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Builder hails buyers’ modern expectations

Guest perspective: How new homes have changed in last five decades

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When Kaplan Cos. built its first house in 1952, it was at a time when veterans could put down $239 for their own slice of the American Dream. Across New Jersey, my grandfather began building simple Cape Cods and ranches for customers who wanted a basic house with a tidy backyard where their kids could safely play. It is amazing how far the tastes of home buyers have evolved. Our earliest product lacked most every modern convenience. The homes came strictly with white shingles and black roofs. Options at the time included such amenities as air conditioning, carports, dishwashers, and, in many cases, closet space. People were able to buy these homes for just a few thousands dollars, and, with the deed in hand, felt they had secured the ideal place to raise a family and grow old. Over the years, as the style of new housing graduated to split-levels, then bi-levels, then modern-day colonials, we have seen a growing demand in New Jersey for more living space. At the same time, customers ar...