What Your Home Says About You

What Your Home Says About You

You have found what just might be the perfect home plan. You love to entertain and admittedly, when visitors say, “Wow!” or “I love your home,” it feels good. You also enjoy being outside as much as indoors. The home doesn’t have to be large. From what you’ve seen online, 1,500 square foot with at least two bedrooms and bathrooms should work, but the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic taught you there also has to be space for working from home. You’ve kind of “mentally moved in” to the Carter (plan #50015). You want your home to make a statement, and the Carter’s exterior is as stunning as its views from the front entry. Out the back, there are twin covered outdoor living spaces – one for entertaining and one for relaxing. You love the big closet in your bedroom suite and the convenience of its connection with the laundry room as well as its separation from the second bedroom. You order the study print* and get the pricing back from your builder. It’s higher that what you expected and at the top end of what you’re willing to spend, but still doable.

The Carter (below), comes with both 2- and 3-car garage layouts. The curving wall of windows out the back, open layout, and curving kitchen peninsula/eating bar make this a very memorable home!

A resale home comes on the market that seems almost too good to be true. Priced a little bit lower, it’s considerably larger than the Carter, with three bedrooms and three bathrooms. You schedule a walk-through. The home fits right in with the rest of the neighborhood. Very traditional. The mature landscaping is a plus, though the shrubs in front have gotten woody and need attention. There’s a little bit of tile in the front entry, flanked by the open dining room on the left. Straight ahead is the living room with a higher ceiling. You realize the other ceilings are lower than new model homes you had walked through, probably eight-foot high. The breakfast area is visible through an entrance at the back of the living room, but the kitchen is closed off. Some of the appliances are new as is the kitchen sink and laminate flooring. You find out there had been a dishwasher leak and wonder about further damage or mold. There are a decent number of cabinets and amount of prep space, but no island and just a two-foot pantry cabinet. The breakfast area also has an entrance to the family room, which also isn’t open to the kitchen. You like the secondary bedrooms being on one side of the home, in front of the family room, and your suite being on the other side, behind the garage. There’s a big whirlpool tub in your bathroom, but a smaller shower than what you want. Overall, it’s a nice house – simple and functional… but unremarkable.

New vs. used. As in this example, so often that decision comes down to what you want, value, and the tradeoffs you are willing to live with. Purchasing a resale home means inheriting the former owner’s choices. Are your tastes the same as theirs? When you walk into a room, will it make you smile, or bring to mind the changes you would like to make? The long drapes in that resale home provide privacy, but you want easy-clean cellular shades. Mauve was their primary color; you want to see tones of gray. The natural oak cabinets are fine, but they would look better, and you could do more with the kitchen if they were painted. And those basic, boring lighting fixtures appear to have been an afterthought. You find yourself asking, “What were they thinking?” when it comes to all of the different flooring in the home.

Below: Examples of modern design and product choices. (photo credits: Renee D. Calvin Photography)

Range Hood - Strasser
Cabinetry - Strasser
Light Fixture - Strasser

As with studying home plans, one of the benefits of looking at resale homes is discovering what you like, as well as what you don’t particularly care for. The amenities that will make your home “just right.” Harmonizing design with innovative product solutions that reflect you and your priorities. 

The exterior styling, colors, details; the floor plan layout, thoughtful design touches and amenities; the products used, particularly finishes such as flooring, colors, cabinetry, countertops, and lighting; all of these speak volumes about you, the homeowner. They reveal your priorities, values, and aspirations. What others see – is that who you really are, or the home’s prior owners? 

Finally, how will the home you purchase make you feel? New carries a distinct status as compared to used. Opting for a new home allows you the opportunity to get exactly what you want, which appeals to most of us. So much in our lives are outside of our ability to control. We have to play the cards we’re dealt. That’s not the case when we can choose to purchase a brand-new home rather than a resale listing. New home buyers have much more control over their purchase, the design, neighborhood, products used, construction quality, etc. 

*Study Print: A complete set of drawings to use for estimating purposes only. When you join our BudgetWise Bundle℠ program, you can receive up to five study sets for just $100 each. It's a great way to narrow down your favorite plans to get construction estimates without breaking the bank!

For more resources on thoughtful design and products:

Cover photo: <a href='https://www.freepik.com/photos/food'>Food photo created by mego-studio - www.freepik.com</a>

Buying New Avoids Obsolescence

Buying New Avoids Obsolescence

Deep entertainment centers originally designed to accommodate large tube-type TV’s… desks in kitchens, which become clutter magnets… two-story high ceilings that echo and are expensive to heat and cool… hard to reach plant shelves that need dusting… depressing laundry/mud room entries from the garage… amenities such as these can make homes feel old and obsolete. The age of your home often reflects design features and amenities popular at that time. Generally speaking, the older the home, the farther away its design is from what today’s home buyers may be looking for.

The average age of owner-occupied homes in America is 37 years (American Community Survey from the National Association of Home Builders, NAHB). Particularly over the last four decades, professional home designers have catered to evolving home buyer preferences. This, in turn, has somewhat diminished the appeal and desirability of resale homes as prospective buyers factor in the added costs and hassles of remodeling along with the home’s purchase price.

Design Basics’ Monroe home plan (now retired) was popular three-plus decades ago. It is two steps down from the entry into the formal living room, and there is also a step down into the “sunken” family room at the back. Unified great rooms for entertaining are more in vogue today, but not step-downs into living spaces. Similarly, the home’s formal dining room plus separate dinette has fallen out of favor compared to a single eating area, especially one that’s expandable for large get-togethers. The majority of buyers today prefer island kitchens to peninsula layouts, and the Monroe’s little pantry next to the dishwasher isn’t going to turn any heads. That kitchen is also closed off from the living and dining rooms, in contrast to the popularity of today’s open designs.

The vanity in the Monroe’s upstairs suite is wide enough to replace with the much more desirable double sink variety, but the skinny 24-inch wide doors leading into the bathroom, toilet area, and walk-in closet, as well as the hall bathroom, are considered drawbacks today. And it would be virtually impossible to finish living space in the Monroe’s basement with anything much taller than a seven-foot high ceiling. 

Monroe - #746 ML
Monroe - #746 UL
Herndon - #29318 ML
Herndon - #29318 UL

In contrast, the Herndon (plan 29318) has a flex room up front that could easily be closed off for a home office, and this design is wide open across the back. The island kitchen is served by a large walk-in pantry and coming in from the garage, a drop zone, seat, and coat closet rather than the laundry room. Upstairs, the hall bathroom is a compartmented layout with two sinks, alongside the conveniently located laundry room. Your bedroom suite offers great storage, two sinks in the bathroom, and a five-foot shower with the option of also having a soaking tub.

Though 35 square feet smaller and 10 feet narrower, the Herndon plan obviously was designed for today’s buyers.

Resale home prices loosely correlate with the home’s age, which makes sense as pricier, newer resale homes may have fewer design-related deficiencies. On the other side of the equation, new construction homes command a price premium – for example, they typically cost “more per square foot” than resale homes. Resale or new, purchasing a home is a large investment and price is important. It’s a number, and it represents a long-term commitment. But it is more than just a number, as it reflects your priorities, what you are willing to trade-off or settle for, and peace of mind – the topic of our next blog post.

For more resources on thoughtful design and products:

Cover plan featured: Herndon (plan 29318)

Pin It on Pinterest