That's life

What people want in a dream home

A nationwide survey conducted for Scripps Networks, owner of HGTV and other lifestyle networks, indicates that great views top the wish list of most desirable home features. At least it was a top priority with those asked which options they'd most want if they won a home. The most popular features, in descending order:

• Breathtaking view from the windows or porch (49 percent).

• Kitchen designed for entertaining (29 percent).

• Master suite with spacious his/her closets (26 percent).

• Prewired media room with state-of-the-art equipment (22 percent).

• Fully equipped exercise/recreation room (22 percent).

• Private bath for every bedroom (21 percent).

• Outdoor jacuzzi (19 percent).

• High ceilings with skylights (19 percent).

• Indoor/outdoor fireplaces (16 percent).

Attitudes, aptitudes of homeowners

Most homeowners are pretty handy and do a good job at home maintenance. At least that's what they told pollsters for Sears, Roebuck & Co., Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp., and Neighborworks. Among other results from the national survey, which examined differences in Americans' views toward homeownership, maintenance, and repair are these:

• Eighty percent of homeowners give themselves a "B" or better in home maintenance.

• Eighty-three percent say they or their spouse/partner are handy.

• Home-maintenance skills, knowledge, and effectiveness vary by income level.

• Three-quarters of minority homeowners call home maintenance a major concern.

• While minorities enjoy maintaining their homes, they don't always have the experience or financial resources to ensure timely home maintenance.

• Before buying a home, half of all Americans never estimated the cost of maintenance.

Midpriced appliances feel the squeeze

What's hot and what's not with small home appliances? Housewares MarketWatch, a publication of the International Housewares Association, notes the following:

• Consumers are either shopping "up" for quality and specialty products or "down" for lower prices and wide selections. As a result, midpriced brands are thinning out.

• Toasters are selling well, while bread machines have hit the skids.

• Sales of hand vacuums are up slightly; canister vacuum sales are way down.

• Blender sales are soaring; juicer sales are plummeting.

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