Before and After Remodel

A great comparison of before and after photos on this simple remodel:

Link to Article with photos

Sellers don’t want to spend the money or go to the hassle of remodeling unless they have assurance that it will be worth it.  With the market steering further away from fixers, a thorough remodel at least helps a seller being overly-penalized.  If buyers have to do the remodel themselves, they will add their pain and suffering to their expected repair bill, and want to deduct 150% to 200% of actual costs to compensate.

ADU Specialist

Remember when I mentioned the Carlsbad homeowner who told me that his plans for an ADU had gone six months without approval at the City?  Didn’t it make you think, “There has to be a better way”?

For those who are interested in pursuing an accessory dwelling unit for their property and want assistance, consider the service that Dave Probst offers.

Whether it’s a property you already own, or one you might buy, Dave will prepare a report for $655 that will include a preliminary plan and estimate of building costs.  For an additional fee, he can also deal with the city on your behalf, and, in most cases, he can get you ready for permits within 60 days.

I haven’t seen him in action myself, but other realtors around town have spoken of him highly.  He has a seminar scheduled at 4:00pm on May 11th at the Lexus Center in Escondido, and you can find more information at his website:

Open-Concept Reversal….Not So Fast!

We had that story about the open-concept (great rooms) going away, due to them being too noisy and less private.

But Susie disagreed, and sent in a couple of photos of her new 2,321sf house in Boise, Idaho that cost $491,000 (for those who might be thinking of moving).

I will never go back to walls to divide my living room, kitchen and dining room.  And the more windows, the better – Our new home has 40 windows, and still attains a HERS rating of 70 energy efficiency.

The builder also surprised her with this tiled feature wall:

This was her previous house – Boise might be worth a look!

Builders didn’t get the memo about great rooms not being as popular either.

I think we can expect the great-room trend to stick around a while longer!

Open-Concept Reversal?

Trends are subject to change! Hat tip to Eddie 89 for sending this in:

When Brenda Didonna was house-hunting the last time around, she knew what she wanted: a home where the kitchen, living room, and dining room were one big, uninterrupted space.

“In our old house,” said Didonna, a financial analyst, “I’d come home and make dinner and my husband would be watching TV in the other room, and a good portion of the evening we’d be apart.”

She got her togetherness, all right, in a glorious new house in Millbury. Now when she cooks and her husband watches TV, he’s in full view. Relaxing. While she works. “Frankly it’s annoying,” she said. A real estate agent has been called.

“I miss walls,” she said.

Wait, what?!? For decades, Open Concept, and the togetherness-loving, friend-filled lifestyle it was supposed to bring, has been a home buyers’ religion, the one true way to live. Go to Houzz, the home remodeling site, type in “open concept,” and up come 221,569 photos. Over on HGTV, DeRon Jenkins, costar of the popular “Flip or Flop Nashville,” will tell you, as he recently told the Globe, that an open floor plan “allows the love to flow.”

But now, experts say, people are starting to openly yearn for walls.

“Buyers are moving away from uninterrupted views,” said Loren Larsen, a real estate agent with Compass, in Boston, who is hearing from clients who don’t want their kitchens — and the dirty dishes — on display.

“The pendulum is swinging back,” said Bob Ernst, president of FBN Construction in Hyde Park. “The reality is that life can be loud.”

There may be few real estate trends as enduring or as aspirational as open concept — the name realtors and home designers gave to vast living spaces that are all about happy-together time. The message is so powerful that to admit you don’t want to live in a house as open as a soccer field is to reveal something shameful:

That you’re not a parent who wants the kids RIGHT THERE when you’re in the kitchen, your only alone time, or what used to be your only alone time.

That you’re not a host relaxed enough to chat with guests while preparing a three-course meal.

That you’re not Marie Kondo enough to keep every inch of what used to be three rooms clutter-free at all times.

Link to Full Article

Get Good Help

A recent WSJ survey found these to be turn-offs to luxury-home buyers:

  1. Granite
  2. Jetted bathtubs
  3. French doors with mullions (vertical bars between the panes of glass)
  4. Unsightly built-in entertainment systems
  5. Bidets
  6. Heavy brown furniture.

Home sellers are smart to rectify problems, and do smart tune-ups to their home prior to going on the market.  Remember my listing on Gladstone?  Not much had been done (the seller was the original owner from 1987), and the walls were covered in earthtones when we arrived:

Donna coordinated a five-day blitz of vendors who scraped the cottage cheese and re-textured the ceilings, re-painted the interior, and installed new lighting and master-bath counter & faucet. The seller spent about $9,500 for tune-ups, $2,500 for staging, and $1,000 on buyer-requested repairs, or about $13,000.

We listed for $499,000, and it closed yesterday for $538,200!

Doing smart improvements, pricing attractively, and hiring an agent who is adept at conducting a bidding war all contributed to the success.

Get Good Help!

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