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29 May 2016
Yesterday I spent the day looking at homes with clients, and it was a very interesting day because of the homes we viewed. The first home was a beautiful custom built home, but there were two deal killers for my buyers. One was the view would be blocked when another home was built on the adjacent lot, and that would destroy so much of the value of this home’s appeal. The second deal killer was something a little unusual.
The main room with large windows facing the best view would normally be a room with comfortable chairs or sofas or some kind of sitting area. The idea would be that you could sit and enjoy the view. Instead the room was designed to be an exercise room only. While that is a cool idea, it is probably cool to less than 1% of the buying population. Substantial reconstruction would be required to convert it to a sitting area, so this home would not appeal to over 99% of the potential buyers in this market.
Now we get to one of my pet peeves. If you build a house so unique or with some extremely unique features, you have severely limited your ability to sell the house to the vast majority of future buyers. Granted, you have created the “perfect” retirement home for you and your spouse, but not for anyone else. Ten to twenty years later when you want to sell your home, you will enter a nightmare scenario, because you need to sell the home but cannot, and to eventually get it sold, you must take a devastating financial loss in your senior years. That was the first home we viewed.
I never get tired of looking at homes with buyers. The second home we looked at also happened to be unique, but for different reasons. It was a home with a million dollar water view, but it had small windows peeking out at the water view. The living room had little windows, the dining room had little windows, and the kitchen and bedrooms all had peek-a-boo water views. Crazy! A million dollar water view and the people who built the house did not take advantage of it with large windows!
When my buyers walked into the house knowing there was a great water view out there, they were in disbelief that the homebuilders had made such a blatant and tragic mistake. How could someone build a home with this kind of water view, and then build a home like any other home as though there was no water view at all?
As a result this home is virtually unsellable to 99% of the retiree population. Now that the sellers need to sell, they cannot, and when they do, it will be a massive discount from the value they attached to the house in their own minds. They will suffer a tremendous financial loss.
I still love looking at homes, because you never know what you will see next. The third house we looked at was equally surprising. It also should have had a stunning water view, but there were hardly any windows on the water side of the house, and there were no skylights anywhere. This meant the house was dark inside without the natural light that so many of us want and love today. The shocking news was this home was recently built by someone I presume intended to sell it right away. Another massive mistake.
When a person builds a house so unique, they severely limit their ability to sell the house to the vast majority of future buyers. While they undoubtedly created the “perfect” retirement home for themselves, they unintentionally were guaranteeing no one else would want it. Ten to twenty years later when they need to sell their home, they enter a nightmare scenario.
Looking at homes is one of my favorite pastimes. Looking at homes with clients as a Realtor is how I make my living, but yesterday was a reminder of the homes out there that were built by good people who never considered their exit strategy and now have homes that no one wants.
Why is this relevant to you as a prospective buyer? I think it is helpful for buyers to know the Sequim real estate market, prices, and the kinds of homes in the inventory, so when it’s time for you to start looking at homes, you’ll know what to expect and how to respond. Most of the time, however, when my buyers are looking at a home with a huge defect or some obvious shortcoming, they know it instantly. It jumps out at you, and you know something is wrong. It may take a few minutes to figure it out, but first impressions of a home when you walk in the front door are usually the correct impressions.
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