If there's one thing I've noticed about today's home buyers, it's that they do not want to do work.
Oh, sure, I get the occasional client who is not afraid of a house that needs some TLC or even one who really does want a project.
But, by and large, buyers today want a home that's move-in ready: freshly painted, stainless appliances, granite counters and Pottery Barn decor. Homes like this get snapped up in a matter of days (or hours), while plenty of other well-built, well-maintained homes sit languishing on the market.
Why? Because they have wall paper. Because they have wall to wall carpet. Because the bathrooms and kitchen are from another era. And 98% of people do not have the vision to imagine what the house could be with a little updating. Frankly, most people have enough on their plates trying to juggle the demands of work and family. The last thing they need is a major remodeling project.
These homes that seem to be stuck in a time warp have come to be known (by me, at least) as "Granny's house." Usually the seller is someone who has lived there a long time and is ready to downsize or it is the estate of someone who has passed away.
Typically, a "Granny house" was last redecorated back in the 1950's, 60's, 70's. The floor plan tends to be more chopped up than we prefer these days. The bathrooms have pastel colored tile. The kitchens have formica counters. Every room is wallpapered (even the closets!). The basement might be finished, but it has knotty pine walls and vinyl floors.
However, these homes are usually very solidly built and have been lovingly cared for by their owners, with regular maintenance of mechanicals. Under that burnt orange shag carpet are beautiful hardwood floors, protected for years by the carpet.
If you have the vision, you can often get these homes at a nice discount vs. the Pottery Barn houses. The mortgage has long been paid off or the heirs to the estate just want to get a fair deal, so the price is more negotiable than the Pottery Barn homes. Usually, what you save by buying granny's house will more than offset the cost of the updating it. And you get a finished product that reflects your own taste and preferences.
If you're looking for a "granny house" that you can make your own, give us a call at 847-881-6657 and we'll find one for you.
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