Blog :: 10-2013

New Home Shoppers Want Great Rooms, Spa Baths and More Connectivity

New home buyers are coming back, but they don’t want the same old “McMansion.†They want a house they can use. That means a “great room†where everyone can gather - and a spa-like bathroom to escape from the crowd. But usefulness also extends to lots of storage space for big-box buys. It means “drop-off zones†for recharging smartphones and pet-friendly “puppy showers.†It means a home office actually designed for work and media centers made for play. It means big closets and little nooks. These new homes combine practicality with the way we want to live now. Buyers want to feel connected to their families as well as to their media, In some places, they also want to feel connected to the great outdoors with windows everywhere and patio rooms that look like their indoor counterparts. Buyers are not as formal. They want life to be simplified and are much more budget conscious, a natural consequence of the recession. They demand more value per square foot. They’re not interested in rooms they will rarely use such as a formal dining room. Most of all, home buyers want a house that “works†for them. McMansions put a huge percentage (of square footage) into hallways and formal spaces that are used infrequently, it adds up to a lot of square footage. Homes are about 1,000 less square feet but every room feels bigger because the house isn’t so cut up. Great rooms are the No. 1 requested feature among current new home buyers. Everybody ends up in the kitchen, so why not make room for them? Traditionally, most homes defined circulation zones with a lot of hallways. This gave builders the opportunity to do something totally different. One kitchen/great room combo had space for three dining sets - one adjacent to the kitchen, another for more formal gatherings in the living area and a third near a media wall that could double as a game table. Separating the kitchen from the great room, a 14-foot island served as a buffet and breakfast bar. Every eating area could see the media wall, anchored by a 70-inch flat-screen TV. Meant for entertaining, this great room can hold a crowd. It’s the perfect kind of room for a large family. Dining, cooking, communication; they’re all connected. We used to be more compartmentalized. Now, people want flow. Nationally, the average new house still measures 2,480 square feet. A mid-size home is now considered anything between 2,500 and 3,000 square feet.

Selling Your Home 101...Keep An Open Mind!

Selling your home is an experience that causes even the most stable, calm human being to feel panic, outrage & anxiety. Sometimes these emotions give rise to a handful of seller sayings that seem silly when seen in a sober light. Here they are, along with some insights to help ensure you don’t let them foul up your home selling decisions. But I spent X years or $X on that! Customizing your home is one of the biggest non-financial perks of home ownership. You should make changes to your home that will improve your quality of life while you live there. However, the fact that YOU loved the idea of having a sports court or wine cellar, enough to spend tens of thousands of dollars on it does not necessarily mean that your home’s buyer will place the same value on it – or any value, for that matter. Let it go. Understand that other than the kitchen, bathroom, & some amenity & decor upgrades with broad based appeal, your enjoyment is your return on that investment We just need to find a buyer who understands our tastes! Rethink your position: as the ultimate marketing decision-maker in your home’s sale your job is to maximize your home’s appeal to a broad segment of ready, willing and able buyers (not to find the one needle in a haystack). You’re moving on from the property, so you need to move on emotionally, too. Don’t let your attachment to your home keep your life or your finances stuck. I want to price it high, so I have room to come down. In our current market, pricing your home above market is actually dangerous. You run the risk of causing no one to view your home as a good enough value to see it in the first place. (don’t forget buyers do their preliminary search online). If other sellers are pricing appropriately and your home is priced higher than the market will bear, many buyers won’t even bother trying to negotiate you down. Rather, they’ll go find a home with a more realistic price. Even in a relatively hot market, the aggressively priced homes get the most buyer traffic and, accordingly, get the most & best offers. In turn, these bidding wars drive the eventual sales price up. If you want to sell your home in a buyer’s market, or sell it at top dollar in a seller’s market, overpricing it might actually sabotage your success. That offer is an insult – I won’t even dignify it with a response. Your home might be very personal to you, but once it’s on the market get a thick skin and decide not to take anything personally. There could be many reasons for a low offer, including buyers feeling out your level of motivation and/or your degree of flexibility. You should always respond to an offer made by a qualified buyer. You & your agent will formulate an appropriate plan. You might be surprised at how even a very low offer can come together with a respectful, reality-based counteroffer and a little negotiating. I need $X to get the home I want and take my European vacation – let’s list the place for that. There are lots of respectable strategies for setting a list price, but all of them have their basis in one thing: data – a comparative market analysis including market dynamics, trends in inventory & home values and how similar/dissimilar your home is to recently sold properties. This is where my expertise comes in, by reviewing the information & helping you make an informed pricing decision. My philosophy is that I would be doing you a disservice if I were to price your home by calculating how much cash you want or need from the sale