What’s Good for the Goose

Nick Churton of Dale Sorensen Real Estate’s London office suggests a new way of thinking when it comes to selling property.
Microsoft co-founder, Bill Gates, suggests that we overestimate the amount of change which will happen
over two years but underestimate the amount of change over ten. This certainly seems to be the case with
real estate. Our tastes move on hugely over a decade as new materials, technology, design, our experiences
of staying in modern hotels and even watching reality home shows on the television increasingly influence us.
Public opinion and governmental policy also have their effect.

But underlying all these developments are the changes we see in our own lives; the amount of space we
need to occupy, running costs, convenience and the time that could be spent doing other things – sometimes
at stages in life like parenthood or retirement when time is increasingly precious.
Retirees for example have much to consider. Do they want to continue living in large family houses when
there is no large family living there any more? And the desire to head off to rural or waterside retreats, once
the dream of many, is being overtaken by the desire to live in exciting urban environments where there is
life, opportunity, convenience and grandchildren. Growing old gracefully is no longer an appealing prospect
to many.

In the new homes sector this is a big challenge. Few of us live or want to live in the same way we used to.
Developers must work out how people will want to live tomorrow and then create that model today. For
some this might seem courageous speculation, but that doesn’t make it wrong.

In the pre-owned home sector there are different challenges. We are beginning to see a real trend in
adapting dated, multi-zone living spaces that segregate people within the home into larger more inclusive
multi-functional areas. Eating, dining, entertaining and relaxing with family and friends are now desired in one
large single-function area where the bi-fold door finally brings nature indoors and makes the garden an
integral part of the house.

Therefore buying a home has become akin to trading in an old car for a brand new one. When most people
buy a new car today they expect plenty of fresh innovative features, not the same outdated ones their old
car possessed. A new car is a finely engineered and brilliantly designed machine for driving. Buyers of all ages
now think that a home should be a finely engineered and brilliant machine for living.

Those who seek to leave their old homes behind and look forward to enjoying all the benefits that the next
one should offer might spare a thought for the people they want to sell to. Don’t these buyers crave modern
styles and fittings also? Home sellers should remember that and either make their home attractive to the
modern buyer or accept that the price will have to reflect essential modernization works. After all, what’s
good for the goose is good for the gander.

Finding that Perfect Second Home

Finding that perfect winter residence can sometimes be more difficult than buying a primary residence.  There are so many things, other than price point, to consider including what type of community are you interested in, what community amenities are important, what hobbies do you plan to pursue, does the home need to accommodate visitors and more.  It’s important to make a list of your priorities for the time you’ll be living there, and understanding these priorities may be different from the ones you have at your primary residence. But don’t feel overwhelmed, there’s an easy way to narrow your choices down.

First make a list, in order of importance, of the following types of considerations:

What type of community are you looking for, i.e. golf, waterfront, tennis?

Does the community need to be pet friendly?

Do you want a gated, staffed or open community?

What type of interests or hobbies do you plan on pursuing?

Are you planning on hosting visitors from out of the area for extended stays? If so, how many guest rooms do you need?

Are you looking for a full size kitchen with upgraded appliances, or are you planning on eating out a lot?

Do you need a pool and/or a summer kitchen?

Do you want privacy and seclusion with a lot of downtime or do you want to be in the middle of everything?

Is being close to shopping and dining important to you?  How important is it to be close to cultural activities, like festivals, museums and art galleries?

Will you need a home office to be able to conduct business?

Questions such as those listed above can help you determine in advance what’s most important when deciding on a secondary home.  Having this information handy will be most helpful to your real estate agent and in the long run, narrow your choices down to those homes that best fit your lifestyle and needs.

Buying a second or third home is exciting and can be a lot of fun if you’re prepared.