Saturday, January 06, 2007

Cliché Housing Luxe is Losing its Luster

Finally. All this trendy crap that has been invading houses to pump up prices is being seen for what it is. Mariners could learn a lot from this. I know people who have torn out some of this crap because of the hastle. And the fading bamboo floors thing is for real; I've seen that too.
Knowing what is really hot, vs. what used to be hot but has gone cold, is key to understanding the real estate market today, real estate agents say. "When people have more choices, they become pickier," said Melinda Estridge, a real estate agent (in) Bethesda.

Will those gleaming stainless appliances help sell your home? How about that spiral staircase? Spiral staircases, are definitely out, the agents said. Some relatively new features, things that were hot just a few years ago, are starting to feel dated, or are actually inciting a negative backlash at least among some buyers.

Stainless steel kitchen appliances, not too long ago a must for any kitchen that wanted to be considered luxe, are beginning to get mixed reviews. The real estate agents gave them a thumbs-down, saying that many buyers were irritated by the need to wipe down the steel all the time to conceal fingerprints. Real estate broker Mark Nash acknowledges that builders say they help sell houses, but said some buyers who own them have gotten irritated by the upkeep.

Glass-front cabinets lose their appeal to some neatness-challenged homeowners who have trouble keeping their dishes arrayed in tidy rows.

Some real estate agents say vessel-style sinks, the sleek bowl-shaped, above-counter bathroom sinks, are falling from fashion because they, too, are hard to keep clean. Jane Fairweather, an agent in Bethesda, and many of the real estate agents surveyed, aren’t too keen these days on those cool-looking bowl-style sinks. Water can splash out on the floor, leaving the owner mopping up over and over, particularly during parties when they are getting a lot of use. Several of Fairweather’s clients have ripped out their vessel sinks and replaced them with standard cabinets. “These fancy sinks are great, wonderful, but when it comes to utility, where do you put the toilet paper and the things you don’t want people to see?," said Mark Gude, an agent in Northwest Washington, who specializes in the D.C. market. "Bowl sinks are on the way out. Shaving in them is not fun — the gunk, the soap scum, gets everywhere.”

Fairweather (said) bamboo, with its variegated honey tones and unique grain patterns — is losing popularity in single-family houses. The problem? They just aren’t as durable as some other kinds of floors.” “People see them as a wonderful new thing, but their day-to-day utility is less than hardwood," Fairweather said. "They’re not as sturdy, they’re much softer than hardwoods, and if you’re raising children, they’re not so good.” Ginger Harden, a real estate agent in Vienna, said a buyer who was purchasing an almost-new condo in Reston loved the beautiful bamboo floors. When the transaction closed and the seller’s furniture was removed, though, it became apparent that the flooring had faded with exposure to the sun. “You could see where every piece of furniture had been,’ Harden said. “It was a negative to my buyer.”

“I’m hearing people say, ‘I’m tired of it," Nash said." They say: ‘I don’t have time to polish it. I have kids. I have dogs. It’s too high maintenance.’” "You want something that in 10 years will still be desirable," Thompson said. "There are some trendy things that are kind of cool, but look at the houses that were built in the 1980s and 1990s — people think they need to redo the whole thing now."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've NEVER liked stainless steel appliances. To me, these appliances, along with granite countertops, large commercial refridgerators, and the barrage of Ikea-esque furniture will soon look as outdated as some of those autumn gold appliances from the 70's.
A more recent example would be the dot-com era tastes that look horrendous, just a short 7 years ago- like Imacs, Lime green painted walls, and super shag carpeting.

Jan 17, 2007, 8:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yup, "sage" green walls and Pergo floors seem to be a Bay Area ubiquity. I say *yack*

Jan 17, 2007, 8:58:00 AM  

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