DESIGN YOUR LOG HOME FOR RESALE
by Mercedes Hayes, Jersey Log Homes


Almost every log home owner who sells their home will tell you that when they built the house, they planned to live there forever.  Because custom log homes are so personal, we sometimes design for aesthetics and forget about practicality.  This isn't always a good thing!  Life sometimes gets in the way, and the owners find themselves in a position where the house must be put on the market.  

The budgetarily-challenged log home owner will be willing to live without certain things for the sake of getting the project finished, but you will discover that the next owner will not be so forgiving.  Here's a list of items that any Real Estate professional will recommend if you want to get your house sold for the most money:

GARAGE:  This is a big one.  Very few buyers are willing to buy a home without a garage.  If you can't afford one right away and plan to build a detached garage later, make sure you set aside a convenient space near the house, and don't use it for anything else.  If the buyer can visualize a future garage, this will make the purchase easier.

CENTRAL AIR CONDITIONING:  We all know that log homes are cooler in the summer than framed houses.  However, this doesn't matter to a buyer who is accustomed to central air conditioning.  There is a large percentage of folks who will walk when hearing that the house is not air conditioned.  In fact, our mortgage company made sure central air was in the design before approving our construction loan.  If you can't afford to install the whole system, it would be advisable to at least incorporate the ductwork into your design for future installation, so it doesn't have to be retrofitted.

FRONT DOOR:  I find, these days, that lots of designs with big decks tend to minimalize the front door, reducing it to the status of a side entrance or eliminating it altogether in favor of glass doors that open directly into the great room. But I'll tell you: buyers are very disconcerted when they can't find the front door.  They walk around the house looking lost.  Something is missing.  This is a very personal choice, but doing away with such a major feature is taking a big risk.

COAT CLOSET: I see a lot of log homes without a place to hang your coat.  Again, it's not a crisis, but it can be a big annoyance.  

FIREPLACE:  Everyone expects a log home to have a fireplace, or at least a wood stove.  This can easily be a "deal breaker".  If you can't afford the fireplace right away, at least try to design the foundation with footers to accommodate the weight at a later time.

BASEMENT:  I strongly advise you not to settle for anything less than a full basement.  If you are building in an area where basements are expected, anything less will be a huge problem.  First of all, the wiring in exterior walls will be run from the basement (or crawl space).  Secondly, you're probably giving up your attic if you have a cathedral ceiling, so where are you going to store everything?  Even a healthy 5-foot crawl space is considered inadequate by a buyer.  There is just no compromise.

TINY LOFTS: People like a loft they can put furniture on.  Narrow lofts that run along an upstairs wall full of doors can be disappointing.

Designing for expansion is always the best way.  Some plan a space for a future elevator when stairs become a challenge, or use wider doorways for a possible future wheelchair.  It's a lot to think of when your biggest worry is staying within budget, but if you plan ahead for your eventual old age, you might accidentally be making your house easier to sell when other opportunities come along. 

About the author: Mercedes Hayes is a Realtor in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  She designed her own log home which was featured in the 2004 Floor Plan Guide of Log Home Living magazine. You can learn more about log homes by visiting www.JerseyLogHomes.com.

5/12/06

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