Whose Gonna Buy Your House When You’re Done With It??

You know, I think far too often realtors and the public operate out of “One size fits all” generalities.  Case in point is resale value.  If asked which is better, a house with a first floor master or one with all the bedrooms upstairs, most people and realtors would agree that the one with the first floor master has broader appeal, and broader appeal is what resale value is all about.  True…..But what if both houses are in a neighborhood that many people pick because of a good elementary school?  That means that the target buyer has young kids.  Very few parents I have shown houses to with young ones feel okay about being on a different level from them.  So, I think in this case, the one with all the bedrooms upstairs is a safer bet.  Conversely, that same house in a neighborhood whose most likely buyer is an empty nester will have less resale potential.  They will prefer the first floor master.

There is a house on my street that has 4 bedrooms and is about 2500 square feet.  Being in a good school district, who do you think will be attracted to that house?  Right….A family with kids.  But, this place has zero back yard.  The deck is about a foot from the property line.  So now this poor house will always need to  find a family that doesn’t care or a couple/single person who wants a big house.  A smaller house would have been better suited to that lot.  Probably would have taken up less space too.

There is another house in my neighborhood.  One of those with the garage in the basement.  The garage takes up half the basement and the driveway takes up a lot of the backyard.  Most people around here that want a basement, prefer a full one.  Also, nobody is ever excited about hauling groceries up from the basement…..And I won’t even get into what they are like in the winter.   Overall, this place has limited appeal.  There is one type of household that would totally find this set up attractive:  One with multiple generations living under one roof.  Aging parents can have their own living space in the basement and they could easily enter/exit from the garage door.  I think if I were to ever list a property like this one, I would try to emphasize the flexibility of this floorplan…..otherwise it will end up selling at a discount to the average buyer.

A few years ago I had a 3rd floor condo in a complex that was mainly retirees.  Did I mention there was no elevator?  That was a hard sale.  The typical resident didn’t want all the steps and it wasn’t the type of place to be on the radar of most people who weren’t retired.  We finally got it done though.

I had a townhouse listed a couple of years ago whose target buyer was downsizing.   The place sat right between a pharmacy and an elementary school that were on the same road.  Which one did I emphasize in the marketing remarks?  That it was close to a pharmacy.  I just knew that the person who would want to live there wouldn’t have a need for the school.

So, when you’re buying a place, always think about the whole picture:  Will the floor plan work for the most likely buyer?  Is the yard too big or too small for the most likely buyer?  Is that buyer going to even care about the school district?  I always find when you start asking yourself a bunch of questions, you can always make a better decision.

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