I’ve recently had a wave of clients either listing or purchasing vacant lots. It would be ideal if my listings and buyers matched up perfectly, but this is the real world!
In any case, in speaking to my purchasers and their intentions for future construction, it has been brought home to me, yet again, how short-term focused many of them are. These aren’t foolish people – they just get carried away by the dream of building their own home or cottage and they only look to the time that is has been completed and they can finally enjoy themselves in it. They dream of finally getting exactly what they want. Don’t we all? This is a lovely ideal to achieve, but there can be a downside, if you get too specific.
I have personal experience with this: my Dad designed a retirement place to fit his very unique esthetic as a mature person without a large family. He could not envision the possibility that not everyone would share his taste or that his place might have to be sold at some point in the future. Because the design was so personal and specific, when he eventually needed to go into a senior’s facility, we had a big challenge getting it sold, despite having over an acre in a very desirable location. If, during design and construction, he had tweaked things a little bit, I know we would have sold it faster and for quite a bit more money.
Recently I spoke to a couple who are contemplating buying a lot. During a very preliminary discussion, they thought they would like to build a two-bedroom place on a slab foundation. While there is nothing theoretically wrong with this, I suggested that putting a full basement in (even if they never finish it) would make the property more saleable in the future, should that ever be something they needed to do. It would be ideal to have a third bedroom on the main floor too. During construction, ideally a basement bathroom whould be roughed-in. This will open up the possibility of adding more living space on the lower level without as much work/expense in the future. Not only does a basement give you a place to put your mechanical equipment for the house (furnace, etc) and store things like outdoor furniture, it can provide a possible secondary suite for in-laws or income (assuming your by-laws allow it – ALWAYS CHECK FIRST!)
At some point, most properties these days will have to be sold for one reason or another. If you can think ahead, and be a little creative, you can still have your dream, while increasing its value and salability.
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