how come the negative laminate view?

marjenApril 29, 2008

We put our house on the market a couple weeks ago. We have had around 10 or so showings so far. We have gotten lots of positive feedback but the one thing that has come up 3-4 times is the complaint that we used laminate on the first floor instead of hardwood. Now we did not use cheap laminate and it looks beautiful and many people have thought it is wood. Many of the wood floors used in houses around here are just cheap builders grade oak, usually with lots of scuffs, gouges and nicks. So not sure why the laminate which in my experience has held up much better to pets and kids and high heels gets such a bad rap. I would choose it any day over most wood installs I have seen. Anyway I was just surprised this had come up as I thought our floors were an asset.

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Laminate flooring is typically considered a less expensive alternative to hardwoods. I know there are several advantages to laminates (they don't scratch the way hardwoods do is a biggie), but hardwoods offer several advantages of their own.

Hardwoods can typically be refinished, not so with laminates. It's easier to repair hardwoods, hardwoods have a uniqueness about them -- no two boards look the same, as opposed to the photo image appearance of laminates where the boards repeat themselves. Also the life expectancy of hardwoods is at least 25 years, not so with laminates where I believe the life expectancy is tops 20 years.

That said, if you're in a high end home, I'd definitely go with hardwoods, if it's a lower price point home then it may be more acceptable to go with laminate.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 10:07AM
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I also like laminate and would chose it over hard woods any day (including in a high end home) - it's much easier on my feet and holds up better to the kids and our pets.

But many people don't know those pluses to laminate - tv and magazines tout hardwoods. Also, is your house perhaps a period or style that would dictate hardwood as a norm?

There's always something that some people will see as a negative in every home. Just wait it out, soon enough you'll end up with a buyer like me - someone who is appreciative of the high quality laminate you installed.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 10:54AM
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People usually just prefer natural products over man made imitations, despite any advantages the man made products have.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 11:01AM
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also, remember that in today's market, buyers have come to believe that the houses they buy should have everything they want, everything top-of-the-line.

Everything that SOUNDS top-of-the-line, whether it's a pain to live with or not. They're all buying marketing blurbs, not real dwellings.

I have sheet vinyl in my kitchen, because it's seamless, tough as nails, and easy to clean. If we go on the market again, I'm really tempted to have it taken out and cork put in, just because "cork" sounds better than "sheet vinyl" (it'll be a battle w/ DH, though).

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 11:12AM
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There is no laminate that looks like real wood to people that know what real wood looks like. If you like laminate that is fine, it may be a good choice for you. But the fact is it costs less and makes a house worth less than some other materials and buyers know that.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 11:12AM
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If someone who has big dogs looks at your house, they will appreciate the laminate. At least, they should. I wanted laminate but DH won out with hardwood, uber-hard-hickory-with-an-aluminum-oxide-finish-that-will-stand-up-to-anything.

Riiiiigggghhht. Anything but DOGS, maybe. One of the dogs, a lab, is really old and she has a hard time getting up, so she uses the floor and her nails to push herself into an upright position. Even though we keep her nails short, she still has trashed the wood finish.

I WISH we had gone with laminate. I have some friends who have it and I love walking on it, it feels...soft. When we redo the basement, oops I mean LOWER LEVEL, I want to put in laminate for sure.

Also, plenty of the laminates cost more (sometimes A LOT more) than the lower-end hardwoods that many people install. If yours is not the cheaper stuff, use that as a selling point. At the very least, leave a marketing brochure about the laminate from the flooring store and leave it with all the other house papers with warranties and such.

Plenty of people who go tour houses (yes, even with realtors, not just open houses) aren't totally serious about buying, or buying at that time, at least...but that they are "getting a feel" for what's out there, how it compares to their house, etc. So they just say...whatever. If someone is serious about your house and the laminate is really a problem, they will simply try to negotiate that as they make offers.

Good luck with your sale!


    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 11:23AM
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I honestly have never walked on laminate, no matter how pretty it looks, that doesn't feel like laminate. There is a sound and feel to wood that laminate just doesn't have.

The complaints you have made about wood can also apply to inexpensive laminates - scuffing, nicks, gouges, discoloration, etc. Your laminate may be tough as nails but buyers might think that your laminate might have the same problems down the road. You can refinish wood, you can't refinish laminate.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 11:23AM
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I used to think that laminate didn't "sound" like real wood... until I walked my friend's new hardwood that was installed over concrete. It sounded just like laminate, to me. I was amazed at how different flooring sounds depending on the sub-structure (is that the right word?).

My only objection to laminate is purely due to dogs. It is so much more slick than wood - and my greyhound cannot get her footing. Her legs actually slide out from under her and she refuses to move. And although my other dog can walk around - when she runs, it's all a mass of slippage --- one minute she's up - the next she's down. So, although it might not be damaged by their racing around, I'm afraid of injury. Course, my wood floors now have a good "patina" from my dogs nails!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 12:32PM
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THe house is not a period piece or anything. Its a custom colonial. Laminate in many cases can and does cost as much as hardwood. Yes exotic and high quality hardwoods will cost more but in most cases that is not what is used in a standard build. Our house is priced in the high 400's which is about average for CT. Most of the floors were installed in the last 3 years and none of those have a single mark on them. THis is with 2 young children a large Golden Retriever. The kitchens laminate is about 8 years old and still looks very good, a little wear but not much at all. Of course if we had hardwood I am sure they would complain that it needed to be refinished ;) Oh well.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 12:46PM
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I totally agree with Terriks. It doesn't matter how "hard as nails" laminate is, it's not a natural product and people like natural especially when it comes to wood and stone. When I hear "laminate" I think, "plastic." There's nothing about the word "plastic" that inspires warm homey feelings. It's all about marketing and what makes people feel good.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 1:42PM
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Interesting post. I had hardwood oak floors in my first house and I sometimes had back pain that I blamed on the floors because I never had back pain before living there. Those floors were as hard as concrete! I had to be careful never to drop anything fragile on them and falling on the floor would leave me sore for days.

Our current house has wall-to-wall carpeting and I've really missed the look of hardwood floors and the ease of cleaning them compared to carpet. I'll definitely give laminate a strong consideration when it comes time to replace some of our carpet.

You can't please all buyers all the time. I like Tradewind/Joanna's advice about marketing your laminate so people understand it's high quality and just as good--if not better--than hardwood.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 1:54PM
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I just may find some info and print it out, might as well. The only reason I bring it up is its an odd issue that I had not anticipated. Its really the only negative feedback we have gotten. Out of all the things people could nitpick I guess I was not thinking it would be our floors.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 2:02PM
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I also agree with Terriks.

Real is better than fake.
Natural is better than plastic.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 3:28PM
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Hey be glad you have had ten showings! So far I have had only two showings in 18 days. (Just finished a Realtor's open house today and we had over 40 Realtors here so I hope things will pick up a bit now) They only had good comments as my Realtor said. So just need to get some people here looking.

As for real over fake. I love wood floors. I had lineolium in homes in the past. Nothing beats the feel of it. I understand that it is now made better than the old kind. But be that as it may, I would still opt for all wood flooring.

As for having comments: I have cedar wood shingles and wood decking and had one of the people comment about its maintenance. Apparently they would rather live in a condo bc every house has some exterior maintenance. Mortar needs repair and pointing, wood trim needs painting or staining. Vinyl and aluminum siding fade and can dent or etch. Stones and bricks can loosen and fall out. Stucco can crack, etc. And they all need power washing occasionally to keep the mold and dirt from building up. Even the new materials have their own problems over time. My sister went to Trex decking and hates how fast it is getting scuffed up from people just walking on it.

I got 10 years out of our last stain on this house. The painters ended up putting several coats on the south side of the house where it tends to fade the fastest and it really helped. The back that faces north hardly needed to be stained again, but I had them do it just the same.

Don't worry about their comments. I think you will find someone who will fall in love with your home in spite of your flooring. But if it is a significant issue, you can always talk to your Realtor about adding some decorating money towards the purchase of your home.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 4:12PM
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To me, laminate = cheap wood substitute. Even if it is high-end laminate.

But if I like a house, I wouldn't care about the floor. Easy enough (and also not too expensive) to replace.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 5:43PM
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I'm wondering if like wallpaper those complaining about your laminate had bad experiences with it because perhaps they had had the cheap grade or some that was put in poorly.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 6:45PM
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Our wood laminate is environmentally friendlier than real wood. It is a mid grade quality laminate with a 25-year warranty. With no natural material drawbacks, it will last longer, given our family makeup ( 2 dogs + grandkids) than the red oak we used to have.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 6:58PM
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...and it looks better!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 6:59PM
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We actually put in laminate over some of our wood floors. It was not cheap and we did spend more on it than a lot of the wood flooring available. Why? Many reasons. The main one being is we live in a 200 year old farmhouse. Believe me, regardless of what my wood the floors are made of, they're just planks. I wanted a wood "look" and laminates can be installed over original (if it is good condition) flooring without doing it any damage or putting in nailing. If somebody starts to pitch a hissy years down the road, the laminate will be easily removed and the old floors will be none the worse for the experience and they can worry about the sanding, and scuff marks.

When we went to the lumber yard to get the wood flooring, the salesman asked about our lifestyle and found out we were professional nurserymen. He just cracked up about the maintenance we would have to do to keep new wood flooring looking anywhere decent. So we went with tile and laminate.

Does it sound different? Sure, because it has a sound barrier under it. It's warmer and quieter than a real wood floor. I have both, and that's what I see in my own experience.

I have seen some really cheesy looking laminates, but I have also seen some with grain relief and astoundingly realistic. They just keep getting better and better, too.

As for natural vs. artificial? Yes, I really understand what you are saying there. I hate plastic anything. But I've seen some pretty high end homes clad in plastic siding. Go figure.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 7:55PM
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Well glad to hear I am not the only one who like it. Anyway. I figure anyone really serious about the house will look past it or put in a lower offer. Its just a little nerve racking as we have a lot riding on our sale. We have already begin the building process on our new house so this thing needs to sell in the next 6-7 months. Just a little stressed!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 8:48PM
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I am in the hardwood camp. However, I like something that is different, and your laminate floors would be a plus for me. I could rip them out and redo them in the type of wood and design that I want. Same for carpet. Give me a house with cruddy carpet so I don't have to feel guilty when I take it out! It would be really, really hard to rip out perfectly good hardwood just because it wasn't artistic.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 10:56PM
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Another laminate person here. It is so much easier to care for and the dogs don't scratch the heck out of it.

Funny comments natural vs. fake ....

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 7:58AM
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Here's something that wasn't mentioned. It's possible that the whole "feel" of the house just isn't doing it for buyers, and the only thing they can really pinpoint as to their reason is the laminate. A whipping boy, so to speak.

I put laminate in my last house right before we sold, but it worked with the rest of the house, and no one had a problem with it.

If buyers are *just* commenting on the floors, then I'll venture a guess that there's not much at their eye level to catch their attention and get them excited.

Of course, this is purely just a thought, and may have no real bearing on what your potential buyers really think. I just know first-hand that buyers will often pick one thing to "blame" their dislike of a house on, when really it's the whole package that makes them uninterested.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 8:21AM
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I don't think its the house itself. Here are some pics of the house to give you an idea what it looks like. No close ups of the floors but you can see them ok in some shots.

Here is a link that might be useful: House Links

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 8:56AM
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Marjen You have a beautiful home! I love your colors and style. I KNOW you will find a buyer. Just hang in there.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 9:36AM
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I agree with those who say it's the laminate. To me, it looks and sounds like plastic, and it says "cheap" to me (even though I realize that one can spend a lot of money on laminate).

In the house photo that shows the entryway, all I can focus on is that vast expanse of fake wood. It looks to be a beautiful home, but I keep looking at that floor and thinking about how I'd have to replace it. It bothers me that much.

I have an objection in general to artificial materials that try to mimic natural ones -- photographs of real wood applied to laminate, a granite pattern in formica, and so on. There's no problem whatsoever in my mind with manmade materials... until they try to pretend they're something they're not.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 9:37AM
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I wonder if people who have such an issue with laminate floors have the same issue with vinyl siding? I mean every house pretty much is wrapped in it. Its man made trying to imitate a natural product. I can not image a house that has wood siding at this point.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 9:51AM
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If this comment is meant to be an indication of why your home hasn't sold,

"In the house photo that shows the entryway, all I can focus on is that vast expanse of fake wood. It looks to be a beautiful home, but I keep looking at that floor and thinking about how I'd have to replace it. It bothers me that much."

All I can say is, "Hogwash!"

The floors are not the reason your home hasn't sold UNLESS every other home in your price bracket & location has hardwood floors & you are some sort of annomoly. It's a beautiful home with many strongly appealing ammenities.

Where are you located? Are you in one of the now infamous Freddie/Fannie "Declining Markets"? What's inventory like in your area? Are any houses selling? How many in your zipcode in the last 90 days?

A potential buyer will say most anything when asked about a home they don't put an offer on. There are many potential buyers (I use that term very loosely) out there right now that are having a great time looking but have no intention of buying until prices fall further. They are just kicking tires.

Relax about the floors, put some marketing hype out if you have something, & relax. Focus on what you do have control over...price, price, & did I mention price? Unless you live in a subdivision of cookie-cutter houses you can't even say, with any degree of certainty, that your home should be lower priced than one with hardwood. Your home may very well have offsetting features. If you haven't already done so get out & take a look at your competition.

You've not been on the market long enough to start worrying. Besides, what are you going to do...tear out the entire floors because 3-4 people didn't like laminate? I don't think so. Lots of people do like laminate for just the reasons you've mentioned. Also, if those floors are making your home more affordable then they are an asset over your competition. Seriously, get out & take a look for yourself what other homes in your location & at your price point offer.


    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 10:06AM
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I have issues with laminate floors and have the same issues with vinyl siding. My house has wood siding. We passed on a house that had vinyl siding because there was no telling how much rotten wood it was hiding underneath (here in the south that's a real problem).

We put high end laminate in a room we use for our dogs (25 year warranty, etc). They hate it because it's too slippery. So then I had to spend another small fortune on getting area rugs just for the dogs so they wouldn't be scared to walk on the floor. It's been down for 2 years now and I can already see discolorations where the dogs vomited while I was at work and it took some coloring out of the floor. I can also see lots of scratches by the dog door from them coming and going in that one spot. It'll get ripped out as soon as we get the money to replace it with solid wood. At least then I can re-finish it when it looks bad.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 10:12AM
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House is not in a sub division. I think its got a lot more to offer than the others houses on the market right now in its price range. THere are not a lot of houses in town for sale within 50k of ours, maybe 10. Only 2-3 of those are as new and only 1 is priced less (but has about 800 less sq ft).

I don't think the floors are that big a deal, just seeing if others thought it was. Our realtors office brought it up as well. It has only been on for 3 weeks I think avg DOM right now is around 100. I figure it will sell at some point this summer. Its just we just entered into contract to build a new house and so everyone involved is concerned about this house not selling .The lawyers have spooked me. I am not really a risk taking, and would not do this if I was not pretty sure it would not sell. The builder is giving us till Feb 15, 2009 even if the house is done sooner, which it should be done in Dec. That is almost a year, if I can not sell for a fair price in that time period well then things are really quite bad.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 10:42AM
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I think it's a beautiful home -- while I definitely prefer hardwoods over laminate, if the price were right I'd buy a home with laminate, knowing that I could replace the laminate with hardwoods in the future. I've purchased homes that were carpeted and removed carpet to reveal hardwoods if they were there, or replaced the carpet with hardwoods if hardwoods weren't there.

My daughter replaced all the carpeting in her first house with laminate and it looks great and is definitely an improvement over carpet. Replacing the carpet with hardwoods would have been overkill in her price range.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 10:49AM
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I mean every house pretty much is wrapped in it. Its man made trying to imitate a natural product. I can not image a house that has wood siding at this point.

Really? It must depend on the area. I can count on one hand the number of homes I have seen in my area with vinyl siding. Homes here (southern Oregon) have wood, hardi-plank or stucco. Vinyl siding would definitely be a negative here, though I know it is very common in other areas.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 11:02AM
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Maybe I'm in the minority. Having recently sold and bought, there are some things that wouldn't phase me. When I sold, my house went as is. AS IS didn't mean in poor condition. It meant that it reflected my choices for my home. If someone didn't like my carpet, they could choose to rip it out or not buy the house. If they didn't like that Ralph Lauren green accent wall, then paint or don't buy the house. Ya know... Serious homebuyers need to focus on layout and structural integrity.

Laminate will and does work for some folks. Give yourself a break and don't try to please everybody.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 11:05AM
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Sorry yes, I meant in my market. In out areas of the country it would be different. They don't really build houses around here anymore without vinyl unless it is super high end.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 11:07AM
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Your house photos look great. Everything looks brand new! I can't *see* any problem with the floors. The foyer does look a bit bare with no rug; maybe that's why lookers focus on the flooring? It's their first impression of the house.

Did I miss it or is there no photo of the master bath?

My only contribution to the flooring debate: Some hardwood floors look just awful to me because the jobber has used all or too many short boards, making the floor look like a patchwork.

I like hardwoods, but the argument that 'you can always refinish them' fails to take into account how big a deal that is -- messy and expensive. (You may even have to repaint!) If you have a house like ours with no have to move out and store your furniture for a week to get it done.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 11:10AM
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I don't really like laminate, I'm a big fan of hardwood floors. But it wouldn't stop me from buying a house I otherwise liked. So I agree with those who said that they weren't serious buyers anyway.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 11:31AM
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Arguing about laminate vs. hardwood is like arguing about commercial vs. residential carpet, or wall paper vs. paint color.
It all can be replaced.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 12:06PM
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Triciae, you said about my comment earlier:
If this comment is meant to be an indication of why your home hasn't sold,

"In the house photo that shows the entryway, all I can focus on is that vast expanse of fake wood. It looks to be a beautiful home, but I keep looking at that floor and thinking about how I'd have to replace it. It bothers me that much."

All I can say is, "Hogwash!"

And all I can say is, that's what MY reaction is to the laminate. At no time did I say, or mean to suggest, that the OP should take this as typical of everyone's reaction in her market. OP asked about why people had a negative view of laminate. I answered it. For me.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 12:13PM
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Your home is very nice. That may be the reason you received the comments re: the laminate that you did. The house inside is fairly classic cottage, as is the outside. Part of the "package" of that style is wood floors. People attracted to your photos are likely the same people that would prefer wood over laminate (or carpet). At least that's my take on it. It's just going to take the right buyer.

My father's SO used lamimate that looks like wood at her beach house. Wood would have been trashed in no time (house is RIGHT on the beach, lots of little kids coming and going) and we couldn't talk her into tile. She loves it, but if she goes to sell she will face issues because of it (it's a $1m+ house). And she knows that (she is a REA).

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 12:34PM
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Two things - we did not look at homes with vinyl siding and when we went into homes with laminate, we said thanks but no thanks. Your home appears to have a nice stone fireplace, decent wood trim on the windows and doors...and a fake floor. To me, it's fake.

Re the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac declining markets - that's what our village is saying "hogwash" to. All 4 of our zip codes were designated to be declining and our city govt, homeowners and potential home buyers pretty much say hogwash to those branches of the Feds.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 1:31PM
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Your house is just beautiful, inside and out. It looks like you are located in my sister's neighborhood in New Jersey.

I can tell, even from far away pics, that the floor is laminate and I prefer real wood to laminate any day. However, if I was serious and the price was good, I would snap up your house in a second.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 2:29PM
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I'm unsure of what you mean about the "hogwash" to Fannie/Freddie comment. My understanding is that credit standards are higher and loan to value ratios lower in "declining" markets. I'm not sure how saying "hogwash" to that will make it easier to buy or sell a home.

I agree with you, though, about fake materials and that also applies to fake stone, especially inside.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 3:44PM
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We bought a house with laminate two years ago. Last month my kids spilled a big pitcher of water on the floor and didn't tell me. What you see in the following picture is what the floor looks like FOUR FEET AWAY-the water sank underneath the laminate, the underlayment sucked it up and it has wrecked the ENTIRE hallway of laminate. About 1 gallon of water that didn't get noticed for 4 hours, when I walked into the hallway and water squirted up along the baseboards. The floor is now so badly bowed that the transition piece that originally topped the floor here from the slate popped off...

It's tile for me when I replace this. The 40 yo slate that is next to it is completely fine...

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 3:48PM
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Laminate CAN do that. When we installed it in the kitchen, we glued each plank as it went down. It may have been overkill, but that was the recommendation by the manufacturer in areas where water is part of the millieu, like kitchens and baths.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 4:32PM
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You might want to mention in your listing that it is laminate and such and such brand/quality etc. As somebody else mentioned it is likely buyer think it is wood from the pictures and are disappointed it is not. However, highlighting its good features and preparing people might make a difference.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 4:52PM
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My hogwash was only directed at Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac's definition of which zip codes are considered declining neighborhoods. They identified our village that way and we have, among other things, one of the best school districts in IL.

Yes, credit standards are my opinion they should have always been this way....however, I don't believe the change in standards is directly a result of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac "redlining" zip codes.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 5:27PM
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I agree that the laminate probably is the 'real' reason that buyer's are passing up your house. It looks like a higher end home from the pics, and in a higher end home most buyers that I take out expect hardwood floors. That of course, is in my area. Perhaps in your area laminate floors in your grade of home are normal? If so, then I don't see a problem. But if most homes of your homes 'level' have hardwoods, having laminate would definitely be a drawback for most buyers.

I have redone a lot of homes - prefer to buy fixer uppers. This house is problematic because it is beautiful and 'move in ready' except that all the laminate floors have to come out and that is a BIG and expensive job because it looks like you have them all over the place.

As a buyer I would also feel that I was paying for new laminate floors in the asking price, when that isn't what I would want, and it will be even more costly to get rid of them and have to pay again for hardwoods.

I think it has almost certainly narrowed your buyer pool significantly and if that is the buyer feedback you are getting, I don't understand why other posters are trying to make it sound like that's 'excuse feedback'. No it's the REAL feedback. They like the house, but don't want to have to deal with laminate floors.

I think your best bet is to play up the floors as some others have suggested. Make it a feature in terms of the quality, and I like the idea of leaving the brochure around for buyers to see. Or as another poster mentioned, add a 'floor budget' for buyers so they know they have money to do the job with. Then those people who actually like laminate will feel that they got some 'free' money and be delighted with their deal, and a buyer who doesn't like them may not be as put off by them knowing that there is money put aside to have them done and that the seller isn't expecting them to pay a premium for the exisiting laminate floors.

At least this a good lesson for your new house. If you plan on being there a long time, put whatever you want in! But know that it may affect your resale down the line to use laminate in large areas of a more expensive home.

Good luck with your sale!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 5:29PM
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Serious homebuyers need to focus on layout and structural integrity.

While I agree with this to some degree, and I don't think that sellers should change out everything in the house to meet the whims of some hypothetical buyer, I do think that this attitude can be limiting. Keep in mind that there are (especially now) a lot of houses on the market to choose from. As a seller, you do have competition.

When I'm looking to buy a house, I'm strongly inclined to buy one that doesn't need much work. So if I look at two houses, one of which has a flooring (or siding or whatever) option I like and one of which doesn't, I'm much more likely to make an offer on the former. Yes, I can make a lower offer and use the savings to fix the things I don't like. No, it's not that big of a deal to do so. But it is one more thing to deal with after closing, and I do have other things I'd like to spend my time and energy on. If there's a similar house on the market that doesn't have the same problem (and in my experience there almost always is), I'm probably going to look there.

These little things can make a difference. Unless your house offers something compelling to offset the negative (e.g. a location that can not be matched by any competitor), it is a disadvantage.

All that said, I'm not suggesting that marjen rip out the laminate and replace it with hardwood. I'm not a huge laminate fan, but the house looks beautiful and (if priced right), I'm sure it'll sell.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 6:12PM
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Well I am going to wait it out for now and see how it goes. Our house is actually no where near high end. we are priced at $480k which is about average for my area of CT. High end houses in my town are about $650k+. We are priced about 40k less then the closet new construction. THere are not many houses on the market in our town between 400k and 500k, maybe 8-10. We have some things none of them have (home theater, basketball court, lots of build ins and upgraded moulding, main level garage and master suite) but do not have the hardwood or a separate dining room. If it keeps coming up I may just go to lumber liquidators and find the cheapest hardwood I can and install the crap in the living, kitchen and foyer, thats only as a last resort of the house has not sold by maybe mid summer.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 7:04AM
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The details visible in the pictures make the house appear to be a higher-end home: Two story family room with river rock fireplace chimney, beefy moldings, in-home theater, large private lot with a view, stone wall out front, large entry foyer. Although the house may not be a "high-end" home for your particular area, it clearly is a higher-end home with a nearly 1/2 a million dollar asking price.

I agree with Hoboken: The majority of buyers at the ½ million dollar price point in the New England market would anticipate hardwood throughout the majority of a home of this age, quality and price point, and would view the laminate floor as not in keeping with the overall higher-end quality for the house.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 8:24AM
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Your home is lovely. The setting looks very nice, too.

I like hardwood. I recognize the potential advantages of laminate to some households (not mine). Laminate would not stop me from buying a home, though it would affect my offering price. If I were in your shoes, I would not replace the floors. I would price the house right. If an otherwise serious buyer objects to the laminate, negotiate a flooring allowance.

I understand your frustration, and I hope your midsummer plan is exagerated as I cannot imagine getting the cheapest, lowest grade wood from LL. A patchwork of knotty, short boards could look awful in your home and would be hard for a buyer to remove. I can't imagine you really doing that to your lovely home.

You didn't ask, so I hope you won't mind if I point out a couple items that are a lot easier to change than all that flooring. I'd like to see a slightly larger light fixture centered the over the dining table, especially since you don't have a separate DR. The back of the island (knotty pine?) doesn't seem to match the cabinets or the trim work; as it is in a main sightline, I think it should match if possible. I like your colors very much, but some paint colors may be too strong for some buyers.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 10:17AM
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There are personal choices that everyone makes in their home such as laminate, wallpaper, paint colour, tiling etc. When you are selling there are always going to be buyers that do or do not like your choices/taste. It seems as this thread has progressed that their are people that are for and against laminate. So will be the case with buyers.
As for laminate vs. hardwood, I think that it will depend on the buyer. I have laminate in my house because I have a big dog and kids. Hardwood would have been nice too, but I knew that they would scratch the heck out of it. My laminate looks good and is easy to care for. Sure, hardwood can be re-finished but that is a major, messy, inconvenient job. I know that I cannot move my family out of the house every few years so the hardwood can be refinished to keep it looking nice. And judging by the many homes with scratched, dented hardwood that I have seen, neither can many others.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 11:11AM
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grayce has a point. No sense in continuing to hash this out, we will all never agree. Just hoping it does not impede a sale, wish us luck.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 11:41AM
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"My hogwash was only directed at Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac's definition of which zip codes are considered declining neighborhoods. They identified our village that way and we have, among other things, one of the best school districts in IL."

Your school district is not a consideration in determining "Declining Market" status.

They look at the number of sub-prime & Alt-A loans in a given area, the current delinquencies, projected delinquencies, foreclosure stats, number of homes on the market, DOM, & their vast appraisal data base (the largest in the country by far!).

Then, a decision is made as to whether an area is declining, or not.

You're not alone in not liking the system. I don't like it either. I'm just trying to explain what it is and what it isn't. It's not arbitrary. It's statistically based. Stats are hard to argue against...and certainly a school district will change nobody's mind. The agencies are bleeding heavily. The "Declining Market" designations are band-aids on a much larger wound.

The appraiser has considerable influence on the designation of any given area. There's a little box on the standard residential appraisal form that says, "Declining Market". If that box is checked by the appraiser...that neighborhood is toast.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 12:03PM
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Any updates on the sale of your home and if the new buyer did not mind the laminate? Hope it sold to someone who would love to have laminate floors.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2008 at 10:55PM
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I used hardwood instead of laminate BECAUSE we have dogs.

We installed laminate in our bedroom, to test it out before re-flooring the rest of the house. I hate it. The dog's nails make a maddening click-click when they walk around at night, and it's also too slippery for them. One of our older dogs fell on it once.

We used oak in the rest of the house.

But as the responses here show, some people prefer laminate. The right buyer will come along, OP. Hang in there.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 3:24PM
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The house is gorgeous and immaculate. There is so much pre-conditioning of buyers these days, gotta have granite/stainless/tray ceilings/wood floors. People who have never lived with tiled kitchen floors and natural hardwoods have no true understanding of the downsides. People with subway tile in their bathrooms have likely never wanted a color change or lived through an earthquake.

This looks like a "kids and dogs" kind of house to me. I think you should promote the laminate (or more specifically, the buyers' agents should be smart enough to promote it to people with dogs/kids). If the house is just not moving (and the visual tour is still up), you could let your agent know that you would give a flooring allowance IF there were viable buyers who were stalled on the laminate.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2008 at 1:52PM
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I had hardwood in my former house in Georgia-kitchen, family room, and hall. I would never have hardwood in a kitchen again. It was a pain in the neck. I worked extra hard to keep that floor looking good. I have three kids, a cat and a dog. When the house went on the market, I spent hours on my hands and knees touching up that floor. This was solid 3/4 oak. I had laminate in the house we just sold-good quality. It was perfect-easy care and always looked good. We are moving into our new house on Friday. We have tile in the kitchen and carpeting, but I know there are wood floors under those carpets (house built in 1966). I will pull up the carpets and have the floors done, but I am going to go for a slightly distressed look and will only do it in the dining room and living room-not the family room or kitchen. I know people are really into expensive wood, granite and tile these days, but I have to say I don't need the upkeep on these type surfaces. I had some tile improperly installed in the master bath in Georgia ( contractor). The leak was between the shower and the tub. The whole floor rotted out. It costs a fortune, and we had to disclose it when we sold. I had a vinyl floor in the my bathrooms in the house I just sold-looked good and was easy to clean. Sometimes expensive material and real life just don't mix.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 8:11PM
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Lori A. Sawaya

With laminate there is a vast array of choice in pattern and color. Personally, I think there are too many choices of laminate and that contributes to it being perceived as being lesser than hardwood. They would have been better off keeping the choices limited and steering completely clear of color trends but that's another conversation.

What one person thinks is *gorgeous* laminate flooring looks like cheap imitation garbage to another. Reason being laminate is an artistic interpretation of real wood and the matter of personal appeal and taste is a big deal and poses quite the challenge to the laminate designers. I hear all the time that certain laminates look so much like real hardwood floors that it's hard to tell the difference. Oh yeah? I think that depends on who ya ask.

Real wood will never have the same stigma because it is real wood. It has an established reputation of being quality, high end, and desirable. It is what it is and if it does not meet a certain asethetic, in the back of people's minds there is always at the very least the possibility of being able to change the color with refinishing or some how refurbish it -- albeit "some day".

With laminate, you're definitely stuck with whatever someone else thought was super nifty and good looking and have to live with whatever condition they left it in.

It doesn't have the reputation or the track record that real hardwood has and it never will. It will always be considered a step down from the real thing because the core of it's design is to be a facsimile of real wood. Laminate is in a race where it might be able to keep up but will never be able to pull ahead and win.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 1:13AM
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This has been an interesting thread. I am in the "I don't like laminate but it wouldn't stop me from making an offer" camp.

So, have you had any offers? Has it sold?

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 4:17PM
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Bumping up this thread to see if you have any offers on your home or if it was sold? To me quality laminates that look like wood are very nice and would not stop me from making an offer on a home.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 7:30PM
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I just stumbled across this thread this evening, and found all of the comments interesting.

However, I am curious whether marjen has sold the house yet.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2008 at 1:23AM
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I am also curious if Marjen sold the house and if she had to give a flooring allowance or if she found a buyer who loved the easy care laminate floors?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 11:09AM
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We sold our house last year with extensive attractive laminate flooring and it was not considered a negative. Todays society is environmentally more aware of what is a better alternative in construction and design and many are leaning toward that.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 12:16PM
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berniek, Thanks for letting us know that the laminate flooring was not considered a negative. I think more buyers are accepting laminate flooring as an attractive alternative flooring that can be quality depending on the brands and quality bought. Which species of wood did your laminate emulate?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 1:30AM
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I'm in the real hardwood floor is better camp. It wouldn't stop me from buying a house but I would knock off monies from the price of the house because it would be replaced with hardwoods. More of a concern to me is why in this market would you be building a new home before selling the old one. Holding 2 mortgages is stressful and something I would not want at all. I would not be as confident as you about any home selling in a time frame in this market. But maybe your area has not been touched by the down trend? Have you sold the old homestead yet? NancyLouise

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 8:05AM
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"Which species of wood did your laminate emulate?"

I think it was Armstrong, but I'm sure it was "Black Walnut".

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 2:28PM
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I'll have to admit....that although I am still in the "real hardwood" camp, the newer laminates are MUCH better than the first ones to come out. It had such a "hollow" sound when people walked on it that is just screemed "fake". They are getting much better, especially if it is glued down, that I might have to redeem myself some day.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 4:48PM
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I would prefer some of the newer laminates than the cheapest engineered wood floors with hardly any wear layer and rotary peel cut of the wood.

I am still deciding on an engineered wood floor that has a nice wear layer and a sawn cut of the wood or a sturdy laminate. My problem is that I love the Brazilian Cherry in the day time in my home but at night the samples look so dark. I really need to see a floor in person that has Amendoim hardwood flooring, Brazilian Cherry Flooring, Mirage Lock Natural Red Oak, and Bruce Park Avenue Makore. I really love the Makore Laminate but just wish it has a touch of a red tint to go better with my home office cherry furniture.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 11:47PM
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I have the BR111 Amendoim brazillian cherry and it is beautiful. It's glued down to the slab. It has the aluminum oxide coating, but it scratches if you look at it too long.
I used to have real hardwood planks in my 1920's home. Give me that again any day. It did not scratch as easily as this engineered wood.
We chose laminate at first, but our installer came and talked us out of it talking about how the engineered wood would add value to our home later, blah blah. We live in what is now considered a higher end starter home neighborhood. I don't think we'll ever see what we spent if we sell.
My main complaint is more installation oriented. There are a few boards that are not totally flush with each other, and you can feel that when you walk barefoot. There is even one area where the floor dipped, and they installed over that, and the board cracked. Luckily not in a noticeable place.
Our dogs have been relegated to a life outdoors because of this floor! Sorta wish I had gone with laminate, or gone all out for the real planks instead of engineered.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2009 at 7:35PM
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Southernstitcher, Which do you have the Amendoim or the Brazilian Cherry floors? Are your floors the Triangulo Engineered 3.25" wide or the Triangulo 5" wide or just the plain engineered with the thinner wear layer?

Any Pictures?

I am sorry you regret your decision. I am still deciding and now have until 6-15-09 to decide and then I have to make a final decision.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 1:30AM
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