Blog posted On September 24, 2019
We’ve all heard the familiar real estate mantra “Location, Location, Location,” but today’s home buyers and renters are consistently ranking this home feature as the most important. Zillow Group’s 2018 Consumer Housing Trends Report found that air conditioning was the most important housing feature ranked even above proximity to family and friends.
From the survey, 76% of home buyers and 66.4% of renters said air conditioning is “very” or “extremely” important. Comparatively, 46.7% of home buyers and 36.2% of renters ranked living near family and friends as similarly important. This share of home buyers swings larger in hotter regions like Arizona and the Southeast. 96.5% of home buyers ranked air conditioning as “extremely” important while only 31.9% ranked being close to family and friends as similarly important. The disparity narrows in cooler climates. In San Francisco, 55.7% of home buyers ranked air conditioning as “very” or “extremely” important while 46.4% ranked being close to family and friends as similarly important.
When looking for a new home, location is important, because it’s the one thing you cannot change, but it might not be the most important. Trading a longer commute for a home already equipped with air conditioning may be worth it, especially in a hotter region. Installing a whole-house HVAC system, depending on the size and age of the home, can cost anywhere from $4,000 and $12,000. Choosing window units over central air conditioning impacts the installation costs and also the ongoing costs. Opting for an energy efficient unit may also come with a higher upfront costs but save you money on your utilities bill in the long-term.
If you are looking at a home in the perfect location that does not have air conditioning, you may have an opportunity to negotiate with the seller to lower the price of the home, since you’ll have to pay to upgrade the home. In other cases, a renovation loan could help cover the costs of the mortgage and the air conditioning installation.
Making a list of your “needs,” “wants,” and “nice to haves” before you start your home search will help you decide where you’re willing to compromise ahead of time. Especially in a busy market, you may be faced with choosing the “needs” over the “wants.” If you are facing a situation where you have to compromise, your Realtor or real estate agent can negotiate for you. Even sellers in busy markets may be willing to offer concessions, especially if they are on a timeline to sell their home.