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The recession may be officially over, but Americans remain guarded when it comes to purchasing big-ticket products, namely homes, National Association of Home Builders officials said at a recent convention.

"More buyers are looking at homes as an investment, and they are furnishing those homes with features that will attract buyers down the road," said Bruce Lubbers, general manager of Pella Intermountain, a local distributor of Pella Wood Windows and Doors. "Affordable features that enhance the image of quality are luring a full range of buyers."Lubbers offered this insight into the specific "wish list" items of key buying segments: First-time buyers watch for high ceilings, fireplaces and bay windows; move-up buyers value symbols of self-expression like circular windows; luxury buyers look for signs of value like sun rooms and French doors; singles and couples value features over space, including skylights.

"Homeowners anticipating the need to interest future buyers with investment features can look at the common attraction," advised Lubbers. "Products that enhance space and light, especially unique windows and window combinations, can take a limited budget and turn it into a long-term solution."

Homeowners should also be aware that the dollars they've invested in colorful new furniture may be going out the window fast. That is, if the windows were installed before advanced glazing techniques were used.

"Homeowners usually have one of two perceptions about fading fabric," Lubbers said. "They believe nothing can be done to prolong resistance to fading or all the curtains need to be closed to eliminate light. Both perceptions are wrong."

Sunlight is the cause, but by controlling how sunlight is let in, fading can be managed. Lubbers said visible light, the only part of the spectrum we can see, is the most desirable. The light you can feel as heat is infrared rays. While infrared does cause fading over time, immediate fading problems are caused by ultraviolet rays that you can't see or feel.

A widely used solution to prevent fading is a transparent glass coating called Low-E, or low-emissivity. The coating acts much like a mirror, reflecting heat and fading rays away. Because the coating is clear, it allows nearly all visible light into the home.

"Be alert for coatings that tint the glass gray or brown," said Lubbers. "Quality windows are attractive features because they bring natural light into the home."

Lubbers said protective glazing is increasingly available as standard fare with high quality performance window purchases and is usually available as an option in other units.

For a free informational package about selecting windows and doors for the home, call 1-800-847-3552; or stop by the Pella Window Store, 8020 S. 1300 West, West Jordan, 566-4131.