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New Homes Offer Multiple Design Benefits to Homeowners

It wasn�t that long ago that standard upgrades in new homes were, well, standard.

After all, where�s the sex appeal in the same old Formica countertops, plastic-look, standard issue white refrigerators and bland linoleum floors that showcase every speck of dirt?

Not anymore.

Today�s new homes include upgraded design features for style-conscious homeowners. We�re not only getting homes that look great, but that are also designed to meet busy lifestyle needs.

The best in design

New homes are chock full of such in-demand features as polished granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, 42-inch upper cabinets and laminate floors in kitchens; and glass tile accents and spa-like soaking tubs in bathrooms.

Living areas with built-in bookcases and hidden structured wiring for the latest in flat-screen television technology are a must-have for homeowners who want the big television � but who don�t necessarily want to make it the focal point of a room � and new home builders are responding.

Even garages have joined the fray, with bonus six-foot bays that are perfect for extra storage � or for creating a private space for simply hanging out and relaxing.

Homes with lifestyle appeal

Experts say it�s all about appealing to homeowners� tastes � and their demand for a space that not only fits their lifestyle and sense of style, but also the way they really live.

�We found that homeowners are willing to pay more to get the size home they want � and the features they want,� says Gopal Ahluwalia, vice president of research for the National Association of Home Builders, summarizing NAHB�s annual consumer preferences study at the International Builders Show in February.

That includes electronics, with more homebuilders offering the kind of gadgets and options consumers are demanding, including automated lighting controls; broadband; structured wiring; security systems; distributed audio; home theaters; and home automation and energy management systems � some of which are standard features in new homes.

�The increasing importance of consumer electronics upgrades shows a positive trend in the future for home technology purchases,� said Tim Herbert, senior director of market research for the Consumer Electronics Association in a recent press release. �Home builders have a unique opportunity to create new revenue streams by satisfying consumer demand for home electronics.�

In the end, today�s buyers get a lot of perks when they buy a new home, including the kind of features that make a house a home.

"Consumers want a home that�s livable for today�s modern lifestyles that has �just for me�� features,� said Gayle Butler, editor-in-chief of Better Homes & Gardens, in a presentation at the International Builders Show �This is an opportunity market. It�s a great time to get what you want.�

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