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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): Why My House Has the Better Resale Value

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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Location: United States

After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Why My House Has the Better Resale Value

Okay, it really doesn't. It is missing a lot of the things on this list, unfortunately. When we bought in Florida, three years ago, the pickings were slim! With our long list of criteria, there were only twelve houses in the entire Tampa Metro area that could even touch our "top 5 wanted features" list...and we won't even talk about the out-of-control prices we had at that time. We're all seeing the after effects of it now. But, with all that being said, we would do it all again, trying to stick to our list. If you want your home to sell for maximum buck and to make sure it stands out from the rest, be sure it has these features.

In no particular order, although I've listed the top desired features first:

  • Largest or best situated lot in the neighborhood or street. Look for a cul-de-sac location, dead end street with no possible way to cut through your yard (don't laugh, I've seen that happen) or a pie-shaped lot on a not-too-busy street.
  • No base elevation, meaning in a cookie-cutter neighborhood, don't buy the house with the most standard front, but the one the original owners paid more for because it'll have a different peaked front, natural stone, more eye candy. This is what is meant by elevation.
  • Landscaping upgrade or nice landscaping that looks like it was professionally done. Great curb appeal will always put you in front of the others.
  • Larger sized bedrooms. I realize you can't always get the square footage you want, but some builders do a better job than others of keeping the bedrooms larger than closet size.
  • Lots of closets and storage space. As Americans, we need lots of places for our junk.
  • A split bedroom plan. Master bedroom on one side, the others on the other side of the house.
  • A three car garage. More and more people are not even looking at two car garages. Of course this can be region-dependent. I know some areas don't even have three car garages and in a few areas, the standard is now four!
  • At least three bedroom and two bath. Don't even look at a house with just one bathroom. You'll cut out a large pool of potential buyers if you do.
  • Tile in all wet areas. If a house is almost all carpeting, logic says it is cheaply put together. If it has linoleum instead of tile, then it is only the next step up from cheap.
  • Neutral colors. I recently saw a house in a neighborhood of neutral colored houses, but this one had electric pink trim with a neutral looked horrible! I know our market is bad, but this one will stay on the market even longer. No matter that this can just be painted. People want to see houses as if they were living in them.
  • 42" kitchen cabinets, raised panel. Again, more than the ordinary and will make your house stand out.
  • Choose functional over cosmetic. That thing, whatever it is, may look drop-dead beautiful or cool, but if it is a hassle to clean or keep in order, it'll only become a headache later on. Ask my neighbor about his three level tree house that is now a danger to anyone who goes in the backyard. Think of maintenance...and think of long-term when you see neat things such as this.
  • Bigger side-by-side refrigerator, preferably with ice maker, and in the door too.
  • Corian or granite kitchen counters. Even better if the bath counters are upgraded too.
  • Lighter colors in the kitchen. It'll look bigger.
  • Kitchen cabinets with roll-out trays, lazy Susans and lots of storage space.
  • A walk-in pantry.
  • Glass door in at least one kitchen cabinet. It just makes it look more upscale.
  • Energy Star appliances.
  • Kitchen counter color that contrasts with cabinets. Don't use all white in a kitchen, although an almond color is okay.
  • A separate shower and bathtub in the master bathroom. Shower stall should be at least 42"x32". Use clear glass rather than frosted. Frosted glass is now officially out of style...I don't care how prude you are, hang up a towel or kick everyone out of the bathroom if you need more privacy. Frosted glass is a big turn-off these days with potential buyers.
  • An acrylic bathtub. Fiberglass tubs lose their finish and become a dull gray color over time. Acrylic holds up well but scratches easily. Go for acrylic and don't use any harsh cleaners on the surface to keep it looking nice. We use a Clorox wipe after at least every other bath to tackle any bathrings or dirt. This is all you need to do too.
  • Splurge on carpet padding with at least 6 lbs per cubic foot. Thick padding will even make a cheap carpet feel nice. Nylon carpeting will get ratty without proper care and padding and will stain without treatment. Polyester carpeting is not as strong and will shed more but is more stain resistant and cheaper. Carpets should be twist level 4 or higher, have a density of 3-4,000, a face weight of 35-40 oz, have a 10 year warranty and go ahead check the durability rating. What does all that really mean? Go for the upgraded carpet choice if you can. If you get a cheap one, buy a steam vac. I clean my almost-white bottom-of-the-barrel-cheap builder grade carpets with my steam vac every other month, and they look about as new as they are going to get. It DOES make a difference when you steam vac.
That about sums up our list. Again, I've only bought houses in Florida and Colorado, but I have looked elsewhere too. These seem to be the features touted over and over again in the ads I see, plus the houses that have these features seem to sell better than the rest. I also have a realtor friend who focuses on these items when she purchases homes as an investment and for their resale value. And even in this market, she is still able to flip homes that meet this criteria.

How are things looking in your housing market? What features do the best selling houses seem to have? What things do you like to see in a house?.

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Anonymous Toronto neighbourhoods said...

First of all thanks for sharing with us this very instructive article with useful ideas. I would like to highlight from your list the energy efficient appliances which become more and more favourable at our neighbourhoods in Toronto as well. More and more people think that is worth to invest in these because in a period of time will return to you. I would like to say that for a first-home buyer it`s worth to look at the desired home as an investment because you never know when you obtain a great deal.

March 6, 2008 at 2:47 PM  
Blogger ****Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife**** said...

Please stop by and read more housing articles at the Carnival of Homeowners at

March 18, 2008 at 2:05 PM  

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