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In a recent interview, Neil Parsons, owner of Design Build Planners, was asked about 8 desirable New Jersey home features that many buyers are seeking. These features add value in selling a home and provide comfort and enjoyment for the current owners. Below are the items posed to Neil and his thoughts on them with relevance to current homeowner design build remodeling project requests. 1. Energy Efficient Products In designing any project, energy-saving products are always specified as part of the investment. This provides an on-going return for the homeowners while conserving natural resources. 2. Extra Storage Space A common homeowner request, as part of most renovation products, is added storage place. Design Build Planners believes this is driven by the increase of bulk and large package purchasing at warehouse stores such as Costco and BJs to save money. 3. Separate Laundry Room When the space is available, homeowners prefer a separate laundry room for their washer and dryer. The location preferences vary. Some want the washer and dryer near the bedrooms on the second floor while others ask for a laundry-mud room combination at a side or rear entry door. A mud room is great for coats, shoes, and even pet supplies and food bowls. 4. Custom Built-ins Book shelves, libraries, and reading nooks have been making a comeback as far as project requests to Design Build Planners. We feel this is a counter measure to provide a break from TVs, tablets, and smart phones. However, we envision teenagers sitting in the reading nook with an electronic device as opposed to an actual book. 5. Smart Technology People have always been fascinated by and drawn to technology and gadgets. Homeowners always ask what wireless systems are available for their home, especially those controlled by tablet and smart phone apps. 6. Senior-friendly Features A few of the aging-in-place design options Design Build Planners often suggest are wider doors and doorways, level entry shower systems, and stylish grab bars for various areas in bathrooms. While these design options are a necessity for some, they are appreciated and enjoyed by all. 7. Exterior Lighting Exterior lighting, namely wall lanterns and landscape lights for accent plus a ground spotlights aimed at the front wall, makes an attractive impression and enhanced curb appeal after dark. 8. Eat-in Kitchens Everyone wants a bigger kitchen with an eating area. A room addition to make the kitchen more spacious is quite desirable but may be cost prohibitive. An alternate option is to remove a wall to open the kitchen floor space to an adjacent room. Not only does the kitchen space become slightly larger, but it allows for a table and chairs to move further from the cabinets and work area. An open floor plan makes a home feel much larger and lends to better traffic flow and less cramped furniture placement. While an interior wall removal is a simpler alternative to a room addition, there are many items to be considered and accounted for. One factor is whether the wall is structural and load bearing which would require an architect and proper header framing. Another concern is the possibility of mechanicals in the wall to be removed (plumbing, duct work, electrical wiring, switches, and outlets. Plus, once an interior wall is removed, patching is needed for the flooring material, surrounding drywall, and base molding. Then the disturbed room(s) will need painting. If the aforementioned conditions do not exist or are minimal, a wall might be able to be removed by a professional for less than $1,000. However, if some or all of those situations are present the cost will escalate from a few thousand dollars to potentially $10,000.