The fancy kitchens and fireplaces that were so important to buyers during the housing boom are going out of style, according to Styled, Staged & Sold, a blog offered by Realtor.org.
According to that site, fireplaces. carpets, desks in the kitchen, skylights and granite countertops are all becoming less desirable -- or at least less important -- to homebuyers. 34% of buyers are now willing to buy homes without living rooms!
It's hard to know what to make of these trends. Are they long-term changes in taste or is luxury just taking a leave of absence while people cope with plummeting job security? I'm guessing the latter, with the exception of carpets: carpets aren't particularly attractive, long-lasting or easy to clean. Pergo flooring can be installed easily for not much more money -- and you can always put nice oriental rugs on top of it. And if you spill wine on it, you can just throw it instead of having to replace a whole carpet or strategically rearrange furniture to cover stains.
Even if luxury items like granite countertops and fireplaces are desirable, they may not be desirable enough to justify the additional expense. A recent study found that, on average, none of the most common remodeling projects recoup their costs.
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