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Sure, bedrooms and bathrooms are the two largest factors that can affect apartment rent. But a new study also finds several amenities that renters are willing to pay more of a premium to get.

A study by RentHop, an apartment search website, finds that some of the amenities that have the greatest impact on price in the 10 largest metro areas are: an elevator, doorman, in-unit washer and dryer, fitness center, “pets allowed” policy, and dedicated parking space.

Here’s how a few of those amenities can impact rental costs:

• Laundry in unit: New York renters pay $80 for the amenity, followed by $65 in Philadelphia and $60 in Boston.

• Fitness center: New Yorkers pay $90 to have this amenity, followed by premiums of $75 in Boston and $60 in Chicago.

• “Pets

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10 Smaller Cities With Surging MarketsBig cities may grab most of the headlines when it comes to housing, but gains in smaller cities shouldn’t be ignored.

One key behind many small towns' growth: a nearby college. Several smaller cities nabbing a spot in Smartasset’s top 25 list for rising housing values are college towns, such as Auburn, Ala.; Fayetteville, Ark.; and Bowling Green, Ky. “In many smaller cities, universities act as economic hubs supporting the whole community and keeping the economy growing,” the report notes.

Texas cities continue to dominate among smaller locales too, just like in Smartasset’s big cities list of rising housing markets. Texas boasted five cities in the top 10 list. Smartasset researchers analyzed data on home values, incomes, population size, and housing

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In all the hustle and bustle of searching for a new home, it's easy for you to overlook how and where your car is going to live. But there are important factors for house-hunters to consider when it comes to their vehicles—namely those related to safety, security, and convenience—that may impact how they feel about potential homes or neighborhoods.

Here are three handy tips to get the most out of their new place.

1. Make sure the parking situation works.
Whether a home's parking space is in a private garage, a residential parking garage, a carport, or simply on the street, it's always a good idea to know where the car will spend its down time. Private garages usually offer the most security when it comes to protecting against car thieves and bad weather,

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Homeowners Don’t Want Cookie-Cutter LawnsHomeowners today are focused on making changes to their front yards so they're markedly different from their neighbors' yards and easier to maintain, finds the 2017 U.S. Houzz Landscaping Trends Survey.

Homeowners want their yards to look distinct. Only 6 percent of homeowners reported front yards that were nearly identical to those in the neighborhood after their outdoor project, compared to more than a third before the update (36 percent), the Houzz survey shows. Two in five owners say they wanted to make a statement with a new front yard that was “very” or “extremely” different from others in the neighborhood following their update.

More homeowners are turning to low-maintenance plants to enhance their front yards, along with native plants and those

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Bedroom Designs That Buyers LoatheThe decor scheme in a bedroom often gets personal, and that personality may be turning off some home buyers when it's time to sell. When listing a home, personal taste is best minimized, especially in bedrooms. Real estate and design experts offer their tips of design trends to avoid in bedroom decor:

1. Bright paint colors: “Can we please get over the bright colors—pink, lime green—especially in kids’ bedrooms?” says Reba Haas, a real estate pro with RE/MAX Metro Eastside in Seattle, to®. Such shades scream to buyers: “Long weekend of painting!” she adds. On the flip side, don’t go too extreme with the neutrals. Too much white in the bedroom can be “too sterile and harsh on the eyes—which is not the relaxing vibe you want,” adds Jamie Novak,

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4 Popular Design Trends at Model HomesBuilders like to spotlight the latest trends in their model homes to entice buyers. These are some of the trends they’re featuring lately.

1. Quartz countertops: Buyers are showing willingness to spend the most in upgrading their kitchens, and one of their first targeted upgrades tends to be the countertop, says Lesley McCarthy, Builders Design regional vice president. They’re opting for quartz over granite. Granite has become the standard in many new homes nowadays, but buyers are showing greater desire for the more environmentally friendly quartz countertops. (Read more: Let’s Talk Quartz.)

2. More windows: McCarthy also points to the increase in windows in homes. Many buyers want to blur the lines between indoors and outdoors and they’re turning to

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New-Home Trend: Bigger Houses, Smaller LotsNew homes are getting larger, but their lot sizes are getting smaller. The median size of a new home increased from 1,938 square feet in 1990 to 2,300 square feet in 2016, but lot sizes during this same period decreased from 8,250 square feet to 6,970 square feet. That amounts to about a 16 percent decrease.

However, the trend hasn't been consistent: Between 2006 and 2011, home buyers were showing demand for larger homes and larger lots. As home prices dropped during the housing crisis, greater affordability gave buyers opportunities to seek larger outdoor spaces. Today's pullback in lot sizes come as builders look to cut costs.

"When home prices appreciate at a fast pace, the land value rises even faster, which, in turn, drives the cost of homes higher,"

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A new® survey reveals the top desires of home buyers today: Ranch-style homes, big backyards, and updated kitchens.

More than half of home buyers say they’re on the hunt for a three-bedroom home, and 75 percent want a two-bathroom home as well, according to®’s home buyer survey. The survey also showed a strong demand for townhouses and row homes among younger home shoppers, as 40 percent said they are looking for a townhome or row home to purchase. However, as home buyers age, single-family homes clearly are the top preference.

"The insights from our most recent consumer survey provide a glimpse into what buyers are looking at today," says Sarah Staley, housing expert for®. "While we often think of dream homes as being

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Outdoor Kitchens Making a ComebackA few years ago, outdoor kitchens were considered a hot amenity, but they began to fall out of favor. In fact, in a December 2015 survey by the National Home Builders Association, builders indicated that outdoor kitchens would be one of the least likely features to be added to new single-family homes in 2016. But now, architects say homeowners and prospective buyers are showing resurgent demand for outdoor cooking spaces, according to the American Institute of Architects' most recent Home Design Trends Survey.

"Homeowners continue to find ways to add value to their homes by creating more functional space, which is apparent in the rise in popularity of outdoor kitchens," says Kermit Baker, chief economist of the AIA. "Kitchens have become a hub for the

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What Really Makes a Property AppreciateA home’s value generally appreciates 3 percent to 4 percent every year, which is attributed mostly to population growth and inflation. However in 2016, homeowners saw appreciation jump to an average of 6.3 percent.®’s research team sought to find out what would boost a home’s value even more and what home features buyers may be willing to pay more for. Researchers analyzed millions of listings on® from 2011 to 2016 to calculate the annual price growth rate of homes with certain features.

Here are some of the clear winners in housing appreciation:
Small homes: Homes smaller than 1,200 square feet appreciated by an average rate of 7.5 percent a year for the past five years. On the other hand, larger homes of 2,400 square feet or

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