Friday, January 22, 2010

Absolute Perfection

I love houses. My house, your house (you knew I could see your house through the computer, right?), any and all houses.  I like touring model homes, going to real estate open houses, browsing real estate websites and watching real estate shows on television.  The floorplans, different material choices, architecture and decorating are all of interest to me. 

If I had an extra 1.2 million dollars hanging around, I'd buy a house I saw on the internet today.  It's on the coast of North Carolina, close to where we take our family vacation every year.  Here's the description:
A grand waterway estate on 2.59 acres with approximately 3886 sq. ft has many stunning details. A stately stone fountain and manicured grounds compliment the appealing character of this property. Interior details feature the finest custom work, brazilian cherry hardwood floors, built-ins 10' ceilings, 8' doors and more! This fabulous home is perfect for southern living and outdoor entertaining. A guest house offers a kitchen and bath. Enjoy the pier, 18,000 lb boat lift and floating dock.
I think my family and I could live there comfortably. With the guest house, I would even have a place for my fabulous blog buddies to stay when they came to visit (you would come, wouldn't you?). It's pretty close to perfect.

But what if it weren't? Would I still be interested in it? Let's say that instead of Brazilian Cherry hardwood floors, the living room had orange carpeting. And maybe there was an ugly light fixture in the master bathroom, the front hallway was covered in an unattractive purple flocked velvet wallpaper and the refrigerator was avacado colored. The answer is yes, I would still be just as interested. I may hope to pay a few dollars less, but I'd still buy it in a heartbeat. All of those things are easy and fairly inexpensive to change.

I'm constantly amazed, and sometimes irritated, to hear the comments buyers make on shows like House Hunters on HGTV.  I've seen people dimiss houses for things like unattractive carpet and paint colors.  I recently saw a couple pass on a house because the appliances were not stainless steel.  I couldn't believe that the color (or more precisely, material) of the appliances was a deal breaker in a house that, otherwise, met every item on their list.  It was a gorgeous place.  I just don't get it.  Would it really be so awful to have to live with white appliances until you could buy new ones?

What do you think?  Have you bought or could you buy a home that wasn't absolutely cosmetically perfect?  What would be a deal breaker for you?



Tracie said...

My house is far from perfect. But I had my priorities when we were looking and it fit all the top ones. Nice flat yard, street for kids to ride bikes, enough storage for the packrat/hubs junk.

***Holly*** said...

I have learned that some people really can't visualize a house looking any different than it does right now. I can see past paint and other cosmetic things but my husband has a hard time doing that.

L.B. said...

Skin and bones. My real estate agent would tell us to consider the skin and bones of the house. You can't change the bones (the way the rooms are situated, the neighborhood, etc.) but you can change the skin (carpet, appliances, etc.).

Example of skin: The house I currently live in had a huge American flag painted on the front of the house. Nothing against Old Glory but we had that painted over less than a week after we moved in. That certainly didn't scare us from buying this house.

ChristineM said...

Absolutely! In fact I would love to buy an old Victorian, or a farmhouse and restore it, whereas my husband is a new construction snob! ;) I have about a dozen houses (that I know of, anyway) that I call my "dream house". And one keeps going on and off the market....14 room colonial with 6 fireplaces on 31 acres. It's about 6 miles from where I'm sitting right now...a measly $1.4M.

Got any spare change? ;)

Joanna Jenkins said...

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I LOVE to remodel-- not when I'm in the thick of it and covered in dust, but I really like to transform a house and make it mine.

I can see the "bones" of the house and immediately start rearranging walls :-)

You and I would have a lot of fun touring houses together!

5thsister said...

I'm with you on the House Hunters. The show aggravates me to no end. Especially when buyers go beyond their means to purchase a home.

when Mr. Sister and I were first married and house hunting, the real estate agent told us we qualified for a mega buck mortgage. Mr. and I just turned to each other and laughed. We stayed with a very modest mortgage and revamped the little bungalow we bought. By doing so we were able to sell for a hefty profit (double purchase price) and buy a home in our present neighborhood when we needed the space for our growing family.

Purple Flowers said...

I love to look at old and new houses. I also understand that it's important to look beyond the cosmetics, and see yourself living within the structure. I have a thing for staircases. I always wonder where they are situated in a home. Weird, I know. :)

Donna-FFW said...

When we were buying home, we used to go in with the mindset, of the potential it could have. My hubby is quite the handyman and we like to change things to make it our own. Its fun and saves a bunch of $$!!

Heidi said...

I love watching house hunters, but I honestly think some people were raised to not know how to paint!!! Cosmetics can easily be changed, but I guess they are lazy or just don't know how. When we bought our home we knew from the start we didn't like the way it was decorated and started work on it as soon as we could... and I think I've repainted a zillion times, but I enjoy redecorating. We've outgrown it and are now looking for another house. The bad thing is in our small town people don't move, so we are going to have to build or go modular. I guess we will see!!!

Betty said...

I love houses too.
My house is an old one, but renovated with a fireplace and a small garden.
Thanks so much for your kind comments.
Have a great week-end!

Elise said...

I think you can either see past all the clutter etc or you ccan't - I'm not really sure it's something that you can learn. Personally I love a loved in home, comfy and with great colours, not a glass palace or a show home that feels cold and unloved. Love your post !

Chicago Mom said...

It drives me crazy too when buyers can't see past the stuff and see the potential of a house. It also drives me nuts when they buy houses that they can't afford.
I had no say in the house I live in; my husband had bought it before we were engaged, but I like it here. The attic was built in such a way that it would be easy to dormer the roof to add additional space, which is something we think about often. Do we want to dormer or move? How attached are we to this house and neighborhood? Hmmmm....

The girl with the flour in her hair said...

I'm always amazed when I watch those shows and they're critical of the paint or surface stuff. I want to reach through the screen and shake them. YOU CAN BUY PAINT!! I want to scream. YOU PUT IT ON A BRUSH AND WIPE IT ON THE WALL! TA DA! Ugly carpet? Change it! Your remodel budget is more than I spent on our home! Maybe that's why I don't watch those shows very often... :)

Kathy said...

I don't mind a fixer upper at all! I will pass on a smelly house though, especially a smokers house. It is so hard to get the smell of smoke out. I do believe, when I walk into a house, I see what it can become, not what it is. I would just rather it become what it can be a little faster! I hate waiting for change because of money and time shortages!

Kimberly said...

I am so glad you are back! I missed you!

Homes...I love looking. We are currently trying to find a ranch. Isn't it great when the agents try to talk you into doing something outside your price range. just another 200K. It is a 3M house. What is another 200K? I don't care how much more it is, if it is over budget it is over budget.

We have to live within our means no matter how much a house cost.

One ranch we loved was originally listed for 4.5M. It went down in price, so we were willing to trade some property and use cash. 8 months in escrow we saw that he only wanted the 4.5M worth of property and cash, and another 200k was just too much more for me to pay out to him for that ranch. It is STILL on the market.