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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Outdated features can land you a deal as a homebuyer



By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com


When you’re buying or selling a home, what features either hurt or help you?

Buying a home is such an emotional thing. When you go to buy, I’ve long said you want to try to have ice water in your veins.

Homes with dated features can hurt you as seller and help you as a buyer.

There are some things that were so in a decade ago, but are now out. Things like outdoor kitchens and outdoor fire pits were the thing a decade ago. I remember my brother and his wife bought in Arizona last decade and paid extra to have an outdoor fire pit/kitchen put in.

If you are a buyer, you might walk into a property, see one of those pits and think, “No way.” But you should instead exploit a date feature to your advantage. It won’t kill you to have a property with a firepit or outdoor kitchen. Just don’t use the thing if you don’t like it!

As far as other trends of what’s hot and what’s not, the National Association of Home Builders says homes are getting larger again. The average new home is now nearly 2,700 square feet.

Gone are the day of 8’x10’ bedrooms. Because today we expect more. That’s one of the things that has forced hotels to redesign too.

Today walk-in closets in the master and other bedrooms are seen as automatic checkmark. But again, if you go in as a buyer and don’t like the closets, know that it’s cheap to add them and that can be opportunity for you.

Another hot selling point these days are big laundry rooms, which is funny because I can’t think of anyone who actually likes doing laundry!

There’s perennial debate about color in a home. As a general rule, you should make your home neutral to make it sellable. But as a buyer, use your imagination to find things that could be turned into a better buy that meets the eye with just a little work.

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