Rickety Bones

SimplicityTwo separate customers were in my office today in the midst of snow flurries inquiring on properties. Both of them happened to touch on how the market is in Mason City with the sale prices of homes being all over the map. I did mention to one and showed her the listing of a home that was a classic example of a glitzy glossed over home that was turned from one style to another and done in my opinion for re-sale purposes only. There appeared to be no careful planning for long term functionality and for sure the quality contained, was minimal at best. I gave an example of another older home that recently sold for far more than I ever would have imagined which contained a re-skin of an original turn-of-the-century interior from its boxy country style, to an attempt at creating a Cape Cod look in the interior.

When I walked into that home with my buyer I couldn’t help noticing all the mistakes in finish work made in door frames and woodwork as well as the very cheap materials used. I can’t imagine how anyone could expect plastique skinned composite doors and woodwork to hold up over the long haul of normal daily living. You would have to be careful not to bump or scratch any doors or woodwork for fear of exposing their composite interiors. I was quick to point out that there are distinct grades of vinyl siding and if the low grade appears satisfactory at the time of installation, it will likely in time be cursed for not holding up to the few exterior bumps and scratches that happen as well as the from the great temperature swings we have in North Iowa.

I am becoming more convinced that many buyers don’t educate themselves enough regarding not only intrinsic values, but also the lasting values they simply take for granted as being long term. Too must information is being supplied that isn’t always the most helpful in making a commitment of home ownership. Whenever I see on a listing sheet that this or that feature is new, I don’t give my opinion on increased value until I see the “new” update. Just because it’s new, doesn’t mean that it’s of high quality and assumed to have a long term affect on value. From the quality of shingles, siding, woodwork, cabinetry, countertops, doors, windows, and the list goes on; the enduring quality of these upgrades will determine the life expectancy of each. So, if you happen to look at a home with low budget upgrades, you will likely be looking at replacements more sooner than later.

There are a number of homes on the market that are about as rock-solid as they get, but they continue to remain on the market simply because many of the buyers consider this or that feature to be out-dated and thus undesirable. Instead of looking at the “now” pictures of a home, I think it best to look at the possible future pictures before spilling some ink on an agreement to purchase. There are times when rickety bones have some of the most charming of dressings.

Joe Chodur

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