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8 Home Improvement Projects That Are a Safe Bet for 2016

Maximize your budget by choosing something that won't go out of style quickly

If 2016 is the year you’re planning to make home improvements, you’ll want to do some research to find out which trends are popular right now, especially if you plan to sell your home in the near future. Luckily, we already did the research for you!

To find out which home improvement projects have been #trending the last four years, we identified popular keywords used in real estate listings and took a look at their growth. We also talked to real estate agents to see which features they’re seeing more of when they’re out on home tours.

If you’re looking to spend wisely on those home upgrades, read on to see which features are worthy of the investment.

1. Bamboo: The New Way to Do Floors

Hardwood floors have always been a hot home feature, but this is the first time in a few years that bamboo has topped the charts for the material to use. Bamboo has been around for quite some time but we are now seeing it in a variety of colors and styles.

Bamboo Year-to-Year Change

2. Breakfast Nook: For Breakfast, Lunch OR Dinner

A breakfast nook can look different depending on how much square footage you’re dealing with. In larger homes, it is not uncommon to have a breakfast nook that is a totally separate eating area with a table and chairs, apart from the formal dining room. In smaller, urban dwellings we are starting to see a lot of kitchens with islands and bar stools being used as the designated informal place to dine.

Breakfast Nook Year-to-Year Change

3. Mother-in-Law: In Style!

The mention of “mother-in-law” in listings is certainly on the rise. Much of the baby boomer population is 65 years old or older, so more families are looking for that extra space in their home for an elderly parent or relative. We crunched some numbers and found that units mentioning “mother-in-law” sold for about 5 percent more per square foot than units without one. However, they sat on the market for almost two weeks longer than standard units.

Mother-in-Law Year-to-Year Change

4. Quartz: Not Going Away Anytime Soon

In 2015, quartz was giving granite a run for its money, but this countertop trend has totally taken over. Why do we think that is? The material is super low maintenance, and is resistant to stains, scratches and heat, thanks to its non-porous surface.

Quartz Year-to-Year Change

5. Freestanding Tub: No Longer a Hot Trend

The once-hot freestanding tub trend of 2014 declined in popularity quite a bit in 2015, but it still made the list of top features we’re seeing in homes. Freestanding tubs give homeowners more options in the bathroom, and can sometimes make the room appear larger. Not only does this feature offer a variety of style options, it creates a spa-like atmosphere, and who doesn’t want to feel like every trip to the bathroom is a short trip to the spa?

Freestanding Tub Year-to-Year Change

6. Stainless Steel Appliances: A Trend Not Made of Steel

Stainless steel appliances have been wildly popular over the years, but we are starting to see a new emerging trend; many homes are now opting for a pop of color or shade of white for the face of ovens and refrigerators.

Stainless Steel Appliances Year-to-Year Change

7. Smart Home: No Longer Getting an A+

Smart home features were on the rise since 2012, but their popularity seems to be waning. It could be due to the fact that smart features are almost expected with homes today.

Smart Home Year-to-Year Change

8. Fire Pit: Still Hot!

Fire pits seem to be a trend that isn’t going away any time soon. They’ve remained a top home improvement item over the years and it is still holding steady. Of course, this feature is really only practical in markets where backyard space allows for a fire pit.

Fire Pit Year-to-Year Change

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