This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

Why Your Perfect Home Needs Central Air (and a Walk-In Closet)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- When you find your dream home, things just click. The closets may be a bit too small, the AC may come from window units instead of a central system and maybe there's no full-time guest room ... But the place just has that magic.

Still, it pays to think about those shortcomings, which could make it harder to sell when you're ready to move on in a few years. To some extent, the housing market is a fashion industry, and today's styles will sell better than yesteryear's.


A study by the National Association of Realtors says central air conditioning is the most critical of 33 features surveyed, with 65% of those polled rating it very important. So if the home doesn't have it when you buy, think about putting it in. You'll enjoy it and will find it easier to sell for the price you deserve.

Among other highly desirable features: new kitchen appliances and a walk-in closet in the master bedroom. Buyers also preferred homes that were less than five years old, which might surprise those who believe in old-time craftsmanship. The fact is, newer homes are better insulated, have safer wiring and are built to withstand winds that would blow older homes apart.

Not surprisingly, buyers would prefer choice sites such as those on the water. They want basements, and many look for a home with an in-law suite. (Of course, that doesn't mean the in-laws will move in. The suite can serve a grown child who's slow to launch, or function as a better-than-average guest quarters.)

Most buyers still want a traditional living room, even though modern life seems to gravitate to the great room.

Asked what they were willing to spend more to get, a majority of buyers said: a laundry room and den/study/office/library.

Many buyers who were satisfied with their home said they would still like more and bigger closets and a larger kitchen. In fact, 47% of recent buyers undertook a major kitchen improvement quickly, and almost as many upgraded a bathroom.

Of course, buyers' demands vary by region and demographics. In the south, as one would imagine, air conditioning is especially important. And older buyers are more likely to prefer single-story homes.

Obviously, there's no simple rule about what will appeal to a future buyer. But today's shopper would be wise to visit a wide range of homes, not just a few suggested by the real estate agent, to get a sense of the styles popular in the community.


Builders have a pretty good sense of what buyers in the area want, so tour some open houses in new developments. If new homes offer stainless steel kitchen appliances, dedicated laundry rooms, finished basements and bedroom-sized closets, you can bet that future buyers will demand those features -- at a minimum.

Keep in mind, though, that many major home improvements don't add as much value as they cost(), so it's probably not a good strategy to buy a substandard home and plan to upgrade just before selling. Get a home that has the features other buyers value, or put them in quickly so you can enjoy them yourself before selling.

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,265.99 +109.14 0.64%
S&P 500 2,011.36 +9.79 0.49%
NASDAQ 4,593.4250 +31.2360 0.68%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs