Real Estate Q&A
We have purchased a lot and are beginning the process of designing our home. We are planing on being there for a minimum of 10 years, but want our design to not only fit our lifestyle and needs, but also be a design that will readily sell when that time comes. We have seen so many homes that probably fit the owner’s needs, but were built so specifically that they are hard to sell to another owner. In order to create the best design possible, what trends are you seeing in the housing markets, i.e., smaller vs. larger, price range, three-car garages, solar systems, energy efficiency, xeriscape, ranch vs two story, RV parking, etc. Your input is appreciated.
— Jim and Jerry, Grand Junction
Jim and Jerry,
What an exciting time — having a new home designed and built can be a wonderful experience and a very exciting time. I will also add that it is a labor of love that can be stressful and overwhelming, but the reward at the end will ultimately be worth the effort! This is a great question, because I too have seen many homes that were designed so specifically for the owner that it makes them very difficult to sell when the time arrives for you to move on. Building your new home with the forethought of implementing features that other home buyers will find attractive is a great idea and should save you some of the heartache of selling in the future. That being said, also understand that what buyers desire now, can certainly change. Many of the things I will recommend will be what I believe to be timeless features that buyers will still want 10 years from now.
There is no doubt that buyers are trending toward smaller homes, the days of the 5,000-square-foot home are not over, but certainly buyers today are willing to sacrifice some square footage to keep the purchase price down. It has been said many times before, but it is true, some homes that are 2,000 square feet live like they are 2,400 square feet and some live like 1,700. It all comes down to a livable floor plan that is space conscious and efficient. Open floor plans generally live much larger than more traditional/choppier floor plans. As far as price is concerned, you should really stay toward the lower to middle end of your neighborhood price ranges. Homes near the middle to lower end of the neighborhood price points generally lose less when the market shifts down and gain more when the market moves up. Being the highest priced home in the neighborhood or area is not always the best play for long term investment. I hope that makes sense.
Definitely go with a three-car garage, as most buyers need, or want, as much garage space as possible. As a society we all have way more “stuff” than we need and instead of recycling we tend to store, thus the huge boom in rental storage units over the past 20 years. A three-car garage, I believe is a timeless feature that will benefit you when you decide to sell. RV parking can also be a big selling feature, as we live in western Colorado and many people have ATVs, boats, campers, rafts, sport vehicles etc.. and love having a place to park them on their property. Buyers here value their personal time and spending time at play and do not like having to store these items off property.
Energy efficiency is no longer a feature that is “coming.” It is a feature that is here and here to stay. Building your home in an energy efficient manner is very important and will become increasingly important as building codes and buyers expectations change as time move forward. Energy Star ratings will become more and more important and 10 years from now I believe buyers will really see energy efficiency as a big “value add” vs. homes that are not as energy efficient. Going green is here to stay and while it is not a “must” now, it may very well be by the time you go to sell. Low maintenance is good, but complete xerisacpe can narrow your buyer pool pretty extensively. I maintain the recommendation to still have an area of grass that will allow kids, grandchildren, or pets to have an outside area to play or “do their business” — (pets, hopefully not the kids, but to each their own!)
Professional landscaping can make a big difference in a homes value, so do not skimp or go “cheap”.
Lastly, go ranch style if you can. Going with a ranch style home will keep your buyer pool wide and deep and not cut out those buyers who do not want to deal with stairs. Ranchers almost always command more money and sell more readily than two story homes. Stairs can be a killer for some buyers and you want your buyer pool to be as big as possible. I hope this helps a little with your design, but it would appear that you are going about the design process the right way. Also, make sure to discuss these things with your builder or designer as they will have very valuable input on what sells and what sits!
The Kimbrough Team, RE/MAX 4000, Inc