Convenient heating and cooling tops list of non-negotiable home amenities

People looking to buy a home or move into a new apartment are often advised that they should be prepared to make compromises, since it's unlikely that they'll find a place with everything they want. But a new survey by the home design site Porch.com finds that some features, such as central air conditioning or heating, are considered essential.

In a survey of 1,010 people, respondents were asked which home features they consider to be non-negotiable. People were also asked how much money they would be willing to pay for certain features.

Eighty-two percent of homeowners in the survey said they consider a central air conditioning or heating system to be an essential amenity. This was also named as the top non-negotiable amenity among apartment renters, with 78.8 percent considering it a necessary feature.

The next most likely feature homeowners said was essential was a private patio or backyard, with 58.5 percent giving this response. A total of 61.6 percent of renters considered an in-unit washer or dryer to be a necessary amenity.

Respondents were more willing to give up other features, as a majority of respondents did not consider any other items to be non-negotiable. Among the items named as essential by homeowners, 41.9 percent named a guest bedroom, 32.2 percent cited walk-in closets, and 31.7 percent named good orientation (the direction the home faced).

A significant share of apartment renters, 45.2 percent, said it was essential that their building allow pets. Renters were much more willing to compromise elsewhere; the next most popular item, a balcony, was considered non-negotiable by just 18.5 percent of respondents. Only 13.2 percent of renters thought a swimming pool was essential.

When asked how much they would pay for various home amenities, millennials were most likely to pay more for a home that had the feature. These respondents were willing to pay the most money for six of the 11 amenities included in the survey, including an average of $7,009 for a private patio or backyard, $6,194 for central air conditioning or heating, and $5,469 for solar panels.

Generation X respondents were willing to pay the most for a good view ($5,832), a guest bedroom ($5,534), and a formal dining room ($3,699). Baby boomers were willing to pay the most to ensure that their home had a swimming pool ($5,650) and storm windows ($2,427).

More than one-third of respondents who did not own a home said they thought it would take at least five years before they were able to buy a residence. However, more than one in four said they thought they would be able to purchase a home within two years.

Millennials, on average, estimated that it would cost them $192,943 to buy a home. The average homeownership estimate was $171,168 among Generation Xers and $166,049 among baby boomers.

Millennials and baby boomers were the most willing to pay extra for certain apartment benefits. On average, millennial respondents said they would pay $101 more per month for central air conditioning or heat as well as $97 per month for a unit that permitted pets. Baby boomers were most willing to pay extra for stainless steel appliances ($117 a month), a good view ($97 a month), and granite or marble countertops ($88).

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