I’ve made many observations over my years of being a real estate agent. I try to see the positive in every home, as well as the negatives. Admittedly, I find many homes hard to love. But each has their place in our market.
Sometimes, buyers want to know the “best” type of home to buy. But the real question is not whether a home is the best, but whether or not a home is suited for you.
Of course, as real estate agents, Ian and I are always worried about the financial aspects of a home when we’re helping our clients:
For buyers, we worry about the home appreciating as it should, the homeholding up if the market changes, and whether or not the home has features or issues that will be costly to maintain.
For sellers, we worry about the home’s market position, who will be attracted to the home, how we can increase the number of suited buyers to drive the highest price with the least amount of investment, and last, making sure we meet or beat expectations.
Still, there are many more nuanced details that make you love or hate a home. It kind of comes down to how you live your life.
We’ve noticed a few trends when it comes to buyers and what they fall in love with. Everyone is different, and each type of home comes with its own set up pros and cons. Below, I’ve shared some of my own perspective on what I’ve observed about a few of the most popular types of homes. If you’re still trying to figure out what you’d like to buy and own one day, you might find these observations helpful!
Modern is definitely trending in Seattle. Modern homes always seem to sell for the most if they are truly modern. Admittedly, I’m one of those who has been wooed into loving modern style. But modern homes are best served in pristine condition because they are simple, clean lines, and usually completely open. Blemishes shine bright in a modern home. If you are OCD like me, you will feel compelled to constantly correct issues, because modern homes are supposed to be clean and smooth. Sometimes it feels like you’re living in a glass house (because, well, sometimes you actually are). The thing is (speaking from experience!) I’m also okay with that. I like projects and changing things. Still, our new house has been a pain in the ass. The builder did not do a great job finishing the interior. We knew this when we bought it, and bought it because the design was amazing, the location was amazing, and the view was what we wanted. So, we will fix it to suit our taste over time. The thing about architecturally interesting homes is that they almost always require more up keep. They push the boundaries of engineering, and therefore are more prone to issues.
On the other hand, older homes (like turn-of-the-century homes) are warm, solid, and nostalgic. Part of their charm is that they aren’t perfect; they’re worn and comfortable. In fact, they look strange to me when they are perfect. But they also come with issues. The most common issues you’ll run have to do with heating, whether or not doors can actually close, sewer lines, an inadequate number of electrical outlets for the modern homeowner, etc. But day to day, they don’t age as much, as they have already developed a patina. We had a 100-year-old home several years ago, and I loved it. Each time I walked in, I thought wow, what a stunning place! The attention to detail was definitely something that is not on the mind of many of today’s developers. Plus, some of the wood used in these old homes is so expensive now that it is NEVER used today. Still, that 100-year-old home we owned had the usual “old home issues.” Plumbing backups, popping breakers, cold breezes, and doors that would open themselves if our dogs pushed just right. You just have to be okay with old home quirks.
Then you can just give me a mid-century modern as the best of both worlds. I love the optimism that must have existed when these homes were on the drawing board. They are still modern by today’s standards, but with a warmth that new moderns can lack. During the mid-century, they were not afraid to span long beams that opened the floor space, fill the walls with floor-to-ceiling windows, and install open stairs with open. Saving money wasn’t focused on as much as it is today.
Cookie Cutter Homes
Even cookie cutter homes have a place. They may not have the style or grandeur of other homes, but they are reliable if purchased correctly. Our last townhouse was not a stunner, but it was built well. It was comfortable. It held up VERY well. The builder was interested in doing things right. Plus, you can add style with your furnishings and decor. These homes will save you some money, but remember that location still ALWAYS matters. “Cookie cutter homes” are the Honda Accord of homes—they’re good homes that are also reliable. If you’re not a fashionista and practicality reigns supreme, then you might find these homes to be the best fit.
I guess the point of this blog is to say… What type of home are you? Do you like simplicity and worry free? Do you like homes that are charming, cozy, and nostalgic? Do you like modern or architecturally interesting homes? Think about how you live. Think about the clothes you love. Think about the car you drive. You don’t need to like what everyone says is cool. You will love what you love. When you’re shopping for a home, go into it with an open mind. See all types of homes. Then only buy when you get that feeling of love!