: 20

Heat/Smoke Detectors: <10 (National Fire Alarm Code requires that detectors be replaced every 10 years.)

Home Automation Systems: Lifetime

Home Networks, Wireless: 50+

Security Systems: 5-10

 

HVAC (Heating and Air Conditioning):

Air Conditioners: 10-15

Air Quality Systems: 15

Boilers: 13-21

Dehumidifiers: 8

Ducting: 10

Furnaces: 15-20

Heat Pumps: 16

Heat Recovery Ventilators: 20+

Thermostats: 35

Ventilators: 7

Water Heaters, Tankless: 20+

Electric Radiant Heater: 40

Hot Water or Steam Radiant Heater: 15+

Diffusers, Grilles, and Registers: 25

Induction and Fan-Coil Units: 10-15

Dampers: 20+

DX, Water, or Steam: 20

Electric: 15

Shell-and-Tube: 20

Molded Insulation: Lifetime

Burners: <10 (Oil burners need more maintenance and don’t last as long as gas burners.)

 

 

 

Insulation and Infiltration Barriers:

Insulation Material

Cellulose:100+

Fiberglass: Lifetime

Foam: Lifetime

Insulation Type

Batts/Rolls: Lifetime

House Wrap: Lifetime

Loose Fill: Lifetime

 

Jobsite Equipment:

Ladders: Lifetime

Lifts:8-10

 

Molding and Millwork:

Custom Millwork: Lifetime

Stair Parts: Lifetime

Stairs, Circular & Spiral: Lifetime

Stairs, Prebuilt: Lifetime

Stairs, Attic: Lifetime

 

Paints, Caulks and Adhesives:

Adhesives

Roofing:7

Paints & Stains

Paint, Exterior:15+

Paint, Interior:15+

 

Panels:

Hardboard:30

Oriented-Strand Board:25-30

Particleboard:60

Plywood:60

Softwood:30

Underlayment, Flooring:25

Wall Panels: Lifetime

 

Roofing:

Material

Aluminum Roof Coating:3-7

Fiber Cement:25

Asphalt:20

Modified Bitumen:20

Copper: Lifetime

Simulated Slate:50

Wood:30

Clay/Concrete: Lifetime

Slate:50+

Coal and Tar:30

 

Siding and Accessories:

Material

Brick: Lifetime

Engineered Wood: Lifetime

Fiber Cement: Lifetime

Manufactured Stone: Lifetime

Stone: Lifetime

Stucco:50-100

Vinyl: Lifetime

Related Accessories

Soffits/Fascias:50

Trim:25

Shutters

Wood/Exterior:20

Wood/Interior:15+

Aluminum/Interior: 10+

Gutters and Downspouts

Copper:50+

Aluminium:20

Galvanized Steel:20

Downspouts (Aluminum):30

Downspouts (Copper):100

 

Site and Landscaping:

Asphalt Driveway:15-20

Polyvinyl Fences: Lifetime

Clay Paving: Lifetime

Underground PVC Piping: 25

Valves:20

Sprinklers:20

Controllers:15

Asphalt with Acrylic Coating:12-15 (Requires recoating every 5-7 years).

Asphalt with Acrylic Cushion:12-15 (Requires recoating every 5-7 years).

American Red Clay: Lifetime

 

Swimming pool:

General: Lifetime

Concrete Shell: 25+

Interior Finish/Plaster:10-15

Interior Finish/Pebble-tec:25-35

Interior Finish/Tile:15-25

Cleaning Equipment:7-10

Decking:15

Waterline Tile:10

 

Walls, Ceilings and Finishes:

Acoustical Ceiling: Lifetime.

Ceiling Suspension: Lifetime.

Ceramic Tile: Lifetime

Standard Gypsum: Lifetime

 

Windows, Skylights, and Glass:

Glass & Glazing Materials

Window Glazing:10+

Windows

Aluminum/Alumnus Clad: 15-20

Wood:30+

 

Are You Buying a Home?

Obtain a pre-approved mortgage:
Before house hunting, obtaining a pre-approved mortgage enables the homebuyer to determine how much money they qualify for, and how much they can afford to spend. With a pre-approved mortgage in hand, homebuyers can have confidence that adequate financing is in place before the hunt begins.
A pre-approved mortgage loan is a lender’s commitment to lend to the homebuyer, the loan amount and interest rate up front.
Determine how much you can afford:
Your pre-approved mortgage establishes the maximum amount of loan you’d qualify for, but there are other important considerations. You may need to adjust your lifestyle. You may think that you can handle a sizable mortgage payment, but keeping it up month after month may require cutting back on other expenses, such as clothing, travel, eating out, and entertainment! In addition to your mortgage, consider other related homeowner costs – property taxes/insurance, landscaping, and yearly maintenance/upkeep. Also, allow for a “contingency fund” to cover unexpected expenses – very important – often overlooked! Without such, life’s unexpected surprises can add an unwanted source of stress to your homeowner experience.
Wants vs. Needs:
Buying a home is fraught with emotion. Step back and determine what amenities you absolutely need to fit your realistic lifestyle, and search for a home that fits those needs.
Buy or Rent?
Consider your long term goals, your lifestyle desires/needs, and your employment stability. If you plan to move in less than 3 years, renting may be a better option. We are here to help you with these considerations.

Remodeling Projects That Are Worth the Money

Spring and summer are the busiest times for home buying and selling.  But the market can be flooded with inventory making it hard for your home to stand out—so a little sprucing up can help.  But whenever we think of remodeling one of the first questions we ask is “Will it be worth it?”  Often the answer is “No, not really.”  However, some improvements are worth it, and here are five from Remolding Magazine’s 2014 Cost vs Value Report.

New Front Door      Every potential buyer sees the front door when viewing your home, so it’s no surprise that replacing it offers the biggest bang for the buck.  The average cost is $1,295 and returns a whopping 113 percent.

Wood Deck       A wooden deck delights buyers with options for relaxing and entertaining outdoors.  A deck project averages $11,554 on the west coast and returns 109 percent of your investment.

New Windows      When it comes to replacing windows, it doesn’t matter whether you choose vinyl or wood, both are great investments.  Vinyl windows cost about $11,220 and returns 100 percent while wooden ones cost about $12,294 and return 102 percent.

Updated Kitchen      An updated kitchen is often a home’s top selling point.  And a minor kitchen remodel — new cabinet doors and hardware, appliances, counter tops, sink, faucet, paint and flooring — averages $21,554 and returns 104 percent.

Attic Bedroom     Renovations within the existing envelope of your home are often cheaper to do and return more value than adding rooms onto the periphery because they don’t require expanding the roof and foundation.  And an attic bedroom fits the bill perfectly.  It costs $58,550 and returns 102 percent.

So, when sprucing up your home for sale, do consider some of these improvements for a great return on your investment.

Source:             

Remodeling Magazine  “2014 Cost vs Value Report”

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