design trends of the past and future
Gutowski says high-tech homes will be to home buyers
what Wi-Fi is to laptops. "Homeowners are seeking easy availability
of broadband Internet access," he notes. Built-in wiring for
computers and home entertainment systems, as well as upgraded heating
and cooling, will help seal a deal.
Another feature high on everyone's list is an energy management
system, or EMS, which blends technology and environmental stewardship.
Industry has used EMS to cut energy costs for years. It works by
using a computer to control energy use. Peter Corsell, president
and CEO of EMS manufacturer Gridpoint, says skyrocketing utility
bills and mammoth homes make EMS attractive to home buyers. "In
the near future, we believe EMS will become as commonplace as AC,"
Next year, many utility companies will offer time-of-use
rates to homeowners, as they already do for industrial operations.
Since energy rates are cheaper during times of lesser demand, EMS
systems will operate some aspects of a home's appliances, and heating
and cooling systems during periods when energy usage is at its lowest
While it's preferable to build an EMS into a home,
not to worry: Your castle can be retrofitted. After all, as Corsell
observes, in the case of energy prices, what goes up may not always
go down. And there's a nice side benefit, too. EMS can be used to
recharge the hybrid vehicles of the future -- whether they carry
you over the open road or, as in the Jetsons' case -- high above
|Homes from yesteryear versus tomorrow:||
Whether you live in the middle of a city or prefer to be miles
from your nearest neighbor, the outside of your home can turn off -- or charm
-- potential buyers as much as the inside. In fact, Scott Cohen, garden artisan
who's appeared on several HGTV shows, says if you don't make the outside inviting,
you'll blow potential sales.
One way to increase your home's curb appeal and value
is both simple and timeless -- plant a tree. In fact, plant several
of them. "It's 15 degrees cooler under the shade of trees than
solid patio covers," Cohen says. "Plants transpire and
evaporate moisture and cool the area."
Cohen advises that even if you don't
hire a professional, consult with one early in the process to avoid planting the
wrong types of trees. "Your selection should take into account whether they're
root invasive, the amount of leaf debris and how they affect shade and sun,"
he says. "For example, use an evergreen where you want shade all year round."
can be worth their weight in buyer's dollars. "Money grows on trees,"
Cohen says, explaining a tree that costs $100 today, will be worth $250 in a year
and $700 in two years. Add those values right to your home's bottom line.
good outdoor strategy is to enhance your home's beauty with well-placed lighting.
Cohen says an attractive entry pays for itself in lasting value. He recommends
using good quality, timeless materials to dress up flowerbeds. "Don't get
caught up in trends," he says. Instead, go for natural products like stone
and brick. "They never go out of style."
Planting colorful shrubs and flowers add to a home's
appeal, but Cohen says be careful not to use poisonous or noxious-smelling
flora. A beautifully lit home with majestic trees in front and sweet-smelling
bushes can prove very enticing to buyers.