Vol 6 No. 15 - January 04, 2006

What’s in and what’s out for 2006


By Louise Bolger

SUN STAFF WRITER

It’s a new year, and like every other new year we can expect new trends to emerge in just about every area of our lives — fashion, entertainment, education and, of course, real estate.

A list of the latest home buyer trends was compiled by The New York Times in the form of "1001 Tips for Buying and Selling a Home." This week we’ll do the “what’s in,” and next week we’ll tackle “what’s out.”

What’s in:

Smaller square footage homes. Buyers want less space with better finishes. The days of super large homes appears to be trending down.

Quality kitchen cabinets with furniture finish cabinets that will blend into the open kitchen/greatroom family living space.

Bamboo wood floors, which we started hearing about approximately five years ago, are now in line to take over maple as the favorite light colored flooring.

Flat screen TVs and walls to put them on. Too much glass and sliding glass doors, popular in Florida, could make flat screen TV installations difficult.

Conveniently located power and cable boxes are also important. The favorite location for installation of the flat screen in new construction is over the fireplace.

Wired homes equipped with multiple and high-powered phone lines, modems, DSL, wi-fi availability are becoming mainstream for tech-savvy homebuyers, and who isn’t?
Separate shower stalls and bathtubs in master bathrooms – better still separate bathrooms within master bedrooms.

Built-in home stereo systems are still more popular than wireless and a must for most new homes.

Balconies and lanais wider than three feet. Buyers want useable outdoor space especially in Southern climates suitable for decorating.

With the popularity of condominium living, especially here in Florida, home buyers want to make sure there is enough parking for both guests and owners.

Believe it or not, dog parks comes up on the list as something home buyers are looking for. We have one in Bradenton.

One-level homes always popular with older homeowners, are more popular than ever for the aging baby boomers.

For the moment, second homes are still very popular with the baby boomers. This could, however, change if there is a downturn in real estate values nationwide, or if the federal tax deduction for these homes changes.

Buyers are looking for sellers to sweeten the deal a little by paying for more closing costs, a nice perk to buyers as real estate markets become a little tighter.

Sounds simple and easy, but few homes have carbon monoxide detectors. Install one on every floor before placing your home on the market.

That’s a few of the more interesting trends the Times listed. It did leave out the new robot vacuum that I am absolutely lusting after, or a flat screen television that will allow two people to watch two different shows at the same time. It’s an angle thing. Depending on where you sit you see one show or the other, with headphones, of course.

Too bad Christmas is over. See you next week with what’s out.

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