Hot or Not?
Washingtonpost.com -Chicago-based real estate broker Mark Nash, author of "1,001 Tips for Buying and Selling a Home," polled 5,000 real estate agents from around the country for what features turn For Sale signs into SOLD signs?
He found answers to such questions as:
"Will those gleaming stainless appliances help sell your home? How about that spiral staircase?"
"The results: Some old favorites, such as spiral staircases, are definitely out, the agents said. Spiral staircases are a fad whose time has passed, according to the survey and many local real estate agents."
"Now they are a distinct turnoff for baby boomers who make up much of the market for urban condominiums, because they find them hard to climb and descend. They also make it hard to shift furniture from room to room."
"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."
"...bamboo, with its variegated honey tones and unique grain patterns -- is losing popularity. 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 with the Bryan Group 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. . . ."'
"Stainless steel appliances, for example, now draw criticism because some models are hard to keep smudge-free."
"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."
"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.' "
"Glass-front cabinets lose their appeal to some neatness-challenged homeowners who have trouble keeping their dishes arrayed in tidy rows."
"Vessel-style sinks, the sleek bowl-shaped, above-counter bathroom sinks, are still a popular "wow" feature with some buyers, but some real estate agents say they are falling from fashion because they, too, are hard to keep clean."'
'"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 with Continental Properties 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."'
"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. Although the inventory of unsold homes has dropped from its summer highs, the National Association of Realtors recently reported that there are 3.82 million existing homes for sale in the country, more than double the number on the market in early 2001, before the real estate boom began."