Is Your Home Functionally Obsolete?
Newton Top Brokers, Sotheby’s Newton, MA.
Posted 12PM EST Newton, MA
The definition of functionally obsolete pertaining to real estate is: A reduction in the usefulness or desirability of an object because of an outdated design feature, usually one that cannot be easily changed. That definition applies to many houses currently on the market here in the western suburbs of Boston. An early to mid 20th century Colonial usually has a center stair case and a living and dining on either side of the foyer. The kitchen is generally located behind the dining room and a sun-room located off the living room. For many years the sun room became the family room and everyone was delighted to have that extra space. Of course the living room wasn’t used as often once family rooms or dens became common. These houses were built when hosts didn’t want people in their kitchen when they were having company. Company came over and were led into the living room to have cocktails and Hors d’oeuvres. The cook ran back and forth between the kitchen and the company. Well women got tired of being in the kitchen and missing the party and the living room got shafted.
Victorians are another problem, they were extremely popular 10-20 years ago. They have high ceilings and beautiful wide foyers. Those wide foyers and intricate staircases make for little rooms and difficult renovations. Over the years many people have added beautiful family rooms in the rear of the house off the kitchen. But today’s buyer does not want a right parlor and left parlor and a dining room and a family room and a sun-room…. They don’t want to pay for rooms they don’t use.
Cooking together has become part of the experience. People enjoy cooking now and they want their friends and family in the kitchen with them. Guests WANT to be in the kitchen with their hosts! A desirable first floor today in a “normal” home consists of an open concept living, dining and kitchen, maybe a separate office and a large mud room. 4 second floor bedrooms and at least 3 bathrooms. I don’t know why kids can’t share a bathroom with their siblings anymore? What will they do when they have to share with 20 people in college?
So what does all this mean? It means that the price of your home depends on how desirable your home is perceived through the eyes of a buyer. Buyers have always determined the price of a home, not the seller or their agent. If there is a way to open up the first floor and connect unused living rooms to the kitchen then you’ll be ok. Your home will not sell at a premium because there is an automatic deduction in the mind of the buyer. Most pre-war Colonials were built with a powder room under the front hall stairs, blocking the ability to open up to the kitchen and living room to each other. Relocating a bath is not inexpensive and removing the first floor powder room is not desirable while living in the home or for resale.
Every house is salable! The price melts away objections and gives buyers an opportunity to bring a home into the 21st century.