In my youth, cars were sold on style and options. Now it's all about efficiency, which is just one reason why Detroit is in huge trouble. But homes are still all about style and options. How many dormers can you afford, and how about those granite countertops?
The very first question a homebuyer should ask is, "How much will this house cost to maintain?" Building codes have made homes homogeneous and homogeneously inefficient. In the Southwest, most homes use slab and stick-frame construction. The slab and hot water tubing are uninsulated. Floors are warm in the summer and painfully cold in winter. Hot water systems use a recirculating pump because heat flies out of the pipes before it can reach your shower. And nobody seems to notice or care.