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Blog :: 05-2015

What Americans Want In a Home: The Housing Satisfaction Gap

In a recent survey conducted by the Demand Institute, 10,000 households were asked if their current homes met their lists of must-haves. The survey found that many homeowners are going without some important features. Home buyers and renovators should take heed; these are the features that should be on every must-have list.

Energy Efficient ?
Spending on home electricity has climbed 56 percent since 2000, leading 71 percent of households to think energy efficiency is important. Yet only 35 percent are satisfied with their own home's energy efficiency. Homeowners are making simple improvements to save on energy, like changing bulbs to LEDs and sealing leaks around windows and doors.

Move-In Ready?
Since 2010, Americans have been spending more on home renovations-smart investments, since 67 percent of those surveyed felt a fully renovated home was important. Only 41 percent were satisfied with the repairs done on their own home; when asked which jobs they will be likely to tackle over the next five years, painting and replacing worn flooring topped the to-do list.

Upgraded Kitchens
Of all the rooms in a home, the kitchen comes out on top, with 62 percent of households declaring it an important space in their homes. Yet only 38 percent of households are happy with their current kitchens. Top-of-the-line appliances seem to be on many must-have lists, with 49 percent of homeowners thinking about purchasing a smart appliance.

Space and Privacy
Whether it's space around a home to afford a little privacy from neighbors or space inside a home for more storage, homeowners want more room. Privacy was important for 63 percent of the surveyed households, but only 42 percent were satisfied with the distance between their house and the neighbors. And while 55 percent felt storage space was important, only 35 percent felt they had enough room in their closets. Over the next few years, large single-family homes in suburban communities are expected to grow in popularity to meet the demand for more privacy and space.

Over the next five years, the number of households helmed by someone over 65 is expected to grow exponentially. These aging buyers place a greater emphasis on single-story, low-maintenance homes with accessible features. But many households feel their homes won't be compatible with their aging bodies; 76 percent think aging-in-place is important, but only 53 percent are satisfied with their home's ability to meet their future accessibility needs.

Good Investment
Despite the recent housing crisis, 65 percent of households still think a home is a good long-term investment. However, only 47 percent are happy with their current home, a group largely made up of renters; 53 percent of renters hope to purchase a home one day.

Spring Cleaning: An Organization Attack Plan for Your Home

Assessing your things, organizing your space and an overall clean will make your home seem new again and help set the tone for an organized lifestyle. Here are four steps that will help you get your house cleaned and organized.

1. Don't Set Yourself Up for Failure
Sometimes the best spring cleaners can be overzealous and think they can attack the house in one day and be done with it. Biting off more than you can chew can lead to frustration, burnout and scrapping the project altogether. Dedicate a few hours each evening, or a few hours over the weekend for cleaning. By working through your home bit by bit, you will be more successful at an overall clean over the course of a few weeks.

2. Clean One Area at a Time
Don't try to clear out everything in a whirlwind. Start in one area, say the dresser, work through it, and then move on. If you get started pulling out items from everywhere and cleaning with no plan, you can actually make more of a mess than when you started! An overall assessment to make sure items are where they should be to get started is okay, but otherwise try to focus on one area at a time.

3. Ask for Help
If you have a friend or family member that is an organization guru or just owes you a favor, ask them to help you as sometimes it is good to have a fresh pair of eyes to review your things. There might be items that you are holding on to that someone can honestly tell you need to go. If you are lacking motivation, having a set time that you have a helper can keep you on task and make you follow through with cleaning.

4. Have a Staging Area for Unwanted Items
A major point of cleaning and organizing is to get rid of things you no longer need. Rather than just hiding these items in the back of your closet, make sure that you have a functional system in place to store these items while cleaning. Set up boxes and bags in a designated spot, so as you move through the home, you can toss in items that you will be getting rid of. This way you'll be ready to toss out or donate things at the end of your project rather than hold on to items you don't really need.