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Sunday, March 30, 2014

For hidden value, peek under the carpeting

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         Active Rain is a web site frequented mostly by real estate agents but also by those interested in real estate issues.  Occasionally, the site will publish an article targeted to those looking to purchase a home.  One recent such article shared the results of a survey of real estate professionals about what “hidden gems” often go unadvertised and are not included in the listed prices of homes for sale.

         The most valuable hidden gem is “Hardwood floors under the carpet”; more than 82% of agents said this was a moderately to extremely valuable hidden feature.  It recalled for me the time in the early 1980s when my wife and I purchased a colonial home in Simsbury, CT, that was way underpriced.  When we visited

It was yellow from chain smoking where the walls and ceiling met. But under the cat stained shag carpeting was a "hidden gem."

it with our real estate agent, we quickly learned why:  All the areas where the walls met the ceilings were a pale yellow, the result of chain-smoking by the sellers.  And the heavy shag carpet with signs of pet stains had me looking toward the front door.  But Mrs. G wisely asked our Realtor about what was under the carpet, and he went to a corner of the living room, pulled up an edge and there was perfect hardwood flooring.  We bought the house for $129,000 and sold it two years later for $199,000 after about $10,000 worth of cosmetic investments that did not include any work on the perfect floors.  In short, count me as one real estate who believes wood floors hidden under carpet are indeed a gem.  

         The second most valuable hidden gem, say real estate agents, isn’t hidden at all; it is “great landscaping.”  It is pretty hard to hide well-sculpted bushes and plantings but, perhaps, the notion here is that sellers don’t really factor into their list price the value of their landscaping.  For a buyer, beautiful landscaping can be a two-edged sword –- like cheap initiation fees at a golf club followed by expensive monthly dues.  Using our own experience again as buyers, the exterior of our current house showed exquisitely when we made an offer on it 21 years ago.  The prior owners were British and, stereotypes aside, you know how the English feel about their gardens.  Ours was/is filled with azaleas and other plantings that make for a colorful spring and summer.  The problem is that the grounds require constant tending, and I am not a gardener; and although my wife enjoys pruning and the like, we do travel during the growing season, and gardeners are expensive.  “Great landscaping” may be a hidden gem to some, but for me it requires selling some of the family jewels to finance the upkeep.

         “Green upgrades,” such as solar panels and special insulation, also are considered a hidden gem of value by about 75% of the real estate professionals surveyed.  I would venture they are more sensitive about the environment than their customers are.  In almost 10 years of working with hundreds of customers and readers of this blog site, I have had exactly one inquiry about “green” building principles in a golf community.  The environment and global warming are important issues, to be sure, but the only green of interest to those searching for a golf home in the southeast seems to be those you putt on.

Read 3429 times Last modified on Sunday, 30 March 2014 13:53
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Larry Gavrich

This blog was conceived and is published by me, Larry Gavrich, a former corporate communications executive who founded HomeOnTheCourse, LLC, in 2005.  Our firm advises baby boomers and others seeking a lifestyle in which golf is a major component.  My wife Connie and I own a home in Connecticut (not on a golf course) and a condo at Pawleys Plantation in Pawleys Island, SC, on a Jack Nicklaus layout.  We began our search for our home on the course more than 15 years ago, and the challenges of the search inspired me to research golf communities and write objective reviews of them.


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