Whether it’s three bedrooms or granite countertops,  the majority of people’s house must-haves are easy to accommodate. However, according to a survey of 1,700 homeowners and prospective buyers by Rocket Homes, some wish-list items are more manageable to check off than others. 

While 27 percent of those looking to buy a home listed smart technology (like security systems or appliances) as a priority, only 39 percent of homeowners said they already had the tech in place. Similarly a mere 39 percent of their homes had the fireplace that 18 percent of buyers were eyeing. What may be most surprising is that only 23 percent of homeowners said that subway tile was already a feature in their homes, despite 13 percent saying it’s at the top of their list. 

If your dream house doesn’t have everything you’re dreaming oft, don’t fret. A clever DIY can achieve the same look without a full (and much more costly) renovation. 


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The Smart Lighting

The 3 Hardest to Find (But Easiest to DIY) Home Features When You’re House Hunting
Photography by Laure Joliet; Design by Jenni Kayne

While advanced security systems and smart refrigerators aren’t the most budget-friendly, LED bulbs that connect to an app (or your favorite voice-command assistant) don’t have a whopping price tag. A few taps can program ambient lighting to be on right when you get home from work—no fumbling for light switches in the winter darkness required. 

The Fireplace

The 3 Hardest to Find (But Easiest to DIY) Home Features When You’re House Hunting
Photography by Bess Friday

It’s never been easier to fake a fireplace, and you don’t even need to carve out a chimney. Designer Katie Monkhouse saved her clients $15,000 by installing only a marble fireplace surround and painting the “firebox” (aka the wall) black. 

The Subway Tile

The 3 Hardest to Find (But Easiest to DIY) Home Features When You’re House Hunting
Photography by Lauren Kolyn

Available in virtually every color and size, peel-and-stick tile can transform your kitchen (or bathroom) in as little as an afternoon. Alexandra Gater applied a baby pink version right on top of the drywall in her rental kitchen (she didn’t have a backsplash!); it will come off easily when she decides to move.