September 7, 2010

For Sale

First, let me say how much I appreciate everyone’s terrific comments in response to the question I asked yesterday. I was delighted at how much thought people put into their answers, and you just confirmed what I suspected. house 021xAs you might know, I am currently house-hunting. I have been looking at two or three houses each week and have had the same thing said to me several times.  While I am walking through the house, the agent (and it’s mostly the seller’s agent) says, you should do this and that to the house to increase the re-sale value. house 023xConsidering I hadn’t even decided whether or not to buy the house, I thought it was a bit premature to talk to me about re-selling it. If I am going to live in a house, it’s going to be the way I want to live in it, and not the way the people who live in it after I am gone live in it.  I don’t want to put granite kitchen counters in the house for the people who move in after me. I hate granite counters and think that they’ll be the avocado and harvest gold kitchen of this generation.104 9In this day and age, when the housing market has changed so dramatically from a few years ago, and people are not buying houses to flip, why wouldn’t you live in a house that’s exactly the way you want it?

P.S.  I was remembering that when I was doing architectural salvage, we deconstructed a few houses where the owners had spend thousands to put a new kitchen in before they sold, and the new owners came in and tore the house down. So much for improving for re-sale!

These are three of the houses where my family has lived. Nothing was done to any of them for re-sale value.


  1. Meg,
    I Agree I definitley did not paint my entry and hallway for resale value!! A deeep deep blue!

    I have a New Giveaway I think you will love!

    Art by Karena

  2. It drives me crazy when real estate agents talk about what to do to resell you house! I have a friend who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on building a house of her dreams yet was persuaded by her real estate agent to do the entrance hall differently that what my friend wanted to do for 'resale value'. HA!
    She's hated it ever since she finished it!
    Live your dream! It will be your house, so if you want butcher block counters and painted wood floors, go for it! It'll be your house, not the next owners 10 years down the road (when style and taste would have changed anyway!)

  3. I agree with the granite comment-it is everywhere. Part of the "Homedepotization" of America. What alternative would you consider?

  4. Meg,

    Funny you should say that about granite. While I've seen examples that I like, I'm not wild about it. (I went with soapstone and marble, which is or will be over in the future.)

    I think this business about doing things to one's house for resale is partially a result of all those home improvement shows. It's really a misguided notion to undertake big projects like kitchen renos or bathroom additions in order to sell a house. Who knows if what you do will appeal to anyone else? Buyers should look for well-maintained homes and add the bells and whistles that they want, when they want.

    The other thing this post brings to mind is memories of having dinner with a couple a year ago. The woman, when she talked about what she was doing to her house, saying things like "such and such project will add value when we sell." Ugh. I wondered if she was doing anything to her house that wasn't linked to a future imagined return.

    By the way, I'm in love with all your old family houses! Lovely.

  5. I can see doing a few simple things before selling, common sense things really, like painting and decluttering if the need is obvious. I always feel that I can't possibly be so unique that there is noone out there who would like my home the way it is. Besides, isn't part of buying a new place to live the fun of making it your own?

  6. As a sister househunter, I can sympathize. Realtors get super excited about all the stuff I hate like 2 story foyers,corner soaking tubs, and the god-awful granite counter. I might get excited about a butler's pantry or a drinking fountain but alas I think it is not to be.

  7. When my mother sold her house years ago, it had outdated wallpaper and carpet on the stairs worn to the burlap. She said someone was going to see the bones of the house and buy it anyway. It sold in a couple of weeks at the asking price (which was higher than the agent wanted). Good architecture and style shine through the wear and tear.

  8. I agree with you. As for counter tops - butcher block will always be my favorite. It worked for my grandmother - it'll work for me!

    Love that all 3 of the houses in your post had front porches. Love a house with a porch! (Abbey could sit out and greet the neighbors!)

  9. Right on! Life is most assuredly too short to waste time living in a house you've designed and decorated with resale value in mind. If subsequent owners don't like my Delaware Putty coloured cabinets and marble counters as much as I do, they can rip them out. If they dislike my Creekside Brown library walls, they can paint over them. And if a real estate agent makes a "resale" comment like those mentioned above to me, I usually reply with something totally honest like, "Why the hell would I want to do that!"

  10. Meg,

    I totally agree. We live in a crazy & unique house, one others love but probably would never buy because it's not a house "of today". We don't care, we love it, it's our home & we've made a conscious decision to make it ours and not worry about what resale brings. Life is too short. Hoping you find the home of your dreams and make it yours and yours only!

  11. I only go with what I love. The older I get, the less I want to compromise. Besides that, my taste would probably not appeal to most people, but it works for me! I like to mix old with new, soft aqua with bold raspberry, and anything else that might be slightly "off", just like me! I had a white adirondack chair in my living room for years and it made me feel so at home.

  12. I think a buyer can look past to the cosmetic to the potential.

    We spent several years doing over our first house -- stripping wallpaper and pulling up old wool carpet. When we moved out, the new owners immediately gutted the inside. The neighbors must have thought the place wasn't fit for habitation.

    I get highly irritated when sellers are advised to paint everything white and put away all the personal stuff. I'd rather see a house full of personality.

  13. You're so right, Genuine Lustre. I always look past the decor to the bones of a home. Plus, in these days, it could take a year or two to sell and who wants to live in a home that doesn't feel like home while they wait it out?


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