Thursday, May 5, 2011

When a Home is Too Customized, It Can Effect It's Ability to Sell

Not that long ago, pretty much the greatest status symbol you could own was a trophy house: a home so highly customized that it shouted to the world just how special you were. Today, those same indulgences--the rooftop pools, bathrooms without doors and rooms with see-through glass floors--are the white elephants of the higher-end real estate marketplace. Let's face it: One man's moat with stepping stones is another man's, "Uh, how do you bring the groceries in from the car?"

It's not that unique features aren't fabulous, it's just that leaving too big a personal imprint--the koi pond filled with rescued sea turtles--can be an impediment in this buyers-rule market. It doesn't matter whether you're a celebrity or Joe Normal trying to sell your tract house: Experts say this is no time for purple dining-room walls and computerized toilet seats. The credo that every house will sell if the price is right may be meeting the ultimate test with one current property--a San Francisco Victorian with a 16-by-7-foot chlorine swimming pool in the living room.

Listing agent Joe Marko, of Paragon Real Estate Group, says the Noe Valley house, on the market for $1.799 million, has gotten a lot of attention. About half of those who've come to view the place like the idea of a water feature in the living room. Other potential buyers--particularly parents of young children--have expressed concerns about safety. (The property is co-listed with Paragon's Rafael Acevedo.)

If a buyer likes everything else about a house except for one feature, whether it's a pool in the middle of the living space or something more mundane, Marko says his challenge is to show them how to rectify what they don't like. In this case, he says, they can just fill in the pool.

Agents trying to sell a home with features installed to meet one owner's very particular needs and tastes often struggle with the question of whether to highlight them or play them down.

That's the challenge facing Chad Rogers. The Hilton & Hyland Beverly Hills agent and former star on Bravo's "Million Dollar Listing" is the latest in a string of agents to list the unusual--if beautiful--eco-chic home designed by and for world-renowned photographer Douglas Busch. Listing price is $9,495,000, down from a high of $15 million in 2007.

Information provided by
Donna Antonucci


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