Value of vintage details // comparative

turtleshopeApril 2, 2012

HI all,

We just looked at a home we are considering purchasing. There is a very good comparative house for this house -- another row house in the same block, built at the same time, same square feet, etc that sold recently. A big difference is that the other house had been renovated such that all vintage details were removed. The house we are considering has a lot of original features, like fireplaces and woodwork. The previous owners tried to restore some details with modern fixtures, too (including some ugly Victorian-style wallpaper).

How do I get a sense of how this would affect the comparative value? We are not particularly Victorian afficionados; I like the wood and high ceilings but would probably be just as happy in a more modern decorated place.

Is there any way to assess how the vintage details would affect resale value, and thus the price we might offer?

Your thoughts are appreciated!

Turtle's Hope

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Well, I think many people value the original features, though they don't like the tiny rooms and little hallways in Victorians. So to me the modern renovation would be a shame. I would like the larger rooms and new appliances that a modern renovation would bring, but not the lack of trim and detail. I think a consideration needs to be the condition of the home. I suspect the recently sold house was crisp, clean, sparkling and ready for move in. Is this one too? I think wall paper is not a consideration. If you don't like it, then remove it. If this house is clean, repaired, sparkling and ready for move in, then I would give it a greater value, but still try to get a good price.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 5:05PM
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The kitchen has been reno'd more than once, but the last time was late 80s, early 90s, I'd guess. So modern appliances. Walls have not been moved; there are many small rooms.

The sold house had one fewer bedroom and one more bathroom; they may have turned a BR into a BA. They both appear to be in move-in condition and well repaired. The sold house did have an extremely awkward kitchen layout, by the looks of the photos, and similar-aged appliances. So in terms of value, it comes down to fresh vintage vs fresh modern.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 6:47PM
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I doubt appraisers would value one finish over another.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 9:21AM
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I don't know how possible it is to put a value on a house that has been restored back to it's vintage condition versus renovating a house to today's standards. There are some people who would prefer vintage, but I would think the majority would prefer the renovation (therefore making it more valuable?). I really admire a lot of the cosmetic features of older homes - I love all the wood trim and brass heater vents, etc, but I also would not be very happy having a claw foot tub, insufficient closet space and leaky windows a lot of these older homes had.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 11:18AM
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its really a toss up. There is modern renovations that are consistant with the style of a house, and then there are cheap Home depot renos, that use hollow core doors and cheap clamshell molding.

There are origonal details that are great, and some that are not and origonal might also mean origonal electric, plumbing and heating that aren't up to snuff.

unless you have a historic house with fantastically restored origonal finishes, I'm not sure I'd put much weight in it, and would probably value the renovated house more assuming it was done to a nice standard.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 3:44PM
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To the right buyer the original details may be worth more.

The problem is finding that buyer.

The lender is interested in how fast they can recover their money.
They are not interested in finding waiting for the 'right' buyer.
Waiting costs them money.

A completely restored historic house is not the same thing, and may not be worth all that much as loan collateral (and possibly less if it comes with restrictions on what can be modified, especially interior restrictions).

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 4:18PM
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This is a very subjective issue. I would get the house that fits your life better rather than worry about what keeps the value up. In the long run, the original detail will keep its value up only as long as the rest the house is also maintained. Unfortunately, the houses that kept the original details are the houses where "nothing" has been done (benign neglect) for half a century.

We have come across this home. Everything in that house is 'original' but the house is not really habitable for a normal person spending $1mil. I am sure the water just trickles through the rusted galvanized pipes. The furnace is a 100 year old original with asbestos wrapped around the ducts. If this house was 'kept up' and habitable, it would have been snatched up in no time in this neighborhood.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 5:55PM
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It's not all original; it looks like the wiring is modern, there are many new windows, there is air conditioning, forced air heat (original would have been steam). It's not historic; it just has wood trim, and attempts to decorate in the Victorian style.

So I think from what the respondents have said is that the vintage-feel has no particular value -- and thus cannot justify the asking price that is nearly 100k more than the very similar modern-decorated place a few doors down sold for 2 months ago! I am off base?

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 6:37PM
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"the vintage-feel has no particular value"

Generally that would be correct.

Remember that an asking price is not a selling price.

If you want the property make an offer for what YOU think it is worth.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 11:50AM
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