• Melanie Loves Tampa Bay

Buying a House 🏠 Practical Home Features You May Be Overlooking

Updated: Sep 15, 2018

I have never had a buyer come to me and say, “Melanie, I don’t care about what upgrades are in a house, I just want to find one with nice gutters.” On the other hand, I have had sellers tell me exactly when, where, and why their gutters were installed and how much they cost. The seller that pays for the gutters wants the potential buyers to see the value in them. Unfortunately, gutters are not very glamorous and are understandably devalued by buyers.

Gutters are not alone. There are a lot of practical, utilitarian features in a home that can be overlooked and underappreciated. Not until you live in a house without them, do you realize how beneficial they are. Because I love a good underdog story I thought maybe it was time to put a spotlight on some of these no-frills upgrades. So… buff your aluminum, you great channelers of precipitation, it’s time for you to shine!

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Gutters—I have had to install gutters in three of my houses to keep the rain from washing away all the mulch from certain areas of my plant beds. I would rather have spent the money on just about anything else. Although I received no retail therapy benefit while buying the gutters, my bushes are happier now that they are not trying to thrive underneath Niagara Falls. In the end, they have saved a lot of time and money on landscaping costs.

Pre-wires & Pre-plumbs—Sure, it would be nice if there was something attached to these wires and pipes, but it is far better than them not being there. If you have any desire to install surround sound speakers or ceiling fans, you will save time and money by having this important step already completed. Pre-plumbing and gas lines on a patio will make building that outdoor kitchen I talked about last week much easier.

Utility Tubs—Those of you who have a utility tub inside your laundry room should consider yourself lucky. I remember when I had one and I didn’t have to do my hand-washed laundry in the un-air conditioned garage. On the other hand, having one in the garage has proven to be a great place to clean dirty feet and hands before walking into the house. How great would it be to find a house with both!

Outdoor Water Lines —If you have ever tried to lug a giant hose around to the other side of your house, only to realize it isn’t quite long enough, you know the importance of having well-placed hose bibs. At the very least, make sure there is one close enough to your pool to make re-filling it less of a hassle.

Permanent Garage Shelving—Since a lot of us don’t have vast attic storage, and none of us have basements, shelving inside the garage can prove very useful. I have seen platforms that hang from the garage ceiling, shelves attached to the walls, cabinets, bike hooks, and tool racks. All save precious space and help us organize our stuff a little better.

Storm Shutters - Buyers that come from out of town are surprised when they see that many Florida homes don't have any type of window coverings to put up in case of a hurricane. Depending on when your house was built and what the building codes were at that time, the house you like may or may not have those included. Some homes, especially at the beaches, have really nice, roll down shutters that provide great protection. There are lots of builders that provide pre-fitted metal or fabric panels that can be put up if a storm is coming. Another great option is to have impact resistant windows installed in your house. If the house you want to buy does not have any type of window covering, I highly recommend you look into getting that taken care of when you close on the house.

Overhead Lighting—If you are in the process of building a new home, I can guarantee you that the builder is not putting in enough overhead lights. It happens in almost every home. Look very closely at where there might be dark spots and add those lights prior to the start of construction. It will cost you far less during construction than if you do it once the walls are up.

I encourage all of my buyers to pay attention to the big and little upgrades in a home. On a day to day basis these practical features can be just as important as the cosmetic upgrades. I can assure you, if I ever move, gutters will be at the top of my wish list!

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Melanie is a Tampa Bay area Realtor with Smith & Associates. She loves Tampa Bay area area, houses, and helping clients buy and sell real estate. She can be reached at 813-368-6084 or matkinson@smithandassociates.com

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