Many homeowners and potential buyers are attracted to hard surface flooring over wall to wall carpet. The reasons are obvious: Better for allergies, better for cleaning and better for durability.
There are real hardwoods, engineered hardwoods and laminates of all kinds. Many of these can and are installed by homeowners – which is fine if they know what they are doing. Laminates are the way to go if the flooring is being installed over concrete slab because hardwoods will “cup” or warp if installed directly over concrete. Hardwoods are expensive, but they look great and can be refinished if scratched or gouged, something that laminates absolutely can’t do. Engineered hardwoods are somewhere in between the two and their best use and maintenance varies by product and manufacturer.
When you are looking to buy a home, be wary of “hardwood/laminate”. There is no such thing.