Coco Chanel once said, fashion fades, only style remains. That is probably true of fashion, but does it apply to other things, such as homes? Homes are certainly not as transient as clothes, but their style has a huge impact on how we live our lives and how we are perceived by others.
Fashion applies to homes, but only in the way they are decorated, the style of home is something that evolves slowly then becomes a way of building for a few years, before another style or trend emerges. For instance the Florida housing market has long been festooned with look alike Mediterranean homes, washed out orange walls, roofs with barrel tiles and rich interiors, these, although still sought after are now not the number one choice.
Style does not only affect the look of the home, but also it’s functionality. Whereas the Mediterranean trend brought dining rooms, formal sitting and family rooms. The ‘new’ style of home is open plan, people do not sit around and eat together the way they used to, the idea of having people over for dinner is still very much in vogue, but in Florida more often than not the dinner becomes a barbecue, a relaxed informal gathering of friends with no stress worrying about how to set the table correctly. With all the technology on our phones and computers today, we can live in a very insular world, sometimes with little face to face contact with others. The new trend of open plan homes tries in its own way to counter that fact.
Throughout the state, you will find new homes being built with wide open interiors, kitchen, dining and living all rolled into one, but still each has it’s own area within the same space. The division comes from where the furniture is placed, not from where the walls dictate. Families are free to change things around, put a pool table in the middle of the home, the dining table where a sofa would normally go and vice versa. No more rigid rooms, just an easy flow that is open, welcoming and extremely flexible, giving the home’s occupants the ability to communicate and enjoy each others company easily.
The outside of homes is changing too, more modern sleek lines are to be seen in all of the new communities currently being built. Within the walls of these new homes lies technology, not just in better insulation, designers are making more use of solar power, electrical plug in points for your next electric car, energy efficient windows, the list is endless and with each new design and style of home the advances grow.
I can only talk for Naples, as that is where I live and work and here, new communities are springing up all around. Pre-owned homes, it would seem are having a hard time competing with the flood of new homes in the area. Location, location, location has long been the mantra when looking for a new property. Whilst that is still a huge consideration, for a large number of buyers, when you put the old next to the new, many times its hard to justify buying an older home that needs repairs, when for a similar price you could get a brand spanking new home with no worries.
So, does that mean that the second hand housing market is dead? Absolutely not, remember the mantra, location, location, location. If you have an older home in a great location, then there are two ways to make sure it sells, number one, price it right, a home at the right price will always sell. The right price however is something that needs careful consideration. If the home needs extensive modernization then it is pointless pricing it at the same level as your neighbors home that has already been renovated. The second way, is to update your home before you put it on the market. Updating a home to some is going to be a frightening prospect, indeed if you do the whole house then it can mean a considerable expense plus a lot disruption to your daily living.
One way to look at whether or not it is worth the time and effort to modernize your home in order to compete with all the new homes in the area, is to go back again to the mantra, location, location, location. If your home is already in the perfect location and your reason for moving is just to upgrade, you may well want to reconsider selling and have your current home renovated, that way you keep the location.
However, if you want to sell for any other reason, then you have to make choices.
One, be realistic and price it right, making the mistake of pricing a house to high can really slow down your ability to sell quickly. It’s a fact that homes priced correctly in the first place sell for more money and faster than those that are overpriced. When buyers start to see prices dropping on homes, their first instinct is to ask what is wrong with it.
Two, make your home fashionable, have it staged by a professional to make the most of what you have without investing any money upgrading.
Your third option is to do some work and make the home competitive with new construction, by changing it’s style. You can always make a home look fashionable by putting in modern interior decorations, but the style of the home is in it’s bones, if the modern way of living is changing to open plan with no wasted space or rooms, then consider investing in opening up a wall or two, or simply updating the rooms that help to sell your house, the kitchen and bathroom.
Fashions change, only style remains, however when it comes to the housing market, style changes too, only just a touch more slowly than fashion.
Style isn’t just about what you wear, it’s about how you live - Lilly Pulitzer