When looking back on design and styles of decades past, it’s hard to believe people bought into the way things were. But then again, our kids will one day check out our iPhone photo albums and think the same thing. When it comes to real estate, homes that have not been updated in many decades are often marketed with slogans like “original condition” or “Grandma’s dream home,” which are not usually compliments. However, some buyers actually prefer a “vintage / retro” feel and value a more dated design – particularly with Mid-Century Modern (MCM) homes.
Check out the following pictures and tell me if you think any of these features are desirable. Are you ready to bring back some of the older styles?
This is a Streng home with a terrarium, which means plants can grow in soil inside. Mid-Century Modern homes have somewhat of a cult following in the Sacramento area, and some buyers prefer them (while other buyers purchase them not even realizing there is a sub-group of buyers who love them). Read more about Streng homes and check out more photos of River City Commons (a Streng neighborhood).
I haven’t seen too many builders install green carpet lately. My house had shag green carpet while growing up. Did yours?
Ah, vintage wallpaper. If you had to take one of these, which would it be?
Does this house need a remodel or does the older vibe carry a value premium? How do you like the fur toilet seat cover?
I still see wood paneling from the 60s and 70s all the time on appraisal inspections.
My take on vintage/retro vs. outdated: The bulk of buyers prefer recent updates instead of styles from decades past. When a house is totally outdated, it usually means buyers will pay less in light of the huge cost to bring the home up-to-date. However, one man’s retro is another man’s treasure (I don’t know if anyone really says that). While most of the photos above rank high on the ugly scale for many buyers, it’s important to keep in mind that some buyers prefer “vintage” or “retro” elements in certain neighborhoods or with an older style of architecture. There are actually some quite stunning examples of vintage homes out there. This is why it’s important to really know a neighborhood, and for appraisers to suspend personal preferences to uncover the way buyers see the market. What original elements do buyers prefer? What dated features help increase a sense of “charm”? Is there anything an owner should not change about the house if selling?
Questions: What do you think of the pictures? Where is the line between “retro” and “outdated” in your book? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
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