Is an older contemp style a bad investment?

robo (z6a)June 4, 2014

Taking my inlaws to see a lake house (vacation home) on Friday.

It's a home by a specific builder in my province (Nova Scotia) called Interhabs. The builder has a very particular look to their houses on the outside - let's call it 80s Euro contemporary.

The location and lot are beyond excellent. The home itself could use quite a bit. I was sort of happily thinking of all the things I could do to spruce it up, when another thought struck me, which is that this type of home may never appeal to a wide range of buyers, and maybe it wouldn't be worth much to spruce it up. I mean, it will never look much different on the outside!

I think I'm blinkered by my love of all weird houses, so I ask you, do you think this type of home is worth a bit of an investment? Or will it always appeal to niche buyers (like me) and have a hard time selling no matter what?

FWIW the builder has a great reputation. There are some contemporary houses, particularly vacation homes, in our province, but the market is generally conservative.

The Listing

The type of house (a different house)

Similar model after being spruced up

The area - full of vineyards and charming things like llama farms. So what do you think?

Two nearby listings

On the same lake

On a different lake but nearby. Inlaws didn't like this one because it's on a terrible road (other listings are off paved road) and oriented poorly to the lake.

This post was edited by robotropolis on Wed, Jun 4, 14 at 21:55

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lazy_gardens

Wow ... the lake/river, the views!

The exterior of the house is going to resist changes other than paint, but I'm seeing an airy rustic modern interior with lots of light. That's a keeper.

I think it's more of an exaggerated New England Saltbox style than modern.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 10:04PM
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morz8

May I move in too?

I see nothing weird about that house at all given its setting. It might look a little strange in an urban neighborhood but certainly fits its site....which is gorgeous.

I could see many hours of summer fun there, along with a book, cozy throw, watching winter storms. My vote is go for it - assuming all the construction is top notch.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 12:12AM
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robo (z6a)

Ok you all are making me feel better! I thought I was the only one who could love that roofline. That part of the home faces NE.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 8:21AM
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DLM2000

The front facade is a bit.... odd, but I don't find it horrible or really objectionable given the setting. Other than that, the house interior and setting are wonderful!! I could be very happy vacationing there!

It looks like some re-landscaping at the front of the house - something a bit more crisp and structured might be a better fit and make the entry seem more important and in keeping with the house style. The loose, flowy, cottage type garden isn't doing the house any favors IMO. As it is, it kind of looks like a back door. But that's a minor adjustment, really and when it comes down to it wouldn't impact the use of the house at all. I'd focus on the minimum needed on the interior to make it what your in-laws want and get on with just enjoying it!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 9:16AM
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robo (z6a)

I was thinking it might be cool to do not only a bold door color but a bold siding color on that front entry - sort of like that black house above. That way it pops a bit more. And I agree the front could use more structure and particularly a little height on either side of the door opening. Although they do have those three arbs over on the left which is a good start.

Anyway...trying not to get too attached because I find the inlaws are into taking their time and waiting for the exact right place for them. Which they deserve! But swimming season is coming up...and at least this way I can tell them I did some market research on the house style ;)

FYI this is the other place we're going to see...the house is newer and better maintained, but it's in the next valley over (a little less nice location) and the lot is smaller and faces North. Between that and an attached sunroom the place is less bright overall.

This post was edited by robotropolis on Thu, Jun 5, 14 at 9:29

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 9:22AM
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musicgal

That first house is fabulous in my opinion. As long as it doesn't have structural issues, it is a great example of the 70s modern style I lusted after when I was a youngster. 70s are too recent to be properly appreciated right now, but I think these eclectic styles that were envisioned around the oil embargo will be treasured in the future.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 2:23PM
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musicgal

That first house is fabulous in my opinion. As long as it doesn't have structural issues, it is a great example of the 70s modern style I lusted after when I was a youngster. 70s are too recent to be properly appreciated right now, but I think these eclectic styles that were envisioned around the oil embargo will be treasured in the future.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 2:29PM
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trilobite

I love contemporaries, I'd move into that house in a heartbeat. I think this is the sort of house that requires a special buyer, but there will always be a handful of us, especially if the house is decently maintained.

Edited to add, along with my love of 1970s contemporaries, for some reason, I have a special fondness for houses built in the 1940s. Seriously, if I see a slightly older house that instantly appeals, it was often built in the 1940s.

This post was edited by trilobite on Thu, Jun 5, 14 at 15:44

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 3:40PM
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Chadoe3

I love quirky. I'd buy that in a heartbeat!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 5:12PM
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lazy_gardens

The second house is "meh" ... not nearly as striking and airy as the first.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 7:00PM
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robo (z6a)

I wish you were all around to sell my FIL on this house tomorrow...because I totally agree with you! Thanks so much for your feedback.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 8:14PM
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susanjn

What time should we be there? If your FIL doesn't like it, we might have a bidding war right there on the spot!

Good luck, and let us know what they think.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 11:32PM
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nosoccermom

I like the first house way more than the second one. In 10 years, it'll be a sought-after 'authentic 80s' design for rich (sub)urbanites. Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 8:20AM
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robo (z6a)

Sad news! The photos were quite misleading and the house was not in decent shape :( Also you had to take a billy goat path to the lake. Which was not apparent at all from the listing. Even I couldn't love it. The inlaws were quite taken with the other house, however! Although less my style, personally, it would work nicely for all of us.

This post was edited by robotropolis on Fri, Jun 6, 14 at 17:23

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 4:58PM
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nosoccermom

Sounds like they had a good photographer.

I think the issue with the second house is that there's no furniture but on the other hand, so much visual clutter. For example, everything is cramped in that one corner with the piano, fireplace, TV, and pictures.
That should be an easy fix, though.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 9:10AM
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robo (z6a)

nosoccermom, yes, the second house is photographed quite badly but it's pretty charming on the inside. The inlaws like things nice and new, and this house was newer and well maintained. I am still very much a quirky/charming/oddball house fan, but it's most important to find somewhere they can enjoy (and hence, I can enjoy :)

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 10:10PM
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alisonn

I think people will be more flexible on the house style when the house is lakefront. There are only so many lakefront homes, right?

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 11:53AM
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