If you’re in the market for a new home and are taking full advantage of the Parade of Homes to find the perfect neighborhood, home or builder, it’s important to stay focused. It’s easy to succumb to the beauty of the décor and staging that has been well done for the Parade.
But resist you must, and concentrate your attention on overall goals — whether they are budget, quality of construction, workmanship or aesthetics. Establish your goals before you leave the house. Write it down to remind yourself when you’re your eyes turn in the direction of the two-inch thick granite countertop you can’t afford.
We were two of the judges for this year’s Parade. Every home had one or more special features that made it unique and newsworthy. We noticed numerous instances of quantity vs. quality. Creative use of space varied also. The functional layout of the home is critical — some were more successful than others in this category. If you’re looking at a four-bedroom home, the living area should be larger than 12-foot by 12-foot. Be sure to evaluate your potential new home on each of these important considerations.
In the real-estate world, homes are evaluated on the basis of cost-per-square foot. Knowledge of this cost, whether it is $90 per square foot or $195 per square foot should give you an immediate notion of the size of the home and the types of materials used.
$90 to $124 per square foot will buy you plastic laminate countertops, monochromatic color schemes, sheet vinyl, inexpensive lighting fixtures, softwood cabinets, factory made trim, sprayed on wall texture, pre-fabricated showers, no technology features and inexpensive carpeting.
For $125 to $195 per square foot you’ll see granite countertops, bronze light fixtures, faux finishes, real stone tile flooring, solid wood cabinets, hand troweled wall texture, tiled showers, technology features, custom woodwork and plush carpeting.
Here’s the catch. We noticed mixed useage in the cost/quality level of materials selected for the Parade of Homes. Careful attention to detail reveals materials you wouldn’t expect to see in the price of the home — as an example, less expensive homes used granite countertops and accented walls, thus giving you more value for the cost. A detail-oriented, cost-conscious buyer will notice these differences.
More expensive homes used porcelain tile floors indicating less value for the cost. Sheet vinyl that is patterned to look like tiled floors is a sure reduction in cost over the real deal. Take a close look at cabinets, as the quality varies greatly between painted, stained softwood and solid paneled wood.
Types of materials and details make the difference in the overall aesthetic design of the home and in the final cost. Pay close attention. Stay focused. Don’t get taken in by a pretty face. Buy substance and quality in the long term investment of a home, and as always, call if we can help.