Poll - Which property would you buy?

sailorgalSeptember 5, 2012

Greetings! I am considering several properties that are on the market. Each of course has it's pros and cons. Which one would you purchase? Both are listed at the same price,although I think I could get #2 less.

1. House on lake, lake views from every room. House uses up entire lot; there is only 30 ft from the front of the house to the lakefront. There is a screen porch, but no deck. And since the house is at the max envelope, the HOA will not allow a deck to be built on the little strip of remaining land. Interior layout is odd, with small closets. House has no dining room, and nowhere to add dining room. Kitchen is great, master bathroom and guest bathroom need to be redone. At the same time, from every room in the house you can see the beautiful water. Two car garage. No curb appeal at all, but then you open the door and go "wow...beautiful view".

2. Low country house. Beautiful deep front porch. House is on an acre of land. Currently has a two car garage. Interior layout needs updating, also master bath and kitchen. Plenty of closets and storage. Has a screen porch and a deck. Private backyard, backs to park. Could easily add a third garage and as part of addition re-do the kitchen and correct the negatives. This house has tremendous curb appeal.

Which would you buy?

Also, assuming the interiors were brought up to date, which one do you think would sell better?

Opinions, please!!!



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Well your name seems to indicate you are all about the water. I personally would love the views of the water property, but the lot limitations would deter me. I have young kids also so lake living would not be ideal until they were much older. They also need some type of yard space to play. If I was an empty nester or had older kids the lake lot might appeal.

It depends on your situation. This isn't exactly apples to apples.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 11:02AM
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Yes, I love the water...in a previous career I was a sailor. But I also like land to garden on. Flowering bushes, shrubs, bulbs, that kind of garden. That's my dilemma. I'm single and an empty-nester. Both houses are in a community that is 50% retirees / 25% 40s-50s singles / 25% family & kids. So 75% of the potential resale market are empty-nesters.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 11:13AM
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Is one house in a transitional neighborhood and the other in a development? Or, are both in developments where all houses are about the same nearby?

I'd go for #2. Flexibility in your land uses as well as house modifications would be key to me.

It also sounds like you are an active person. Would you get bored and/or stir crazy indoors all the time with a little 30' yard?

Either way, you have to mow--it is just a matter of how much you have to mow.

I also think, though the neighborhood sounds like there are many retirees for resale, that #2 has more options for resale (assuming the house isn't a tear-down house in 15 yrs--this is where the question about transitional neighborhood is important, in my mind).

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 11:29AM
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Depends on your age. No way I'd retire to an acre of land.

That's what I have now and I look forward to downsizing the size of this lot! A tiny garden would be perfect for me.

Is the screened porch on the lakeside? Could you convert it to an open deck? Or could you put a wide stone path in the 30'yard big enough for chairs?

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 12:48PM
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Excellent points, biochem!

I'm almost 50, age-wise. I currently live on .5 acre and the neighbor's teenager mows the yard. I like to play with my flowers and bushes, but the mowing is a chore, not fun. The front yard of the low country house is all mulch and trees, with just a smidgen of grass. I don't remember the back and side yard areas, I will go by again and take a look. Good point.

The screen porch at the lake house is indeed on the lakeside. I would be perfectly happy without a deck - I have one now but rarely use it as the mosquitoes eat me alive. Same with the dining room - I'm perfectly fine without one - but my agent said it was a big negative, that people wanted one even if they rarely used it. So I was wondering about resale - pretty much a deck/patio on a house around here is standard. I'm in NC - we have a long spring and a long fall season, which leads to lots of outdoor grilling. There is no place at the lake house to put a grill outside. (Well, that the HOA will allow). And of course, no dining room at all.

Oh, and both lots are perfectly flat.


    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 1:18PM
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#2 would appeal more to me. It sounds like you could sell it easier if you ever had the need. #1 is missing some things you would expect from a lake house. If you needed to sell, it might take a while to find the right buyer.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 2:42PM
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Could not bear not having a large yard to garden in, so #2 all the way.
#1 sounds like a great home for people who like to think they love the outdoors while they sit around looking at it and #2 for folks who want to go outside and actually enjoy being in it.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 2:48PM
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#2! I could not live in a house that didn't have curb appeal.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 4:47PM
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Looking at my lake now -- the lake house. I'm not that into gardening.
I think it is too hard to predict what might sell; you should suit yourself more.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 7:10PM
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Wait for option #3 or 4 or 5 to show up!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 7:21PM
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Sounds like the lake property has too many problems. I would go for the other one, or keep looking for a better lake property.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 7:41PM
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I think the two properties are different enough that they would appeal to different groups of people. So the question is better phrased "which one has a larger pool of people that it would appeal to?" House #1 will pull in lake-sitters and house #2 will pull in garden-lovers. Which is more numerous in your area?

If you don't have a personal preference between lake-sitting and gardening, and you're doing it for the investment, then it does sound like #1 has a few irremediable defects, like the layout, that can't be fixed. So of the potential pool of lake-sitters, a higher percentage of them will reject it for those issues. That would make #2 the preferred choice.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 8:24PM
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which house is surrounded by more expensive homes? That would likely be the better investment, IMO.

If other lake houses are pricier, the your home would be the lower price point for someone to buy on the lake. This increases your resale.

About the lake house...i could tell you really dont like the house that much based on the way you wrote about it. Maybe it is the color or furniture or decor that is turning you off? Try to relook with a fresh mind.

Dining room missing...WHO CARES. I dont agree with your agent. Dining rooms are on the way out. They are a waste of space, IMO.

The lake views....I wonder if the windows are left with blinds open so you see the views and say "wow". BUT, will you live with the blinds open like that? Maybe yes. But sometimes when it's hot or cold outside, it is good to close the blinds so you dont waste energy heating and cooling.

How about the use of the lake. Is there a dock. Is it boatable (for future resale). How big is the lake. Do folks swim. Is the view abig water view?

1 acre lot of the other home sounds excellent and it appears you really like that land to stretch out. I dont blame you.

Lakefront is very desirable and might be a better investment. A lot depends on the prices of neighboring homes.

Too bad you cant find lakefront with more property. I would aim for that to get the best of both worlds.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 8:36PM
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The RIGHT lake house will ultimately have more re-sale value. However, from your description, this is the WRONG lake house. It's like I've always said: Houses are like buses; if you miss the first one, another will soon appear.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 8:42PM
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What is a "low country house"?

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 11:16PM
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None of the above. Too much property to take care of is just as bad as too little to do what you want. And while you can take down walls and alter layouts, it's more costly than you think.

A better property than either will come along if you just have patience. The market in most areas is flooded with homes. Just keep looking.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 11:41PM
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No one on this forum is going to be able to tell you which house is better for you. Only you can do that.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 10:56AM
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Sounds to me as if you have found the perfect location and the perfect house. It's just that the perfect house isn't at the perfect location.

If you want a lake house, keep looking.

The other house sounds lovely, but if you want a lake house, keep looking.

These are not the only two houses in the world.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 3:09PM
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Without a doubt, the lakehouse. They arent making anymore of this stuff.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 11:24PM
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I might say the lake house, except that I would never, ever willingly live in a house where I couldn't put a grill outside. So I would choose #2.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 1:22PM
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Which one feature of these would you PINE for if you didn't get it? Woulda...shoulda...coulda...

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 3:05PM
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Would you have a dock at the lake house? I would really want one.

I think I would wait for a lake house that had room for a deck and a grill. I live in a condo and would not be interested in all the yard work required for house number 2.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 7:56PM
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Curb appeal can be added, a lake view can not. That said, if neither is right, wait a bit until it becomes more clear that one is right, or a better one comes along. Maybe the price will drop if no one else buys it, and that will help you decide as well. Also, once in a house, you may not miss the rooms/deck and find ways to use the house as is.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 12:11AM
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I live and breathe to garden, so this choice is easy. What's more, you couldn't pay me to live on a lake - especially one where motorized boats are allowed. I get very irritated by noisy motors and noisy neighbors and water amplifies the sound.

Different strokes.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 2:28AM
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Lake for me. I am in a rental that is on the lake and I can never go back to not having that view. I am spoiled now!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 8:04AM
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Keep looking, the way you describe the lake house the main thing is that it is on the lake, the curb appeal and lots of other things don't appeal to you. Also, being too close to the lake, what about heavy rains etc, any chance of it encroaching on your home, look at 100 yr flood maps at FEMA.org. Maybe you need a lake house with a bit more property so you have the best of both worlds. I would prefer a lake house set further back than that.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 11:14PM
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